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

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Don Oliver's Training Programme

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Where are we now? 

Still a long time to go .282 days to go. Because we start our training early for novices, there is not as much time left as you think. The secret of training for Comrades for a novice is to build up the kms slowly. Hope you will never get an injury in training but I can warn you that it is mind shattering at the time. Suddenly everything is thrown into doubt about how serious it is and when will you will get back to training. Meanwhile all your training friends are pulling away day by day. The body needs time to adapt. You have been given the time in this programme and don’t try to beat the system by doing more at this stage.

You will quickly notice in the September programme that there is no increase in training days/week. It remains at 4 times / week. Spring and summer comes later in the Cape than in Johannesburg and the weather will still be occasionally wet and cold. Of the three days left in the week put one day aside to rest from physical exercise. The Rest Day is important and will remain on every month’s training programme. The remaining day should be devoted to alternative physical exercise. Some play golf, squash, cycle and go to gym. At the gym follow a core strengthening programme to help you remain intact as you grind up nearly 50km of up hills in Comrades. When I finished my first Comrades, the next day I only had two sore arms from keeping my arms held up while running for nearly 10hours.

On a Tuesday we introduce an 8km time trial which will remain in the programme up until Comrades next year. The time trial is not an all out effort to break records. It’s a tempo run where you run swiftly but not hard enough to get out of breath and gasp for air. It’s controlled running at your comfortable steady state, cruising speed. Run well within yourself and as time goes on you will run faster for the same effort. Use the time to get to make club friends and find out who you enjoy running with and are compatible for a long run on the road later on. Never chose someone faster than yourself. That will result in injury.

In the remaining months in 2017 you must try to run everything just slightly faster than your expected Comrades speed which is on average for 90km of 7,2mins/km. Over shorter distances you should aim at about 6,0 to 6,5mins/km even in mid week training runs. You will never run 90km in training before Comrades so that will be a new long distance for you and you will plan to slower than you have ever ever run before to accommodate the extra distance. The rule for novices is simple; “The longer the distance the slower the speed.” That is why all the races this year will be faster than 7,2mins/km.
For Western province runners it is unnecessary to run specific hill training sessions. Wherever you run or race in W.P you get plenty of hills both up and down. Just like Comrades. You are called the Mountain Goats by the Up Country visitors and they are very right. Specific hill training sessions comes with a risk of injury and should be avoided.

The entries for Comrades have already opened on September 1st Cost is R 460 for an early bird entry, going up to R500 on 1st October.2017. The new finish is at the Moses Mabida stadium very close to the sea front and the old finish at Kingsmead. The race distance will be re-measured but is likely to be just a little longer maybe 90km compared with 89km.

The second training programme includes a 20 km long training run in Week 3.and must be taken gently with plenty of walking when necessary. We call this a club run and is an opportunity to put in relaxed distance with no pressure from km boards cut offs and peer pressure. Enjoy the scenery and friendship and look at everything with an eye on Comrades where you will be asked to keep on going for a very long time.

Here is the September training programme:

Training programme September 2017

Objective.To complete a 20 km club run in less than 2hours 30 mins. 

Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4
w/c 04/09/17 11/09/17 18/09/17 25/09/17
Tuesday 8km T/T 8km T/T 8km T/T 8km T/T
Wednesday AE AE AE AE
Thursday 5km 6km 6km 8km
Friday AE AE AE AE
Saturday 5km 5km 5km race 5km 
Sunday 10km race 10km race 20km 14km race
Total 28km 29km 41km 36km
Total km for September 2017 = 134km

Recommended races:
September10th 2017 ARD 3 Vlei 10km. Fairmont High Grassy Park.
September 17th  2017 Sanlam Cape Town Marathon 10km Green Point
October 1st 2017 K Way Grape Run 14km Alphen Hall Constantia.

Thought for the month: “I’ve entered. Just got to finish now.”

Don Oliver
Cape Town
September 2017

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Copyright Don Oliver 2016