alsoran runners Don Oliver's WP
October 2017
Training Programme for Comrades 2018

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Don Oliver's Training Programme

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Where are we now? 

This question is for all the entrants who will be running the 2018 Comrades marathon. At this stage they want to know if they are on track with 252 days to go. Many will be off track because they already are doing too much training .They will not last the course when they burn out soon in February next year. The remainder have done too little to date. Those people have entered because they rather fancy getting the praise and admiration when they arrive home after the race with a finisher’s medal. This group should study what is involved in getting that cherished Comrades medal. Many long hours on the road suffering pain, excitement, disappointment, injury, sickness and real fear and finally the dreadful feeling that maybe they have just bitten off too much to chew this time. I can assure you each and every Comrades finisher is a tough guy or tough chic. Few look like athletes when they cross the finishing line in Durban in 2018. Unseen in that slender frame is a mind of steel.  They have learned the hard way having to hang in on training runs and ultra marathons all of which are way shorter than Comrades. Some lose a whole month due to a major self inflicted road running injury setting all their faith in a physiotherapist that they didn’t know even this time last year. All your friends and professional advisers are Comrades runners who can understand the sheer despair of a set back in training or preparation. My advice is simple; Follow this  programme to give you the best possible chance of being a Comrades finisher next year. Sometimes you may think the monthly training is too easy and more often than not they think the programme is really far too hard. I can’t really tell you at this stage how hard Comrades is 89km total distance with the first half as hard a course over the 44km route that you have ever met in your build-up races followed by a second half of bone jarring pain. A Comrades medal doesn’t come easily. About 80% will make it to the finish and the remaining 20% go home empty handed. My job is to point you in the right direction every month to be in the Comrades Results book. During the many years I have been running and coaching I have met so many broken souls that have a cross to bear for 12 months of being a bailer. Some novices want to choose a quick fix with the training and strenuous races but the bad news there is not yet any quick fix. Become a dedicated and committed Comrades novice and you will enjoy the overwhelming praise and envy of all your friends, club mates and family.

By now you have been running a few races up to 21km and have breaks in training and racing for a variety of reasons with work family and social. From now on as a Comrades entrant you must be dedicated to the programme. Nothing must stand in its way. Each and every race and training run is dedicated to the current and correct Comrades build-up. Don’t do more than asked for and certainly don’t do less.

Last month you were running just 4day/ week giving you a total of about 40km per week. Having paid your R 460 entry fee you can safely run for 5 days/week now most of it slowly. The big programme starts in earnest with Bay to Bay in early January 2018 and serves as a wakeup call after 30km. Never ask yourself at the finish “Could I have done 3 of these in a row?”

Your club mates and work colleagues will be asking if you will be running the Winelands Marathon in November and tell them “NO.I will not be ready for a 42km and that stage!” There is a very testing 21km for you on the same day and venue. Your programme clearly offers you to qualify in the Peninsula marathon in mid February next year. By then you will be entitled to run and qualify easily. 

Doesn’t matter where you live in W.P. there are plenty of hills in your training routes and local races. The programme doesn’t include specific hill training days because that type of training can produce an injury to a novice who is building up their monthly mileage. Next year you can do those sort of things.
Here is your October training Programme. Please remember to check which races having their closing date for entries The Comrades entries has reached 21500 which is a sure indication local races will be very big from now on.
The  8km T/T is the club Time Trial which should be a regular feature of your running week. At this stage you should try to run a relaxed 48minutes concentrating on running at your cruising speed where you don’t get out of breath but does mean swift running. Catch up with club mates news and take part in all the club Comrades activities. Begin to get some idea of who you would  like to run with in Comrades. Must be about the same pace as yourself and be able to chat comfortably.

Here is your Comrades 2018 Training programme for October 2017.

Objective: To complete a 21 km road race in less than 2hours 09 mins.
Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4Week 5
w/c 02/10/17 09/10/17 16/10/17 22/10/1730/10/17
Tuesday 8km T/T 8km T/T 8km T/T 8km T/T8km T/T
Wednesday 5km 6km 6km 6km6km
Thursday 8km 6km 6km 8km8km
Saturday 5km 5km 5km 5km 5km 
Sunday 10km race 21km race 20km 22km21km race
Total 36km 46km 45km 49km48km
Total km for October 2017 = 224km (Equivalent to 179km for a 4week month.)

Recommended races:
October 8th 2017 Gun Run 10km Sea Point Promenade.
October 15th 2017 Chappies Challenge. 21km Hout Bay.
November 5th 2017 The Landmarks 21km Keurboom Rd Rondebosch.

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

Don Oliver
Cape Town
September 2017

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Copyright Don Oliver 2016