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

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Don Oliver's Training Programme

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Where are we now? 

252 days to go and all the entries taken up already. These runners really mean business this year. Making an entry and payment up front in September, 8 months in advance gives all these people such a better chance of finishing with a medal compared with waiting until end of the year. Chosing a Down Run is a favourite and gives you a slightly better chance of a good run. You should be better prepared for the 89km bone jarring descent from Pmb to Durban. Either way Up or Down is an ordeal needing stamina, endurance commitment and sheer guts. You’ve got about 8 months to prepare yourself for 11hours on the road in heat and up and down endless hills. Tackled in the right way you can adapt to handle all these hardships. This training programme is specifically designed for training for Comrades single mindedly. The design of the training schedule has been used for many years with a better than average finishing rate than the race overall. You have about a 90% chance of getting a bronze medal compared with the average of 80%.
At the time of writing the CMA have suddenly announced entries for the 2018 Comrades Marathon are closed at 21500.Hope you got yours in.

First up to test yourself is the 32km RAC Tough One organised by RAC on November 26th 2017. There is roughly 2 months preparation left and that is more than enough time for a good preparation from where you are now having run a 20km club run and several 10km races during September.The objective is to finish the 32km Tough One in less than 3hours 15mins.
You can use shorter and less important build-up races to get things right on the day. The things requiring your attention are;
1. How many days before the big race do you need to not run at all?
2. When must your last hard training run be in the days leading up to the race?
3. For a 32km hard race, how far will your last long run be?
4. How many kms/week is just right to be well prepared for a 32km race?
5. What will you be eating and drinking the night before the race?
6. What will you be eating and drinking on the morning of the race?
7. Set your target finishing time based on recent shorter races for 3 months before this race.
8. You will need a race plan to fit the finishing time. Generally the second half will be slower than the first half for all races of 32km and longer.
9. Plan to run with training partners and people you are comfortable with.
10. Have all your kit in tip top condition for each and every important race.

The answers to questions 1-4 will be provided by the programme and the others must be worked out for yourself depending what works for you

Q.1. Minimum days off before a big race is 2 days.
Q.2.Last hard training run is at least 5 day before race.
Q.3 Longest run before 32km Tough One should be 25km.
Q 4. Average weekly km should be about 45km by running 4 days/ week.

You are asked to consider all the above points and adjust things that went wrong in the earlier and shorter races. You are training for Comrades remember and that is the time you must get it right on the day.

One word of advice this month is about your hill and speed training. You will not be taking part in any specialised hill or speed sessions for the Comrades Down Run in 2018.Believe you me there are more than enough hills on most of your training routes and if not, there are plenty of hills in the C.G and G.N races. For speed training you can just vary your pace in training over say 2 days/week and one of the races per month. So many runners have no “gearbox”. They run the same speed in training during the week, also at the Time Trial and yet again in the races irrespective of the distance. To improve your cardiovascular fitness run slightly faster over three sections of your training run or race. Speed up for about half a km that’s all. Get a bit out of breath and relax to recover but try to not lose too much speed. You will improve your “steady state running speed “in this way. First of all this month do the speed stretches on flat sections of the course. Take it slowly to start off with and as you get the hang of the exercise you can go a bit faster.

Included in the October training programme is a club Time Trial over normally 8km. Aim for running briskly but not too fast. Keep well under a gasping diehard sprint for 8km. The T/T for your Comrades training should be close to your cruising or steady state speed in October of 6,0mins/km. Enjoy the club  support system at the time trial to meet like-minded runners of about your own ability and support social activities and Comrades training discussions and talks. Support your club from now on because you will need all the support and encouragement you can get on Comrades Day, believe you me.

Here is the October 2017 Training Programme. You will immediately notice that you have lost a rest day. You will be running 5days/ week now but from January 1st next year you will ask to run 6days a week to prepare for the big one. One golden rule is never to miss a rest day.

Comrades training programme for October 2017.

Objective: To run a 21km road race in less than 2hours 09minutes.
Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4Week 5
w/c 02/10/17 09/10/17 16/10/17 23/10/1730/10/17
Tuesday 8km T/T  8km T/T  8km T/T  8km T/T 8km T/T 
Wednesday 8km 8km 8km 8km8km
Thursday 8km 8km 8km 8km8km
Saturday 5km 5km 5km 5km5km
Sunday 25km  21km race 21km race 25km21km race
Total 54km 50km 50km 54km50km

Total km for October 2017 = 258km( Equivalent to 206km for a 4 week month)

Recommended races:
October 15th 2017 Panorama 21km Northcliff  21km
October 22nd 2017 Diepkloof Half U J Soweto Compus ,Diepkloof.21km
November 5th 2017 Soweto marathon 21km FNB Stadium Soweto.

Thought for the month: “I’m really enjoying both the races and the club runs”.

Don Oliver
Cape Town
September 2017

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Copyright Don Oliver 2017