alsoran runners Conditioning

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For the Alsoran runner, Comrades is an all day affair.  Nine to eleven hours plus on the road.  It is a good idea to be prepared for any eventuality.  Conditioning is a useful way to cover most bases.

I focus on three different aspects of conditioning in my Comrades build up, namely:
  • Physical
  • Climatic
  • Digestive
Let me elaborate.

Physical conditioning:

If you are following Don’s programme you will notice that he focuses on an almost daily doses of muscle and bone conditioning.  He doesn’t call it that, but essentially his programme of running short stuff daily is doing just that.  These short runs serve to condition your muscles and bone, together with the repair which happens between these daily runs.  Don’s programme is never excessive.  It follows a gentle build up and is well worth following.

To summarise – run short stuff daily

Climatic conditioning:

I’m stating the obvious here.  I find the best way to condition myself for adverse weather is to run in these conditions, be it wind, rain, heat or cold.  Whatever the weather, make sure you are
  • appropriately dressed to go out and run.  
  • In really cold and wet conditions, wear tights, a cap/beanie, gloves and wind breaker (Capestorm “Slipstream” for me!)  
  • In very hot conditions, wear cool running gear and a breathable cap or buff and apply a good sunscreen. 
  • The key to running in less than perfect weather conditions is not to fight it.  Don’t spend more energy than you need to, try to run as normal as possible.
As with physical conditioning, it is about
  • doing lots of shorter runs under these conditions.  For my daily 8km run, I usually go out between 11.00am and 3.00pm.  Doing this I have become comfortable running in warmer and windier conditions. 
  • Once again, don’t push too hard because you will overheat and your body will “shut down” so to speak. 
  • If possible, try to run on the shadiest section of the road (don’t get run over!)
  • If there are any taps on route, stop, drink and wet your body to try and keep your outer body temperature down. 
In cold conditions I find it helps if I
  • run with clenched fists as this helps keep the heat in.
  • It is important to keep moving, that way your body continues to generate some heat. 
Running in adverse weather conditions is also a good exercise in improving mental strength

Digestive conditioning:

I talk a lot about this on my page about the long club run
  • Basically get used to eating and drinking during your training runs. 
  • Find out what works and what doesn’t work for you. 
Just think about it, how do you feel if you haven’t had anything to eat all day?  So imagine how tough it is on your body when you make it run all day with nothing to sustain it!


Keywords: physical conditioning, muscle and bone conditioning, climatic conditioning, digestive conditioning
Internal links: Don’s programme, long club run, mental strength
External links: Official Comrades Marathon website



Copyright Nikki Campbell 2009
alsoran@webafrica.org.za