alsoran runners Don Oliver's WP
March 2018
Training Programme for Comrades 2018

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Don Oliver's Training Programme

“Where are we now?”

102 days to go. Just over 3 months left but no worries because you qualified at Peninsula or away from home at Cango. Either way you can now get on with the serious business of training specifically for your Comrades Race on June 10th 2018. We enter the hard training programme starting on March 1st and going for 9 weeks. In that time you will be asked to fit in another standard marathon of 42km and three ultras. You can quickly work out that equates to roughly a marathon or more every other weekend. That is hard training by anyone’s measurement. Our programme rules tell us that you must have a rest weekend after each marathon, which means your long weekend run is not more than 15km. A Golden Rule. You have to have these rest days on a Monday and laid back easy weekend runs. Try to beat the system you will get sick or injured somewhere along the line before Comrades. Your dedication will be tested to keep up on the programme but that is just what you need to develop as a long distance runner. You have to develop stamina and endurance, both in your legs and your mind. After about 60kms on Comrades the ones that have done the training keep on going but the ones that missed a lot of training runs start to wilt and walk. With at least another 30kms to go some will hop on to the bailers’ bus. In my running days in Joburg I saw so many club mates and friends bail out of Comrades because they didn’t have the dedication to keep up attending the training runs. Road running is an honest man’s sport and if you miss out you get caught out. No short cuts or quick fixes out there.

The very first  hurdle to overcome this month is the Old Mutual Two Oceans on Saturday March 31st 2018. This race is so important being a genuine ultra marathon of 56km over a tough and testing course. You will be well into your Comrades training and can expect to have a good run. A morale booster is a good run and the opposite can destroy your confidence for a long time. You now have tried and tested your race techniques such as drinking at the refreshment tables, walking, bonding with friends and the all important pace judgement. Get into the habit of eating, drinking, sleeping the day before a marathon and the the ritual on the morning of the race. That is what training is all about “getting it right on the day”.

Oceans is so good for your Comrades mindset. It is a huge national and international race surrounded by blaring publicity both before and during the race. In the incredible excitement just before the start and during the first kms don’t forget all your own personal rules about going out too fast and walking and drinking. You don’t recognise more than half of your familiar faces at our local races. They look strange and talk strange. Don’t get too mixed up with them they might blow you up after Fish Hoek Circle. Welcome them yes but don’t make any mistakes for yourself on race day.

Oceans is difficult to pace because of the terrain and the crowd support. Local supporters yell you on when they spot your club colours. Difficult to slow down or even walk. In addition you don’t know who in the 56km field are running flat out to get a P.B at this race  and on the other hand, who will be carrying on in April and May for Comrades. Have a plan and stick to it. A general rule is that to get a bronze at Comrades you need a bronze in Oceans less than 6 hours.

The training for Oceans in the last month during March is first of all to recover from your qualifying marathon. Feeling strong again is the time to complete another ultra marathon of 50km on March 11th 2018. There I can recommend the Wietse se run from Tyger Valley to Kleinmond, 50km which would require a pre-entry. You would then line up at Oceans with a 42km and a 50km under your belt which is good grounding for a comfortable run. After finishing Oceans you will have completed two ultras and one standard which are well on your way for the hard training period.
Here is a very useful Pacing Chart for the bronze medal under 6 hours for 56km.

Pacing Chart for Two Oceans 2018.

Km BoardStopwatch time
531 mins
101 hour 01 mins
151 hour 31 mins
202 hours 01 mins
252 hours 32 mins
28 Halfway2 hours 50 mins
303 hours 03 mins
353 hours 37 mins
42 Marathon4 hours 22 mins
454 hours 43 mins
505 hours 15 mins
555 hours 48 mins
56 Finish5 hours 55 mins

The splits for halfway is 2hours 50 mins first half followed by 3hours 05mins in the second half. That will be good running.

After finishing Oceans make sure you have your recovery drink (protein and carbohydrate shake) within 30 minutes. Quickly check for any injury, chafing or blisters problems. Secondly before you forget, remember your pacing performance; did you go out too fast or too slow? How did you handle the major hills such as Chappies, Constantia Nek and the last 5km up University Avenue.? Is your drinking pattern effective and how often did you walk.  Here is your training programme for March 2018.

Objective, To complete the 56km Two Oceans marathon in less than 6hours 00mins.

 Week 1.Week 2. Week 3. Week 4
w/c05/03/18   12/03/18 19/03/18 26/03/18
Tuesday    8km T/T  8km T/T  8km T/T  8km T/T 
Wednesday12km 8km 12km 12km 
Thursday8km 8km  8km 8km
Friday  5km 8km 10km REST
Saturday 50km5km8km56km race
SundayREST  15km15km REST
Total. 75km  52km 63km84km
Total km for March = 274km.

Recommended races:

March 31st 2018. Old Mutual Two Oceans 56km Newlands.
Note those who ran the Cango Marathon on February 24th  should run a 15km only on Saturday 3rd March as a recovery run. Thereafter they can join this same March programme above.
Thought for the month: “I’m a qualified ultra marathoner now-I feel proud of that”

Don Oliver
Cape Town
February 2018.

Copyright Don Oliver 2018