CENTRAL GAUTENG PROGRAMME
NEW NEW NEW NEW
Where are we now?
burning question right now is "Where are we now?” There are 308
days to go and this is the big decision time believe it or not.
Entries for the 2012 Comrades open on September 1st this year.
You only have the month of August to make up your mind. The
people I like in August are those that don’t want any more time to make
up their mind. They know already and nothing will change their
mind. They will be there in Durbs on June 3rd next year. We
are not in favour of the uncertain runners who sit on the fence and say
“We will just enter in case and make up our mind in May".
These are the 5000 guys that paid; some qualified but none of them
started the race. Any Comrades medal hopeful must be utterly dedicated
right from the start and keep up their enthusiasm and dedication right
up to June 3rd 2012.
This year I am aiming slightly higher for
the readers of our website. No longer will it be a “Get any medal
as long as you finish”. This year we are all going for bronze (and
better). Standards and performances have slipped in the last few
years and now one half of the field finishes in the last hour. They are
the Vic Clapham medallists. This year there were 5256 bronze medals
given out followed by 3613 Vic Clapham and a disappointed 1995 who
didn’t finish. To give you some idea, there was 15% of the
starters who didn’t make it. If you had looked around at the start in
Durban, every 6th runners around you and all the way down the street
failed to take a medal home. Most of those were not properly
trained for such a demanding event. On the day they cited a long list
of reasons from nausea to light headiness. They even covered
their failure under a meaningless “It was a hard Comrades this year”.
It was in fact good weather, same distance and hills as other
years for the up run and plenty of refreshments of all types along the
route. Maybe the truth of the matter is that after a gap of 3
years they had forgotten how hard the Up Run actually is.
target this year should be a bronze medal. Start off training for
a sub 11 hour and if you have some trouble along the way before or on
Race Day you might be forced to accept the organisers’ offer of the
extra hour but only up to 15 minutes of it. Don’t start off
aiming for sub 12hour because if something goes wrong there are only
the DNF (Did Not Finish) behind you. All 1995 go home empty
The training for a Bronze medal is very similar to our
finishers’ programme of earlier years but just a little bit faster all
round both in training and races. Bear in mind that for the 89km Down
Run, to finish comfortably in 10hours 45mins, requires an overall
pace of 7,2 mins/km. Most of you never run that slowly but
remember none of you have run that far before. One of the greatest
levellers in road running is to accept that: "The longer the distance
the slower the speed.” The converse of that is "The shorter
the distance the faster the speed.” To that end all of your
training between August 1st and June 2nd will be faster than
7,2mins/km. On the big day of Comrades 2012 you will be running
so easily for the whole way because it is slower than you have ever run
The structure of our training programme has been very
successful over many years. The basis is the Comrades Panel Meetings
held in Johannesburg for over 20 years and later as the first Comrades
Coach on the Comrades website and articles for many years in Runner’s
World magazine. You will be covering about 1300kms between January 1st
and June 2nd 2012 and included in that total will be two standard
marathons and three ultras. We progress gradually each month by
achieving a clearly defined objective and then move on to a slightly
bigger objective that is easy to achieve. Each month you get more
and more confident that you are indeed an achiever. When you line
up in Pietermaritzburg you are fit, rested, strong and confident that
you will achieve yet another objective just like you have been doing
each and every month for 6 months.
Our next 4 months from August 2011 to January 1st 2012 is called conditioning.
It gets you in the right shape of mind and body to tackle the next 5
months dedicated Comrades training. The runners embarking on our
programme will be coming from a huge variety of backgrounds of age,
gender, height, mass and running experience. However when you
start off on January 1st you will be on the same starting line; to win
a Comrades bronze medal.
We have learned from hard experience
that you must start off slowly and gradually. You can’t start hard
training now and keep it up for 9 months. In fact our hard training
programme next year only lasts for 9 weeks. We know that this is
the most that runners can take before they start breaking down and
getting injuries and becoming sick. These are the two main reasons for
not finishing Comrades.
Your final test is a road race. It seems
logical that you must get a lot of experience at running road races. So
as early as this month you should be going to the shorter races of 10km
and15km and trying out your ability to control your speed and effort.
Set a target time for the race and regulate your speed to achieve your
goal. You will not find that easy first of all but it is such an
important part of running a good Comrades - Pace Judgement. One
of the most important parts of training is to judge your speed.
month will deliberately be an easy month. It is mid winter and cold and
dark but get used to the discipline of sticking to the programme.
Here is your first training programme for August 2011.
1. Use the gym sessions to strengthen quads, knees and stomach muscles. Once a week include spinning.
2. The walk in Week 2 and 4 should be a brisk, hilly walk for one hour.
Thought for the month. "I have started off and it looks easy to me"
For those Alsoranrunners considering
running a Bill Rowan we have decided to include a Bill Rowan addendum
to our programme each month.
The Bill Rowan programme
Bill Rowan medal is presented to about 17%-20% of the first runners
after the Silver medallists. There were 1723 this year. That puts them
in the really top group of ultra distance road runners in the country.
To receive such a prestigious medal will obviously require dedicated
training. The sub 9 hour barrier looks at first sight to be relatively
easy. The overall pace is 6, 06 mins/km for 89kms. To many, that appears
to be attainable but the huge distance of 89kms presents a formidable
barrier. To run 89kms comfortably at 6mins/km, over a shorter distance
of 42km you should be capable of running at 5mins/km. Taking it down
even further, for 10kms you should be able to run easily 45mins and an
8km time trial should be under 34mins.
That is the speed
required to get a Bill Rowan and now for the endurance and stamina. A
total kms training between Jan 1st and June 2nd 2012 is 1400km. Included
in that total should be two standards and three ultras. The most Bill
Rowans come from the B grade seeding (693) which needs a sub 3hrs
20mins standard marathon. There is a smaller number from the C grade
seeding (sub3hrs40mins) of 497 but only 78 from the D grade seeding
(sub 4hrs 00mins).
It is important to weigh up your present
capability compared with the needs of the qualifying standards. In
general, to attain a 30mins improvement in your Comrades time year on
year is realistic.
Having decided that your chances of success are good, the training in August should be:
- Train for only 5days/week.
- Include each week a mid week steady state run of 12km.This should be
aerobic(comfortable talking speed) never getting anaerobic (out of
- Run and 8km time trial looking for a time of 37mins this month.
- The weekly total kms should be made up:
|Sunday||12km slow run|
Repeat for 4 weeks.
Expected total for August month = 200km
External links: Official Comrades Marathon