For me, this is the final
chapter of the pre-Comrades programme. We always arrive in Durban at least 3
days before the race which gives us time to settle in and relax before
the big event. There are a number of pre-race activities
and/or preparations that come to mind and I will try and list and
elaborate on each of them.
This takes place from 26 May to 28 May at the Durban Exhibition Centre.
See my page on "The Comrades Expo"
for lots more information.
The Pasta Party
Runners World usually
hosts a pre-race pasta party. While I have only ever attended
one of these, I can say that it is a pretty good evening of camaraderie
and pre-race “Ra-Ra”. They usually have one or two quest
speakers and the message is always a positive one. For the
‘entry fee’ you get some pretty decent pasta and quite a few sponsor’s
products and prizes. I recommend attending the pasta party if
you are a novice, especially if you don’t have a strong support
structure around you in Durban.
Driving the route
advise you do this! See my page on “driving the route”.
Walk the finish
We do this as part of the “driving the route”
exercise. Visit the finish. Comrades 2011 finishes
at the Harry Gwala stadium in Pietermaritzburg. Walk the
straight. Absorb everything you can about it. The
colour, the flags, the grass, the fencing. Look up at the
finish clock, walk over the mats. You need to store this all
in your mental goody bag.
You may need to remind yourself of the finish during your
run! It gives you something to aim for. It is a
good idea to get your bearings in terms of where the togbag security
is, where the showers are, and where your club tent is
situated. After the race your brain is pretty screwed so it
helps to have some idea of where you need to go.
Visit Comrades House
Afterall, you are a Comrade, or
if a novice, a wannabee Comrade! Comrades House is HQ to all
Comrades runners. They have a great museum. Spend
some time in there. There are some wonderful displays and it
is a great way to learn more about the history of the race.
As Comrades House serves as the registration point in Pietermaritzburg,
it is very festive. They do have a small Comrades expo shop
where you can buy Comrades
gear and souvenirs. You can also get something to eat
here. I recommend the pancakes and the boerie rolls!
Food for thought!
Watch what you eat!
You may feel like you are on holiday being in Durban where the weather
is great. Be especially careful if you are staying in a hotel
where you are forced to eat out all the time. Try to stick to simple
food. Avoid creamy dishes and stay away from anything you
haven’t had before. We mostly stay in self catering
apartments which gives us better control over what we eat.
I don’t really follow a
pre-race high carbohydrate
intake but if you want to give it a try, I suggest you try this out
before one of the long training runs first. Remember, most
sauces or toppings are not part of the carbo-loading
process. I try to stick to the low GI carbohydrates.
I suggest you speak to a qualified dietician for advice on how to do
Sorting your gut out
When I work this one out, I’ll
let you know! I guess a lot of it has to do with pre-race
nerves. I have tried just about everything in the book and
still haven’t found the perfect solution. One of my
approaches was to start the week taking Senokot each day (to clear the
gut), then if that worked, start taking Imodium (to setle the gut) the day before
the race. I’ve had mixed results with this approach though,
not to mention the strange look they give you at the pharmacy when you
ask for Senekot, and then some Imodium! I just say “don’t
worry, I know what I’m doing!” I remember one year having a
bad case of gastro two nights before the race. Scary
stuff! Make sure you have plenty of Imodium or Lomitil
around. It helps! I think the thing that saved me
that year was “Rehydrate”. See my page on “Pit stops”
for more information.
The night before the night before
This is probably the most
important night of your Comrades preparation. Try and get a
good night’s sleep as it is often really difficult to relax and
actually sleep the night before. Knowing you’ve had a good
night’s sleep, two nights before goes a long way in keeping you in a
relaxed frame of mind for the race.
Key words: comrades
marathon, registration, pre-race preparation, the night before,
carbohydrates, Low GI, Durban
Internal links: The Comrades
goody bag, camaraderie,
driving the route,
pit stops, the day