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COMRADES 2018: BRISBANE TRAINING WEEK, WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN AND WHAT WILL BE

January 27, 2018

It’s not often that I’m able to take an entire week off work to concentrate on the running side of things. Usually training has to fit around when I’m working, whether my shift begins early morning as it does next month for a couple of weeks, lunchtime or mid afternoon. It’s not an easy task to either set an alarm early enough to get up to do a training run OR stay awake long enough to have a run before sleeping through the dead of the morning. This iswhy this week is generally one I look forward to, even if the early morning wake up calls remain.

The planning often goes out the window for these types of training weeks and this week was no different. Fortunately I was able to achieve a back to back training block simulating what may happen on the day when it comes to walking breaks. Tuesday saw me break up a 10km effort into 4 parts each consisting of 2.5km. Of those the first 2km was a run/jog/sprint before taking a 500 metre walk break as many would do on race day. As a runner it can be hard to fathom why I would need to incorporate a walk break into training but when it comes to race day in South Africa the mind will always want to keep you running and leave you exhausted for when you need the energy. Hence the need to try to train as though this were a race.

Wednesday saw me almost achieve all of what I had wanted to accomplish. The plan was to cover either 15km or 90 minutes incorporating Highgate Hill and the nearby University of Queensland campus in St.Lucia. What saw the time go a little longer than anticipated was a toilet break about 10km in, and a couple of stops to allow traffic to pass. Sure it can be frustrating waiting for a car to go through or traffic lights to change (particularly when you’re under 500 metres to the goal distance) but not all of the roads are like running along the bike track constructed several years ago along the Brisbane River. Still I was pleased to get through the 15km even if some of it included walking uphill.

After a planned recovery day on the Thursday (where I almost lost my phone, left it in a toilet and somehow it was still there about 90 minutes later), I thought everything was all systems go for the big Friday loop heading up and down Mt.Coot-tha. It started reasonably well enough but I sensed the legs weren’t going to be cooperating not too far into the run. Perhaps it was the fact I was running with both knees braced where I normally just protect the right. Maybe the recovery from Wednesday wasn’t as good as it should have been, for my quads were still fairly sore before the start. Whatever it was I had to pull the pin on the planned run just 4km into the day, much to my disappointment and regret. I even thought momentarily that I could try again today (Saturday) but sleep and other plans the previous night put paid to those plans.

At least in terms of training I’m well ahead of last year. I’ve now covered in excess of 92km for the month with a few days (and at least 2 more training sessions to come). The plan for February will be to increase the amount of uphill and downhill running particularly in the shorter training sessions whilst increasing the distance and time on the longer runs. There will be a slight easing off leading up to the half marathon in Wangaratta on the last Sunday of the month, for I’m hoping to go as quickly as the 1:53 I did last year.

Which brings me to Friday night, and doing what was arguably the hardest part of the whole Comrades journey, booking the flights to get me to and from Durban. This year I decided to splash a little more cash whilst departing a day earlier than 2017 (which was a Wednesday for a mid morning Thursday arrival). Instead of commuting via Perth like so many others do I’ve decided to commute this year via Singapore, arriving in Durban on Wednesday morning. The return trip is to Adelaide (footy is on that Thursday night) which means that I will have a lengthy 17 hour stopover at Changi to negotiate (as well as entering customs in Cape Town rather than Johannesburg), although at least I’ve read there are many options that will take up the time before arriving ranging from tours, movies, airport lounges and even transit hotels that won’t need me to clear customs. Hopefully it will be $2000 well spent, for I could have been boring, conservative and $600 better off if I went the standard route. Maybe I’m starting to live life a little!

As for the course whose details were released yesterday (Friday) as well,it’s something I’m going to have to embrace rather than fear. 90 is a nice round number to remember but for me the important numbers are yet to be confirmed. Race plans will likely revolve around when the mid race cut off is and knowing how much energy I can afford to save knowing the the few uphill kilometres after the Drummond mid point will be the make or break point. I’m anticipating actually running the announced finish route on race day (well I have to show some form of positive language) and entering the stadium, so I guess I had better prepare myself for it.

 

STRAVA STATS TO END OF 26 JANUARY (NOTE: Stats exclude cross training/footy training distances which are not recorded)
DISTANCE COVERED: 93km [DOWN 3.3km compared to 2017]
ACTIVE TIME: 8 Hours 54 Minutes [DOWN 25 minutes]
ELEVATION GAIN: 1073m [UP 126 metres]

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