alsoran runners Don Oliver's Central Gauteng
November 2017
Training Programme for Comrades 2017

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Don Oliver's Training Programme

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Where are we now? 

222 days to go looks like the answer and no panic stations yet. What should your training and racing log look like at this stage? You should have done a few short races at 10 15 and 21km at quite a fast pace. That is faster than Comrades. To finish under 11 hours for a bronze at Comrades you only have to average 7,4 mins/km. All the books tells us that we should be able to run shorter races at a faster pace. This month you should be comfortably racing at 6,0mins/km for a 2hr 06min half marathon. If you can’t manage that just yet it is the time to concentrate on running everything just a bit faster and to never stop in a 21km road race. Teach yourself the discipline of not wasting valuable time at drink stops. Grab a sachet or cup and swallow while you are walking or jogging slowly. In these short races try to avoid walking up hills. Slow down and consolidate. We will be allowing you to walk some way in the marathon and beyond.

Your very first test for Comrades training is coming up. To run the RAC City Lodge Tough One, 32km on November 26th 2017, in less than 3hrs 20mins. We always obey the rules of the game when training for Comrades and we say “The longer the distance, the slower the speed”. If you run 21km at a speed of 6,0mins/km you can run slower over 32kms in 3hrs 20mins at 6,25mins/km. Many of you will run faster than 3hrs 20mins which is a fine run but I can assure you that at 3hrs 20mins there will still be a big crowd behind you.

I ran the Tough One 18 times and can offer some suggestions how to handle it. First of all it is not all that tough. There are a lot of long downhill stretches where you must cruise along making up time. The up hills start early and continue to crop up all the way along even in the last 2 kms. You must consolidate on the hills. Move over to the right, relax and get into an economy mode to the top of the hill. Never try to overtake on hills or show off by passing club mates that you think are fading. They might pass you again before the finish. If you start and finish at the same place there must be as many ups as downs. In this race you must allow for a slower second half. I suggest something like 98mins (1hr 38mins) in the first half followed by 102mins (1hr 42mins). It is likely to be hot, so drink sensibly and often. The target is 45g carbohydrate /hour. That is about 450ml Coke./Energade/Powerade. Drink water as you get thirsty. If you can handle a squeezie (complex carbohydrate gels) take one per hour which will boost you by another 25g carbohydrate. Get used to a good drinking pattern even over this relatively short distance because it is one part of the basis of running Comrades. It is a race with a big field always and make sensible plans for parking and getting to the start on time. In a big field you have to look after yourself in the first 6kms and avoid being bumped and even worse, tripped. Don’t get carried away with the early speed. Settle in to your own pace that you alone know will last the distance.

The training programme for this month is shaped for the Tough One so you will notice a fairy gentle week before the race on Sunday November 26th. It will be a hard effort for all of you and I have designed an easy week to recover. Our training schedule for Comrades on this website is to progress with biteable bits and chewable chunks. That applies to both the weekday training runs and the recommended races. One of the many reasons for the Tough One being so popular is the time of year to attempt a slightly longer race than a half marathon but not as far as a full standard marathon. It is a tough high altitude run and sets you up at this early stage to think forward to try something longer and harder such as Comrades. In the running fraternity you are very much judged at this stage about your ability as a long distance road runner. Your performance in the 32km Tough One will carry you right through to March next year when you qualify in Pretoria or the Vaal marathon.

Here is your November training Programme.

Objective: To run the 32km RAC Tough One in less than 3hours 20mins.
Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4
w/c 06/11/17 13/11/17 20/11/17 27/11/17
Tuesday 8km T/T  8km T/T  8km T/T  8km T/T 
Wednesday 8km 8km 8km 8km
Thursday 10km 10km 12km 12km
Saturday 8km 5km REST 8km
Sunday 25km  15km 32km race 15km
Total 59km 46km 66km 51km

Total kms For November 2017 = 222km

Recommended races:
November 26th City Lodge Tough One 32km. Craighall

Thought for the month: “It’s really hotting up now”

Don Oliver
Cape Town
November 2017

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Copyright Don Oliver 2017