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

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Don Oliver's Training Programme

“Where are we now?”

 Just under 100 days to go; 96 to be precise. An old trick with the Comrades runners to count down as the kilometres gets less and less. My old friend said on an up run one year.”Don, only a Two Oceans to go.” That was near home to us then. Top of Polly’s they all say; only a time trial to go.” When you can barely crawl by then.

This one month is the first crunch month when you have to stand up and be counted. You have to qualify to run Comrades and you must do it first time and get a respectable seeding. At least batch F sub 4hrs 20mins. Your chances of a bronze medal is good although the most medals given out on Comrades day is always the D group seeding, sub 4hour 0mins.

Your preparation has been good by any standards. Two 32km races (Garbie 32km and Bronkhorstspruit 32km) and probably 3 half marathons and more than 250kms per month. If you are a novice you will need a Pacing Chart for your first marathon.

Pacing Chart for standard marathon 42km.
Km Board    Stopwatch Time.
5km            30mins
10km           1 hour 00mins
15km           1hour 30mins
20km           2hours 00mins
21km halfway   2hours 06mins
25km           2hours 30mins
30km           3hours 02mins
35km           3hours 34mins
40km           4hours 05mins
42km Finish 4hours 19mins.

First thing to notice is that the second half (2hours 13mins) is slower than the first half (2hours 06mins). You will need that extra 7mins as a fatigue factor in the second half. The overall pace is 6,19mins/km slower than your shorter races up to now. As the distances the pace decreases. You will be going even slower at Two Oceans 6, 42mins/km and Comrades 7,3mins/km.

If you are well prepared and capable of getting under 4hours for your standard here is the Pacing Chart. As something of a guide you should be under 1hour 45mins for a 21km and 2hours 39mins for a 32km

Pacing Chart for sub 4hours.
Km board    Stopwatch Time
5km            27mins
10km          54mins
15km          1hr 21mins
20km          1hr 48mins
21km Halfway    1hr 53mins
25km          2hrs 17mins
30km          2hrs 48mins
35km          3hrs 18mins
40km          3hrs 47mins
42km Finish   3hrs 59mins

As soon as you finish your marathon take a quick check of how you felt;
  • Did you go out too fast/slow?
  • Did you get a benefit from your GPS digital watch? Did you use it according to instructions?
  • Did you try the idea of often walking short distances?
  • How did you handle the hills? Need to go a bit slower and consolidate?
  • Can you pick up speed on the downhills?
  • Did you get all the fluids down such as water coke and the squeezies?
  • Any trouble with your shoes and clothing causing blister or chafing?
  • What was your running partner like? Too fast quick or slow? Did the partner in some way help or did you have to support them?
All these measurements can be noted and the clever runner will never make the same mistake twice.
I must repeat the rule for running marathons or ultras from now on; to run not more than 15km the weekend long run after wards
There is no doubt that a recovery drink must be part of your relaxation within 30 minutes of finishing. Several proprietary brands available containing carbohydrate and protein. as water soluble shake. Have it available in your tog bag.

In February you have to plan your major races leading up to Comrades. The menu must include 2 standards plus 4 ultras.
Date                          Race name                         Distance
25th February 2018     Deloitte Pretoria marathon    42km
17th March 2018.        Om-Die-Dam                       50km
31st March 2018         Old Mutual Two Oceans       56km
15th April 2018           Jackie Gibson marathon       42km
22nd April 2018           Mid rand Striders 60km        60km
May 1st 2018              RAC Long RUN                   60km

Note. Within the fixture list, the races do not fit the rules of a gap of two weeks between ultra marathons. The 60km for 22nd April can easily be reduced to 50km to reduce the load.
As preparation for the ultras you should be looking through the shorter races. An example is when running your standard marathon you should all the time be saying to yourself “Could I keep this up for 56km?” Training for Comrades you should be finishing your training runs and races with “keeping a little bit in hand”.  Remember this is a building up stage to equip yourself to run further than you have ever run before.

Here is your training programme for February 2018

Objective. To qualify for the 2018 Comrades Marathon by running a standard marathon in under 5hours.

 Week 1.Week 2. Week 3. Week 4
w/c05/02/18   12/02/18 19/02/18 26/02/18
Tuesday    8km T/T  8km T/T  8km T/T  8km T/T 
Wednesday 10km 10km 10km8km 
Thursday12km12km 12km8km
Friday   5km 8km 8km 10km
Saturday 32km race10kmREST10km
SundayREST 15km42km race15km
Total. 67km  63km 80km59km
Total km for February 2018 = 269km
Recommended races:
10th February 2018. Bronkhorstspruit 32km.
25th February 2018. Deloitte Pretoria marathon 42km PHSOB.Hofmeyer Park.
25th February 2018 Township marathon. Eldorado Park.
4th March 2018 Cape Gate Vaal Marathon 42km.Dick Fourie Stadium .Three Rivers.

Thought for the month “Glad I’ve qualified now I can get on with the proper Comrades training.

Don Oliver
Cape Town
February 2018

Copyright Don Oliver 2018