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COMRADES 2020 – BRISBANE WEEK TRAINING REPORT

January 31, 2020

Certainly it has been a heavy week in terms of how the preparations for not only Comrades 2020, but also the lead up events with it now being under a month before Wangaratta comes around. I guess preparing for a full marathon rather than the usual half has seen me lift my game in terms of hard work, but there’s part of me who isn’t all that satisfied with how the training has been. It’s not necessarily a bad thing either, after all there’s nothing wrong with wanting things to improve knowing the past hasn’t gone as well as hoped.

SUNDAY JANUARY 26: GYM SESSION

One of the positives from this week was booking the right accommodation for the week, which this time has seen me stay in the Ridge Apartment Hotel. Sure the cooking facilities could have been better but at least I can cook my own meals there, and unlike other places I’ve booked there was an on facility small gym and pool to utilise. In some ways it saved me time and money by not having to take a train to the Gold Coast for a beach recovery….anyway upon arriving I decided a short gym session would be sufficient for the Australia Day holiday. Usually I’d plan to run up around Mount Coot-Tha or something similar but landing at lunchtime on Sunday can alter plans accordingly. It was nothing flash compared to other gym junkies, with the session consisting of 25 minutes on the bike followed by 25 minutes on the cross trainer, and a few leg presses at increasing weights.

MONDAY JANUARY 27: AFTERNOON RUN

A short and sweet 10km was all I had planned for on the Monday, although my lazy sleepy butt meant the morning session was turned into an afternoon set. Probably the greatest challenges were using my new race shoes for the first time, and deciding which side of the story bridge I was going to cross the river on (I chose the side heading outbound from the city, running to my right hand side). The shoes felt OK on the right foot, but was tight on the left leaving my big toe sore (I’m guessing there’s a blister under the nail, it has happened before but I haven’t attempted to pop it yet) and some blistering on the heal which is still recovering from the work boots creating similar problems. Despite this I described this day on Strava as a “Reasonable” follow up to the gym work.

TUESDAY JANUARY 28: GYM AND POOL

Decided a lunchtime gym session was in order, and with the place to myself I was able to get a little bit more done weight wise. Again I started with 25 minutes on the bike before hitting the machines with leg extensions and leg presses (3 sets of 15 per weight, with a couple of increases in weights). To try to have some recovery time for the legs and perhaps to provide some balance, I did some overhead pull downs at the same weights as the leg extensions (sets of 10). The upper body does get sore when exerting big efforts and with the arms as much needed as the legs to propel up the hills (yes it’s a down run but there’s still enough climbing before the mega downhill in the last third of the race). With a single 500m set on the rowing machine all I could manage, the pool suddenly looked inviting although the water was a lot warmer than anticipated. Managed to wade in there and keep moving for about 45 minutes or so before retiring for the day.

WEDNESDAY JANUARY 29: ABORTED RUN THAT CHANGED THE PLANNING

It was all set to be a great day, covering the long distance in reasonable time run at a reasonable hour. Instead it turned out to be a wasted opportunity and frustration. The plan was to either do a Coot-Tha lap, or do a loop incorporating the University of Queensland campus at St.Lucia and Highgate Hill. It was going to be an early wake up, get everything done by 7:00-7:30, then chill for the rest of the day.

What ended up happening was nothing of the sort. It was a late wake up and a mid afternoon start when the day was reasonably warm by the standards of training days this year. Things were going OK for the first 3km…..then I had a little difficulty breathing. After slowing down a little I was able to do a few more kilometres until the upper leg around the groin area in the right leg started feeling sore. There are days when pushing through the pain barrier can be and should be done, but late January for a goal race in June isn’t that time. The run was aborted about 7km in, although for some reason I waddled another few kilometres to a CityCat stop (basically like a ferry) to get back to the city. Later I probably realised that wearing so much compression gear was likely a hindrance rather than an aid, so now wearing what amounts to 2 pairs of compression tights and a knee brace under the patella strap, even if it supports the left knee, probably isn’t a great idea.

THURSDAY 30 JANUARY: SORT OF THE PLAN BUT SHORT OF TOTAL SATISFACTION

With yesterday’s “failure” still fresh in the mind, I knew I had to get some big kilometres in before heading back home. Again a late wake up meant that it would be a late afternoon Highgate loop via St.Lucia, yet the run was very stop start. It took nearly 8 minutes to get to the river walk thanks to the numerous crossings needed to be negotiated within the city, and it also proved to be a headache at the end of Highgate Hill although by that stage the respite may have been more beneficial.

Basically the session was not the continuous run that would have helped for Wangaratta and Port Macquarie, but it did give me some answers on how I might contend in South Africa as well as finding a few answers on what the limits are at this stage on tired legs. Getting to just over 18km to some would seem a nice day’s work, particularly for a midweek run when most of the long runs are done on the weekend. To me I wanted to get to 21km to show mentally I can get to halfway even if it wasn’t easily with Wangaratta in mind. It was good to get as far as I did, particularly in light of the stopping and starting but it leaves me looking for a big weekend. Hopefully I’ll be up early enough Saturday to pull the triple header of Easy run to Parkrun, the 5km of Parkrun, and an easier finish to wind down from Parkrun.

 

On the whole it was infinitely more successful than last year in so many ways (accommodation, distances, workload) and with tomorrow unlikely to see any training whatsoever, the official final kilometre count for January will be 184 kilometres which to my knowledge would be as big a workload as I’ve had ever in just training distance for a month. Next month will probably see just as many training kilometres (hopefully) given that Wangaratta is a training run. Logistically things are in place to get down there, getting back is the next item on the agenda which will need to be sorted out next week.

Speaking of travel, there has been a flight cancellation out of Abu Dhabi which has necessitated an itinerary change and a plan alteration. Now I’ll be leaving Australia on the Monday, travelling from Brisbane to Sydney rather than direct to Abu Dhabi, then connecting into Johannesburg for an 8AM arrival on Tuesday Morning. At this stage I have a room booked in Jo’Burg although I may even look to again alter the Durban booking to arrive on Tuesday rather than Wednesday (which I hope won’t annoy the motel). I have plenty of time to make up my mind so I can concentrate on more pressing travel arrangements instead.

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