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

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Don Oliver's Training Programme

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Where are we now? 

35 days to go. All of May and 4 days into June, May is wind down month so all your heavy training is over.  April 29th was the last long club run and the very first job in May is to recover from April which was Oceans 56km and Belville to Hout Bay 54km. Quite a month but you will feel the benefit of all that on Comrades from 55k to go.

35 days to go only. This is your last training programme and the most important. If you get anything wrong now you have not got enough time to put things right. This is wind down month and the difficulty is as you reduce the training load quite dramatically you get stronger and there is a natural temptation to go out and assure yourself you are invincible. Don’t do it; harness your energy; you will need every ounce of energy on Comrades day. While you are winding down all the damage muscle cells are repairing them and replacing the whole structure with something stronger. The art of winding down is to reduce all your runs in distance frequency and speed. Regular exercise will keep the body’s systems in peak condition. Therefore there are no long runs planned this month and shorter runs during the week are the pattern. Repairs and maintenance are done on all small minor injuries. Go to your physio and get treatment for some of the overuse areas that have been remorselessly abused over two months. The runners who have been running with slight niggles, colds and internal infections can now go to the doctor without fear of being told go to bed and don’t run. Do you what you are told for a change. If you are still having days where you are totally exhausted or over tired just give in and have a day off.

The wind down consists of a gradual lowering of the training load by reducing the length of each training run and the long weekend run. As you approach the last fortnight before Comrades we include more rest days in the week from a meagre one day per week to a luxurious 3 days. The nerve wracking days during the week before Comrades are spent on a minimum of 4 days rest to gather your final armoury for the big battle ahead. The pundits have always said that Comrades is 80% in the mind. Nothing has changed apart from a yearly variation of say 5% depending on various economic and national health factors

One big mistake made by many runners, novice and experienced, is to think that piling in some really torturous runs in the next fortnight is going to produce extra super human strength on Comrades day. It doesn’t work like that. Fitness is produced when rest days follow days of high intensity endurance running which you have been doing in the last two months. The Rest Days build you up.

Most if not all of this year’s Comrades runners ran Two Oceans and we hope all were successful. Even the finishers who did well were heard to say “I could never have done another 30km after that.” Well surprising enough they will all manage to do just that, the mind and body adapt on the day to complete the race distance whatever it may be. The secret for this period of your training is to do very little running between the Two Oceans and the Belville to Hout Bay 54km. It is vital to recover from Two Oceans which is a very tough race. There is only 11days between the two ultras.  For novices in particular it is very important to complete a training run under no pressure lasting for about 6 to 7 hours. To finish this run will fill you with confidence for the ultimate test of Comrades. The Wietse Long Run is a well organised and well seconded run so that you are well looked after for drinks and refreshments. For your part take your time walking when you feel it is getting a bit tough and having a short chat with friends at the drinks tables. while you enjoy a valuable stretch. Use this run as a dress rehearsal for Comrades and try out your club colours if you like as well as the peak, hat, squeezies, shades and any lucky charms you intend to take along. One piece of advice is to try to eat something on the long run so you can find something that suits you during the very long day at Comrades. Secondly try to remember any mistakes you made in the Two Oceans race and make very sure you don’t repeat it here or on Comrades Day. Relax and consolidate on the hills and start off slowly. Don’t worry if you get even slower. It will probably happen at Comrades as well. A reminder about batteries for your runners watch whichever make you have; check the battery and double check it is designed to run for minimum 12 hours.

At this stage it is very rewarding to summarise the training you have done.

May  154km
Total 1329km

A total of 1329kms, containing two standards and three ultras are a strong credential to be a very comfortable medal winner at Comrades. Take confidence that you have prepared properly and are therefore entitled to be successful.

Throughout the wind down month your speed in training and the short races should ideally be kept to Comrades pace. Get so familiar with what is the Comrades Pace, which is about 7mins/km. Can’t go into a race as long as Comrades without getting familiar with what you will be doing on the day.

Get your Pacing Chart off the website suggest you choose the safe bronze at 10hrs 45mins. Notice that the second half is slower than the first half to allow for the expected fatigue factor.
We will be publishing on this website a special feature on May 15th 2017 entitled” Race day Tips.” Keep an eye open for that.

Here is your May 2017 training programme;

Objective. To wind down to arrive at the start at Comrades feeling confident and relaxed.   

Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4Week 5 
w/c 01/05/17 08/05/17 15/05/17 22/05/1729/05/17
Monday 10km race REST REST RESTREST
Tuesday 5km 8km 5km 5km5km
Thursday 8km 8km 8km 8kmREST
Saturday REST 8km  5km 5kmREST
Sunday 21km race 12km race 15km 10km Comrades 87km 
Total 52km 36km 33km 28km5km

Total km for May 2017 = 154km
Recommended races:
May 14th 2017 Metropolitan Slave Route 21km Grande Parade Cape Town
May 21st 2017 Cape Town 12 Milnerton Beach 12km
Thought for the month: “I have trained well and deserve to get my medal “
Don Oliver. Cape Town April 2017.

Don Oliver
Cape Town
April 2017

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