alsoran runners Don Oliver's WP
December 2009
Training Programme for Comrades 2010

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Where are we now?

Last month of the year and then the big countdown will begin.  At the beginning of December we have 181 days to go which is about 6 months. This month is the beginning of your Comrades training.  Your running in December will have a definite effect on your first measurement race in very early January.  The Bay to Bay 30km is on January 10th 2010 and it is a very hard first run of the year for your Comrades training.  It is important to prepare well for your first real test. To run a 30km race in January you will be expected to complete at least two 25km training runs in December taking under 3 hours with stops.  In this way you will be getting time on your feet for the race. It is so important to have a good run at Bay to Bay because it the first race of many that lead up to Comrades. The basis of this training programme is on succeeding at each and every hurdle and then pass on to the next slightly harder test. Be successful at the first test and you will set the pattern for the whole of your Comrades training.  In the January programme you will find that the target time for Bay to Bay 30km race will be 3hours 10mins. That is a speed of 6,3mins/km.  Think about it.

Apart from the two 25km long runs you must be cautious in December not to do too much too soon. Still keep two rest days. That it is perfectly acceptable at this stage.  Your monthly km for November was 208km and there is no need to do more in December.  We are all well aware that December is holiday month.  Make sure you enjoy Christmas Day with your family and friends. The die-hard Comrades runners say: "Enjoy Christmas with the family because this is the last they will see of you until June.”  Not true. Runners need the support of their families and without them you will probably won’t be successful.  The reverse applies as well; they need you just as much.

Remember that all good Comrades runners don’t do too much in December so that they start off strong, rested and ready to go on January the first 2010.  Even if you go on holiday in December don’t come back over trained and arrive on January 1st tired. That would be a bad start.

You should be setting a weekly training pattern now. Arrange your training partners that are also doing Comrades. Arrange to do the long runs with a group from the club. Enjoy the rest days and don’t feel guilty. All of you have entered Comrades, so complete your travel and accommodation plans. I recommend staying in Pietermaritzburg on Saturday night 29th May to avoid the stress and uncertainly of travelling up from Durban of the morning of the big race.

December is a big planning month for 2010.  Here is the basic outline of your Comrades training programme:

Overall run 1400km from January 1st 2010 to May 29th 2010.
Include two standard marathons and three ultras in this total.

The timing schedule is:
Phase 1.
Build up to a standard marathon and qualify at Peninsula Marathon on February 21st 2010  = 8 weeks

Phase 2
Hard training into the ultras (including Two Oceans 56km) until May 2nd 2010 = 9 weeks.

Phase 3
Wind down until May 29th 2010 = 4 weeks

Total Comrades training  = 21 weeks.

For our novices in 2010 it is all a very short period to change your whole life.
All of you have entered the Comrades and have already made the commitment “To run and finish the 2010 Comrades marathon.” Don’t delay your commitment waiting for this that and the other. You have to be committed in December.  The job starts here. No procrastination saying "I will see how I feel  after Oceans”.  These are the guys that appear under the heading either DNS (did not start) or DNF (did not finish) in the 2010 Comrades results.

Here is our commitment card to be signed, cut out and displayed at home where you can see it every day.  A glance at your signed commitment card when you are thinking about missing a training run or road race will be sufficient for you to get out those running shoes pronto.
Comrades 2010 Commitment card

I am fully committed to run and finish the 2010 Comrades marathon.

Signed………………………………...........……                              Date……………………

Here is the training programme for December 2009.

Week 1Week 2Week 3Week 4Week 5
FridayREST8kmRESTChristmas DayNew Years Day
Saturday5km15km race5km16km race8km

Total kms for December 2009 = 265km (5 week month equivalent to 212 km for a normal 4 week month.)

1.  12th December 2009. Avbob 15km Table View.

2.  26th December 2009. Tokai Manor House 16km Tokai.
Thought for the month,” I am going to enjoy Christmas and especially the New Year.”

Don Oliver
Cape Town
November 2009

External links: Official Comrades Marathon website

Copyright Don Oliver 2009