alsoran runners Don Oliver's
Final tips for Comrades 2010

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Don Oliver's Training Programme
Make the commitment

  1. Don’t forget to take everything you need with you to Durbs.  Have a dry run at least on Monday before Comrades. Number one is race entry acceptance, championchip and  Number two is club colours, socks and shoes for the race. Take squeezies down with you. There are usually no stocks left in Durban. Make sure your Pacing Chart is printed and laminated.
  2. You must have made precise plans to meet your running partners on race day. Phone again after you get the race brochure at the registration. Look to see where the tog bag truck is and the club gazebo at the finish.
  3. Best day to look at the Expo is Friday and rest completely on Saturday. Maximum time allowed at Expo is 2hours.  Have sensible well tried favourites for meals on the last two days in Durbs.No “mild” Durban curry. Remember they live on it down there. Make your travel arrangements to get to Pmb by bus or friends and leave early enough. It will be cold in Pmb on race morning probably close to degree C.Have a long sleeve disposable tee shirt for the morning start.
  4. Be realistic about your planned finishing time. No dreaming or hoping for a lucky run. It is all based on the kms you have run and the speed you ran at. Best guide is to look at your seeding and see where they finished last year. it will be the same this year;

SeedingSilverBill RowanBronzeVic ClaphamDNF
F30 887497156
G3429755 259
  1. Get into your seeding pen by 5.00a.m.  Don’t try to push forward for a better seeding group.  They will be too fast for you.  The time lost at the start is built into the Pacing Chart.  Don’t worry and try to catch up.  You can be 7 minutes getting over the line from seeding group H.  Go carefully in the Pmb streets in the dark.
  2. Start off easily for the longest race this year.  Start off at your slowest.  You will get even slower during the day after halfway.
  3. Check what the “Kilometre To Go “ boards look like. Your first check will be at 80 kms to go.
  4. Walk for a couple of minutes in the first hour. Get your drinking pattern right straight away.  45g carbohydrate/hour is 450ml Powerade or Coke which is 3 sachets of 150ml. Usually it is convenient to drink at every other table. Add one squeezie/hour on the hour.
  5. The registered hills are: Ups:
  • N’Changa at 51km to go
  • Alverstone at 45kms to go
  • Cowies at 18kms to go
          The registered hills are: Downs:
  • Polly Shortts at 80kms to go.
  • N’Changa at 48kms to go
  • Bothas at 31kms to go
  • Fields at 24kms to go.
  • Cowies at 16kms to go.
  1. Time management means you must not waste time unnecessarily during the day. You may just need that final minute to miss the cut-off.
  2. Read the race brochure to make sure of the cut offs during the race.  You can walk a lot in Comrades.  In the second half it seems no one is running.  Plan your own walking.

Medal Walking kmsWalking time @10mins/km
Bill Rowan3 30 mins
Bronze244 hours 00 mins
Vic Clapham 447 hours 20 mins

A very good plan for a safe bronze is:

Run for 65kms  = 390mins = 6hrs 30mins
Walk for 24km = 240mins = 4hrs 00mins
Stop for 20mins.
Total 89kms, walk and run, for 10hrs 30mins
Stop for rubs and pit stops = 20mins
Finishing time = 10hrs 50mins.
  1. Follow a yellow number to be sure to finish.  Don’t follow a green number, they have done it all before and don’t need to prove anything.
  2. Only one pain killer for first half and one for the second half. Turn on the headphones to forget the pain.
  3. Keep moving towards Durbs all day.  Don’t stop apart from pit stops.
  4. Your best times for half way are.

Silver medal3 hours 35 mins
Bill Rowan4 hours 13 mins
Bronze5 hours 00 mins
Vic Clapham5 hours 20 mins
  1. If you have a bad patch and think about bailing, forget it.  Sit down have a coke, have something to eat.  Think about your supporters and loved ones.  Have a nice stretch. Just go to the next rub station and have a luxurious two leg treatment.  Get on the next happy looking slow bus and off you go to Durbs, fresh as a daisy.
  2. To bail lasts forever. Pain eventually goes away.
  3. Feed off the crowds.  They are very knowledgeable.  "You are looking good !” and “It’s all downhill to the finish!”  They are very right - believe them.   Make a new friend at Comrades.  Help someone who is worse off than you. 
  1. The bailers bus will cruise along next to you, they slide open the door and beckon you inside.  Politely wave them on.
  2. You are a star for the day.  Wave and acknowledge the deafening cheers round the stadium track.
  3. Smarten up as you approach the finish banner.  Smile for that most important photo of the year with your Comrades medal round your neck.
  4. Good luck for the great 2010 Comrades marathon.

Don Oliver
Cape Town
May 2010

Internal links: expo, squeezies, Pacing charts
External links: Official Comrades Marathon website

Copyright Nikki Campbell 2010