alsoran runners Don Oliver's Central Gauteng
April 2018
Training Programme for Comrades 2018

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Don Oliver's Training Programme

“Where are we now?”

Well it is really hotting up now after Easter and Two Oceans behind us, it’s only 71 days to go. About half of that is wind down so there are only about 30 days hard training left for your Comrades training this year. Make the most of it. You will be well rewarded on Comrades day.

The last 5 weeks races and training has been hard. That’s the way it should be. Never the less you must control your running carefully from now on. I always said when two Oceans was finished that was the last of the fast running is over. It is now time to get a lot of slow long runs in to build up your stamina and endurance to be confident to finish 90km in June. It is all relative of course. Your safe bronze at Two Oceans 56km was an average pace of 6,4 mins/km and you are aiming now at a safe bronze at Comrades at an average pace of 7,2 mins /km. That is what I call slowing down. The slowing down is from a 6 hour race to an 11 hour race. The rule for ultra road race running is simple: “The longer the distance, the slower the speed”. You have to train now to keep on going but at a slower speed. Patience is required from now on to build up an economical relaxed running style. The old retired road runners would say in their wisdom and about Comrades: “It is 80% in the mind”. That is so true. You have to adapt to being patient on the long runs now. You will be training now for at least 4 hours to 8 hours at a time. The link between our body and your mind is very closely related. All the training that you already have put in should keep you comfortable with your legs and breathing. You won’t get over tired. The important job now is to be able to accept the tiredness as it appears with the build up of distance and the realisation that you still have a long way to go. No panic or frustration when you have been running for 3 hours and realise that you still have another 3 hours to go on a training run for example. Now you must realise the importance of your training and/or racing partner. These good souls help you keep everything together by assuring you that you are going well, or maybe have a walk because we have the time. Our seconding tables will give us a squeezie or a bite to eat and reassure you know you are looking good. Thank the friends and helpers who are manning the refreshment stations on the day. It’s good to see them encouraged that their efforts are appreciated.

During this part of your training you must decide on a walking and/or stopping policy for the longer races. These days a planned walking pattern is generally accepted during long runs. There are many formulas so just choose the one that fits in with your pacing chart. Pacing chart or race plan should make an allowance for steep hills and a fatigue factor as the distance increases. Most of the finishers at Comrades and the ultra marathons run a slower second half. My pacing chart for Comrades for example allows another 50 minutes for the fatigue factor slowing you down in the second half.
For your April training there are two long runs included; a standard marathon the Jackie Gibson 42km (a toughie) and a new Midrand Striders 60km on April 22nd.also a toughie I am sure. Your objective with both runs is to adapt to getting mind and body synchronised to make a tiring but controlled run. Your pace is not important but just keep about 7mins/km which will be close to Comrades Pace. There is only a week in between the 42km and the 60km which is not ideal but you will handle it so long as you have really laid back runs and rest days if required in the week 15th to 22nd April. If for any reason you find an injury appearing don’t hesitate to abandon the run. The time is rapidly running out to expect an injury to heal before June 10th. During the week you are in recovery mode all month, so just go slowly and keep warm.

On a practical note get familiar with the route map available on the Comrades website. Think of your family support and warn them of road closures and where to find you at the finish. Get all your logistics sorted out this month because in May you can only think sensibly about one thing, Comrades. With a positive attitude maybe you have not even thought about the cut offs along the route. Have a look in case a misfortune may force you to be staring the next cut off in your face.

All your running in April must be slightly slower to accommodate the accumulated hard training you have been doing since end of February. As a general rule, just out there every day for your training, putting up with some tiredness and replacing it with some discipline.

Your second standard marathon is scheduled for the Jackie Gibson on April 15th and is two weeks after Two Oceans. This marathon must be slower than your qualifier in February (4hrs 20mins.) and a time of 4hrs 45mins to 50mins will be a very good run. It is a tough course and there will be certainly be some residual tired legs left from Cape Town.

The Midrand Striders 60 km is a new fixture and at altitude will be relatively harder than Two Oceans at sea level. The value of the 60 km run is to give you the confidence to be able to run further than your last ultra of 56km. You will be running slower than you did in Two Oceans and you can afford to relax and walk and even stop a little bit more.7,5mins/km for the 60km compared with 6,4mins/km at Two Oceans.

The RAC Long Club Run on May1st 2018  over 60km is organised superbly by RAC and is a circular route staying close to the northern suburbs. The refreshments   tables are frequent and well manned. This is your last long run before Comrades and must be taken easily with stops, stretches and chats at the tables and also walks up the bad hills. This club run requires entries in advance through the club. To realise that this last run is the fourth ultra and second standard marathon in your training programme and as such, gives you the assurance that you can start and finish Comrades well prepared.

Here is your April 2018 Training Programme.

Objective: To complete the Two Oceans marathon 56km in less than 6hours followed by a 60km race (Midrand) in less than 7hours 30mins.

 Week 1.Week 2. Week 3. Week 4.Week 5.
w/c02/04/18   09/04/18 16/04/18 23/04/1830/04/18
Tuesday    8km T/T  8km T/T  8km T/T  8km T/T 60km long run
Wednesday8km8km8kmREST REST 
Friday  10km 8km8km 8km5km
Saturday 5km5kmREST5km5km
Sunday15km42km race60km race   15km15km
Total.54km  81km 96km44km 85km
Total km for April 2018 = 360km (Equivalent to 288 km for a 4 week month)

Recommended races:
April 15th 2018 Jackie Gibson Marathon 42km. Klipriviersberg Rec,
April 22nd Midrand Striders 60 km. Noordwyk Primary School. Midrand.
May 1st RAC Long Club Run 60km. Craighall.

Thought for the month: “I have prepared well and will finish well.”

Don Oliver
Cape Town
March 2018

Copyright Don Oliver 2018