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ONWARDS TO COMRADES – THE “HIGH MILEAGE” SEASON
by Dave Spence

 

During the next four weeks many a successful “Comrades” is made or lost.  A good April usually means good Comrades! From early May, the training starts to wind down and the mental preparation starts, for the ordeal ahead.

For the next four weeks, I suggest that you:

1.       Set your peak weekly mileage at a realistic level.

A rule of thumb is no more than 90 kilometres per week for a bronze or Bill Rowan medal. Should you be looking t a silver medal, then the maximum would be 120 kilometres a week. Novices and “11-hour” runners should be especially aware of doing excessive weekly distances, as this is also the “high injury” season.

2.       Concentrate of “L.S.D.”

The emphasis of training for bronze medal hopefuls should be shifted from time trials, “fartlek” sessions, hill repeats and track work to rather running “LSD” – Long Slow Distances. This type of training allows the body to adapt to spending longer and longer periods “on your feet”. Typically a long Sunday club run with plenty of time spent standing around chatting during water stops is most beneficial.

3.       Listen to your body.

Don’t be scared to take a day off. Despite the need for high mileage at this time, if you feel tired, unmotivated, sore, “fluey”, lethargic, or generally listless, take a day or even more off. These are all sure signs of overtraining and indicate that your weekly distance expectations were not realistic. Be flexible, cut down on your weekly mileage and build a few more rest days into your training schedule, to allow the body to cope with increased distances.

Daily schedule:

The formula changes to 10 kilometre runs on Tuesdays and Thursdays, a 12 kilometre run on Wednesdays, rest days on Mondays, a medium run on Saturdays, followed by the long run of the week on Sundays. When the Sunday run is particularly long, leave out the Saturday run, and grab that extra rest day. Concentrate now on distance running rather than time on the feet.

Basic Bronze Schedule

Week 1: Week ending: 11/4/10
Monday           Rest
Tuesday          10 km
Wednesday     12 km
Thursday         10 km
Friday              8 km
Saturday         15 km
Sunday            30 km

Week 2: Week ending: 18/4/10
Monday           Rest
Tuesday          10 km
Wednesday     12 km
Thursday         10 km
Friday              8 km
Saturday         15 km
Sunday            25 km

Week 3: Week ending: 25/4/10
Monday           Rest
Tuesday          10 km
Wednesday     12 km
Thursday         10 km
Friday              Rest
Saturday         50 km
Sunday            Rest

Week 4: Week ending: 02/5/10
Monday           5 km
Tuesday          10 km
Wednesday     12 km
Thursday         10 km
Friday              10 km
Saturday         10 km
Sunday            15 km

Notes:

  • Silver medal runners should be running times around 3 hours for the standard marathon or 4:15 for the 56 km. Twice a day training would also be the norm, Tuesday would be fartlek and Thursday hill repeats of about 12 km each and a Wednesday run of 16 km.
  • Bill Rowan medal runners should be running times of 3:45 for the standard marathon or 5 hours for a 56 km. Tuesday runs would be in the form of an 8 km time trial and Thursday runs should be over a hilly course. A Wednesday run of 14 km should be just fine for midweek.
  • All runners should run a standard marathon between now and May 02 so look at your local racing plan and pick your races. The weekend plan in the schedule is merely a guide – depending on where you stay you will have to adjust the programme to cover point 3 above.

During the next 4 weeks the easy part of Comrades training begins. This is the so called taper and peaking phase. You can either perfect your race plan or destroy it in this phase. High mileage is over!

As a guide for the distance lovers – the total weekly km’s in the fourth week before Comrades should be 80% of your average weekly km’s over the past 8 weeks. The third week 75%, second week 50% and the last week 25%. Your last speed session should be 10 days before race day. It is also time to give racing a miss until the big day.

Many of you have asked how to predict your Comrades finishing time. Multiply your marathon PB (in minutes) by 2.42, this will give you your Comrades best finishing time in minutes. Use a current Marathon time!

What medal should I be aiming at?

Vic Clapham

  • Comrades novice – no distance background
  • Can run 50-70 km per week
  • Can only train 5 days per week

Personal Bests

  • 10 km slower than 57 minutes
  • 21.1 km over 02:10:00
  • 42.2 km over 04:30:00

Should result in a Comrades time of 11 – 12 hours

Safe Bronze

  • You are a Comrades novice – without a distance background
  • Second time Comrades’ runner who ran just under cut-off last year
  • Can run 50 – 85 km per week in training
  • Can only train 5 days per week.

Personal Bests

  • 10 km slower than 52 minutes
  • 21.1 km over 02:00:00
  • 42.2 km over 04:05:00

Should result in a Comrades time of 10 – 11 hours

Top Bronze

  • You can train 6 days per week
  • Can run 70 – 95 km per week

Personal Bests

  • 10 km between 48 and 52 minutes
  • 21.1 km between 01:45:00 and 02:00:00
  • 42.2 km between 03:47:00 and 04:05:00

Should result in a Comrades time of 9 – 10 hours

Silver Medal
If you qualify with a sub 3:06 marathon (or a 38 – 40 min. 10 km in May) then you are a borderline silver medallist.

Daily Schedule
Stick to a formula of 10 km runs on Tuesdays, a 12 km run on Wednesday, time trial on Thursday, rest days on Monday, a medium run on Saturdays, followed by an anticipated race pace run on Sundays.

Basic Bronze/Clapham Schedule

Week 5: Week ending: 9/05/10
Monday           Rest
Tuesday          10 km
Wednesday     12 km
Thursday         5 km time trial
Friday              10 km or rest
Saturday         10 - 15 km
Sunday            30 km anticipated race pace

Week 6: Week ending: 16/05/10
Monday           Rest
Tuesday          10 km
Wednesday     12 km
Thursday         5 km time trial
Friday              5 km or rest
Saturday         10 km
Sunday            25 km anticipated race pace

Week 7: Week ending: 23/05/10
Monday           Rest
Tuesday          10 km
Wednesday     12 km
Thursday         5 km time trial
Friday              5 km or rest
Saturday         10 km
Sunday            20 km anticipated race pace

Week 5: Week ending with race – for all runners!
Monday           Rest
Tuesday          5 km
Wednesday     10 km
Thursday         5 km
Friday              Rest
Saturday         2 - 3 km
Sunday            Race

Notes:

  • Silver medal runners should be running times around 3 hours for the standard marathon or 4:15 for 56 km. Twice a day training would also be the norm until the second last week before race day, Tuesday would be fartlek and Thursday hill repeats of about 12 km each and a Wednesday run of 16 km
  • Bill Rowan medal runners’ should be running times of 3:45 for the standard marathon or 5 hours for 56 km. Tuesday runs would be in the form of an 8 km time trial and Thursday runs should be over a hilly course. A Wednesday run of 14 km should be just fine for midweek.

Good luck and may all your goals be realised.