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COMRADES 2019: BACK IN HARNESS

January 9, 2019

Just when you thought it was safe to turn away and think this bloke’s all washed up and finished, it seems I’m back in action. Yes the time has come to commence preparing for another crack at South Africa’s and in many respects the World’s Ultimate Human Race. It’s time to not exactly dust off the training runners, for they’ve got some use since Hobart last year, but it’s time to embrace the painful joints as the real preparation cranks into gear.

Upgrade of a foam roller I hope will assist me to recover from training more effectively

So what has happened since Hobart and now? To be truthful not an awful lot. I was planning to rest for the 6 weeks before the 1st of January this year (it finally feels pretty useful not to have to keep referring to my last Comrades run as this year as opposed to last year) yet I did do the occasional run to not only keep in some sort of running condition but also in an effort to avoid the aches and pains that usually come in the opening weeks of training as muscle groups start to get used to running again.

I’ve also taken to seeking advice from online running platforms provided by the official Comrades coach Lindsay Parry. Whilst getting access to the programs set out will hopefully make it easier for me to prepare not just for the big day in June but also for other events leading in, the fact that I can talk and seek advice from like minded people was also an attraction. If this can help me get through the hard bits of training (even if it won’t necessarily help me wake up in the mornings), then that small investment will be worth it.

In terms of a schedule and plan, the biggest part of January has been confirmed with another full week in Brisbane to prepare. I’m looking at 4-5 run sessions through the week, with January 27 the day I’m at this stage hoping to complete a loop of Mount Coot-tha. Initially it was going to be January 26 as it was planned in the past 2 years (which if you remember were both derailed through a lack of physical conditioning last year, and straying onto unfamiliar trails in 2017). One of those runs will be likely following a little ladder run that I’ve made up even though I’m certain others will have something similar in their planning. It strays from my usual training format in that it revolves around distance rather than time. The key to this plan is the reduction in rest time to make myself work harder the further I go.

LADDER TRAINING PLAN

  • 2km RUN (choose your own pace) + 500m WALK [Running Total: 2.5km]
  • 2km RUN + 400m WALK [4.9km]
  • 2km RUN + 300m WALK [7.2km]
  • 2km RUN + 200m WALK [9.4km]
  • 2km RUN + 100m WALK [11.5km]
  • 2km RUN [13.5km]
  • (Optional) Then follow the same plan in reverse from the 5TH STEP (2km R/100mW) to give you a 25km workout, 23 of which is spent running.

In terms of events I have entered the half marathon at Wangaratta (and hopefully I’ll not only be fit to run it this year, but also I’m hoping to remember my bib), the same Treble Breakwall Buster at Port Macquarie as I did last year and the 50km in Canberra. I’ll also on advice from others be intending to enter the inaugural Cairns marathon in late April, again for training purposes rather than racing it to improve seedings (although if I do get a decent time that allows me to rise up the pecking order, there’s no way I’m going to knock back that opportunity). Fortunately obtaining the qualifying marker in Auckland last year meant I didn’t have to enter the marathon in Wangaratta, which would have certainly compromised my training both in the short and long term.

So far I’ve only done a handful of training runs, with the session on Tuesday 8 January compromised by wet weather. Certainly it’s not the end of the world having to train in the rain, for being prepared to run in any conditions is just part of the planning for marathons even if Comrades is rarely run in the rain. I guess the same will apply when the fog inevitably rolls in for other morning sessions. In any case, so far I’ve been able to overcome the fear of not waking up early enough before work in order to get my training in, and the more I get into a routine the more I feel I can improve my fitness levels AND have the best chance to be successful in June.

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