alsoran runners The Long Club Run

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It is one thing to go out on your own and do a long training run but are you getting the full benefit from such a run?  At Fish Hoek Athletic Club we offer the Four Hills for Lindsay 56km training run to runners who are training for the Comrades marathon

How is the long club run different from that run you go out and do on your own? 

Well the long club run should be seen by the participants as a dress rehearsal as it is a simulation of the actual race day.  That is, we try to present conditions as they would be during the actual Comrades Marathon on 29 May.  By this I mean we have refreshment tables every 2 to 3km on route, stocked with everything you will be getting on race day and more.  Our standard water table fare includes water, coke, creame soda (for 2nd half), energade, bananas and jelly babies.  All tables will also offer a random selection of sandwiches, crackers, biscuits, chocolates, oranges, marshmallows and maybe some koeksisters or hot cross buns. 

Why such a variety?  Another reason for doing the long club run is to practice eating and drinking.  Since there are no cut offs and no medals to be lost, runners have the opportunity to try out the various foodstuffs and get an idea of what works and doesn’t work for them.  The thing is, on Comrades day, you may  feel hungry in between tables and  ask spectators for something to eat.  Who knows what they may have in their cooler boxes.  At least this way, we are covering some of those bases for you! Refreshment tables are also stocked with loo paper, vaseline and certain medications.  The long club run is also the perfect opportunity to practice your pitstops!  The Four Hills for Lindsay long run is pretty challenging as the name implies.  Runners get the opportunity to practice pacing and any race strategies they are thinking of incorporating on race day.  There are plenty of hills to practice a run-walk strategy.

The other nice thing about this particular long club run is that all the runners are on the same page, so to speak.  All are focussed on running the Comrades Marathon so there is a lot of camaraderie and sharing of advice along the route.  Don Oliver mans a refreshment table at about 43 kms and offers good advice along with his table fare.  Don is also available at the finish should runners wish to speak to him.

The long club run will give you your “longest time on feet” event before the actual race day.  It should be run at your anticipated Comrades pace.  Pay special attention to how you are feeling throughout the run, especially when you are feeling tired and sore.  Note how you cope with these feelings and store this knowledge in your mental” goody bag".  As this run is scheduled quite late in your Comrades marathon training, you will be running on tired legs.  This is good.  I always imagine I am at Drummond when I start the run, and so my long club run becomes the 2nd half of Comrades for me.

The long club run is also a good place to try out your running kit for race day.  Make sure everything fits comfortably.  Try and determine any possible problems with your kit ie. garment labels, sock lining etc.

The long club run should be a very positive experience and sees runners ending their high mileage training on a good note.  The Four Hills for Lindsay training run has a support crew second to none. They are all former Comrades runners and/or experienced Comrades support crew who know exactly how you are feeling and what you are needing.

Back to my initial question.  How is the long club run different from that run you go out and do on your own?  

Consider this, would you stop every 2 to 3km on your own training run?  Will you be eating and drinking on route, if so what and when?  Will you have someone to run with, to talk to, to compare notes with?  I’m guessing probably not.  You’ll stop at a tap somewhere, you may buy a coke and a banana at a shop, you may have stashed some water the night before.  The thing is, this is not how you will be running on race day.  You need to make this running experience familiar so that it appears normal on race day. 


Key words: long club run, Comrades Marathon, refreshment tables
Internal links: pit stops, Comrades, camaraderie, Don Oliver, mental goody bag, support crew, race strategies,
External links: Official Comrades Marathon website, Fish Hoek Athletic Club, Four Hills for Lindsay 56km long training run

Copyright Don Oliver 2011
alsoran@webafrica.org.za