alsoran runners Don Oliver's WP
January 2017
Training Programme for Comrades 2017

Advertising opportunities

Home Page
Comrades, briefly
Comrades route
In Durban
The race itself
Mental Preparation
Physical Preparation
A to Z of Comrades
Running Injuries
Stories and other interesting stuff!
Don Oliver's Training Programme

breakthru logo

Where are we now? 

We are right at the beginning of the serious, planned, successful training programme for getting a bronze medal at this year’s Comrades. A bare 155 days to go.  At this stage it is just a dream that you can run /walk continuously for 11hours.  Such is the programme of chewable chunks and biteable bits that we use to build up your confidence over the 5 months. You hardly notice the higher target each month because the increased distance or training load is small. Both body and mind can handle it without any major interruption by injury or sickness. You are asked to record all your training performances and race achievements from now on. This record is used by yourself to examine where anything has gone wrong and not to repeat it as the big day approaches. In the last 6 weeks before Comrades if any accident or misfortune hits you, there is not enough time left to repair and recover. We have got to know what brings you down and we can carefully avoid making silly mistakes. At this stage of course you are asked to stick to the programme. You will be tempted to swop over to easier programmes as the going gets tough in April and May. You will be rewarded I can assure you on Comrades Day. Even in this advanced age of science and technology there are no short cuts in Comrades training. Do your training and the right races you will get your medal.

We have already outlined the whole programme in last month’s article and you have close to 1400km to go, qualify in February, ease yourself into the rewarding world of Ultras in April wind down in May and the medal will be waiting for you. Leave space in your medal cabinet for two standard marathons and three ultras. The Comrades medal is small and you can always squeeze it in at the end.

The preparation for a standard marathon involves at least two runs of between 30kms and 35kms and weekly kms of between 65km and 70kms. In this part of the world you are fortunate to have races between 30km and 36kms in January to provide the perfect opportunity. Looking back to December you enjoyed a fairly low mileage. This plan was to make sure you were well rested as you start off in January fresh and without injury. The jump in distance will be noticeable this month but with three or four months training behind you there should be no problems. The races in January to be used for our Comrades training is the Bay to Bay 30km on January 8th 2017, followed by the Red Hill Classic 36km on January 21st 2017. The gap between those races, 13 days, is more than enough for recovery whilst keeping up your weekly training. Both the races must be run conservatively because they are both build up runs for your qualifier at the 42km Peninsula marathon on February 19th 2017. Your target for Bay to Bay 30km is 3hours 15mins. That is a steady pace of 6,5mins/km. Your target for the Red Hill Classic is 4hours which is slightly slower at a pace of 6,7mins/km over the longer distance. I can assure you that you will prepared for a 42km in February after completing this two local races. Most important in this month’s programme are the weekend runs following the two races. Only 15km on the weekend of week 2 and 4. One of the arts of training for ultra marathons is to allow yourself time to recover from the longer runs and races. The 8km Time trial included each and every week is just a relaxed steady pace of 6mins/km. It is an opportunity to socialise with club mates to discuss performance and future plans.

The Bay to Bay and the Red Hill Classic are over hilly courses which are ideal for Comrades. Concentrate on relaxing while running steadily on the uphills. Avoid too much walking in these shorter races. It can easily become a bad habit. The first half of Comrades is hard and not too much time can be lost by too much walking early on. Sensible planned walking is fine which you will be learning during the Ultras in April.

Your mid week running in January must be deliberately a noticeably bit slower. Many runs are in your recovery mode after a hard race. The programme is now 6 days a week training which itself will prepare you for stamina and endurance. You will notice the increased load to run with only one Rest Day but cherish that one day; Monday.

Comrades training programme for January 2017.

Objective. To complete a 30km race in 3hours 15mins followed two weeks later with a 36km race in less than 4 hours

Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4Week 5 
w/c 02/01/17 09/01/17 16/01/17 23/01/1730/01/17
Tuesday 8km T/T 8km T/T 8km T/T 8km T/T8km T/T
Wednesday 8km 8km 8km 8km8km
Thursday 10km 10km 10km 10km12km
Friday 8km 8km 5km 8km8km
Saturday 5km 8km  36km race 8km21km race
Sunday 30km race 15km REST 15km REST 
Total 69km 57km 67km 57km57km
Total km January 2017 = 307km ( Equivalent to 245km for a 4 week month.)

Recommended races;
January 8th 2017 Nutribullet Bay to Bay 30km Maiden Cove
January 21st 2017 STBB Red Hill Classic 36km Fish Hoek A.C.
February 4th 2017 Lion of Africa.21km Tokai

Thought for the month: “I didn’t think it would be easy"

Don Oliver
Cape Town
December 2016

red hill pottery logo

Copyright Don Oliver 2016