alsoran runners In Durban
Your Pre-race preparations

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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.

Registration/Comrades Expo

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

I strongly 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 finish 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.

Carboloading

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 this properly.

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, carbo-loading, carbohydrates, Low GI, Durban
Internal links: The Comrades Expomental goody bagcamaraderie, driving the route, pit stops, the day before
External links: Official Comrades Marathon website,  Runners World SA



Copyright Nikki Campbell 2008
alsoran@webafrica.org.za