alsoran runners Driving the route

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There are two conflicting thoughts on this one.  Some runners say absolutely no way, while others need a sense of knowing before the actual event.  I follow the latter.  Absolutely!

The Comrades Marathon is one tough, long day out in the sun.  That is the REALITY!  For the ALSORAN runner this means 10 to 12 hours on your feet, keeping the focus.

I highly recommend driving the route beforehand, especially if you are from out of town.  Local runners have the opportunity to train on the route so they have a good sense of what to expect.  Make sure you drive the route at least 2 days before the race.  Don't drive the route the day before as it is quite a tiring exercise.  The day before if meant for relaxation!

I believe driving the route is part of the empowering process (see my page on “knowledge is power”).  Look, you are not going to remember every bit of road and turn, but you will be surprised at just how much you do remember.  Driving the route gives you a familiarity with the road.  On race day you get a sense of having been there before, which helps you feel more at ease on the run.  There are also no nasty surprises on race day of hills and long, unforgiving stretches.  You know they are there.

Knowing the route in conjunction with a decent pacing chart (see Don’s pacing charts) is very useful when you are “pushed for time”, so to speak.  It is handy to know that there are relatively “easy” stretches and that Don has allowed x-amount of time, and you know that you can actually make up some time on these stretches.

Driving the route allows you to acknowledge the hills beforehand, so that on the day they don’t come as a big shock to you.

Driving the route beforehand also gives you the opportunity to visit some of the places of interest along the route.  We always stop at the wall of honour, where we spend some time searching for plaques of friends and others.  Next, we stop at Arthur’s Seat just so we remember what it looks like, and we remind everyone of the necessity to greet Arthur on the day and drop off a flower.  We make a note of all the hills, where the highest point on the route is (Umlaas road).  We always pop into Comrades House.  The museum is well worth a look at and they also have a mini-Comrades shop selling all the Comrades gear.  It’s a great stop for pancakes and boerie rolls!

Key words: driving the route, Comrades Marathon,
Internal links: the day before, keeping the focus, knowledge is power, pacing charts, wall of honour
External links: Official Comrades Marathon website

Copyright Nikki Campbell 2008