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Different Approaches

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I have identified three different approaches to running the race.  These are:

Balls to the wall!
The testosterone approach.  I definitely don’t advise you do this.  Basically it involves giving it your all in the first half of the race and then hanging in for the second half.  Just remember, they don’t give out medals in Drummond!  That second half can be very, very long if you blow at halfway.  These are the guys I pass later in the race, they are usually walking while I am still running at the pace at which I started the run.

Start slow, get slower!
This is the Don Oliver approach and it works very well.  As the name implies, start at your desired Comrades pace and just try and stick to it.  Needless to say, as the day goes by, you will get slower, but that is OK.  Just make sure you try and follow Don’s pacing chart as best as you can.  He makes allowances for a slower second half as well as giving you a 10-15 minute buffer at the end.  This approach allows for a fair amount of walking, but unlike the balls to the wall approach, you will be walking with purpose, not dejected!

Run all day!
This is my approach.  In many ways it is similar to Don’s approach but with the slight difference of not getting any slower in the second half.  Basically it means running at an even pace, but does include walking as per Don’s approach.  This is how I go about it.

I don’t worry about the first few kays when running in the big bunch because there is a lot of stop-starting as the road narrows.  My approach come into ‘operation’ once I am able to run freely.  What I do is to establish a comfortable pace, I must feel totally at ease running, then I ask myself, “Can I do this all day”?  If I can answer “YES”, then that is the pace I stick to all day.  If the answer is “NO”, I usually need to slow down slightly.  I run with one of Don’s 11-hour pacing charts but the truth is, I usually only catch up to his splits with about 20 kays to go.  The thing is, I know what Don is doing on his chart so I don’t panic if I’m behind at any stage.  The main difference between Don’s approach is that I start out slightly slower but it evens up later in the second half. 

If I were to give advice on this matter, I would say, follow Don’s approach rather than mine.  My approach requires a lot more mental strength.


Key words: Different approaches, balls to the wall, start slow get slower, Comrades pace, run all day, Don Oliver
Internal links: hanging in, pacing chart, mental strength
External links: Official Comrades Marathon website



Copyright Nikki Campbell 2008
alsoran@webafrica.org.za