Training for Comrades
You have to train. There are exceptions, but you are unlikely to be one.
Training is partly about running. The idea is to change your legs, body and the mind that inhabits them
- from getting around every day to be coping with an ultra-marathon;
- maybe from being a marathon or slightly longer runner to being a back-to-back-marathon-plus-a-bit runner;
- also if you are an ultra-marathon or Comrades veteran, to legs and body to get your best out of the run.
Training also changes your life. For five, six or more months of a year, your life has extra focus, more colour and new music. Training lights fires in your blood. Your being glows.
Well, it can if you train right. If it doesn’t it’s simple: you are doing too much or not enough; and what you’re doing you’re not doing right.
Part of the story of training is its mystery.
The Mystery of Training
Always training is mysterious. Partly because of the training myths that hide as much as they reveal – the distance and the paces - that are considered essential to a successful Comrades. Partly because of the equally essential training that isn’t talked about much; training that is essential for your body other than your legs, its muscle and system and particularly for its mind.
Training is also mysterious because you never quite know what the training you do, will or could bring
on the big day. Even when finally you run, when the first rush is over and you sit in the repetitive roll of the Comrades drum, you never quite know what will happen on that long road.
Training in a sense has to be a mystery. We can’t, as for a 10 km maybe, do one a month until you have go it right in the build up and then do even better on your chosen race day. With Comrades you get but one chance a year and even then the route changes, you are a year older, a year more experienced and still you won’t know what the day with bring until its brought.
Even running it, knowing the result has its mystery. Often you might wonder what would have happened if you had pushed more, pushed less, drunk more, had a better qualifying time.
Training at its very best means getting right as many of the ingredients which give you your best chance on race day. It also means getting the most you can out of the effort you put in.
A way through the Comrades training mystery
This then is my venture into the mysteries of training, the paths, markers, direction indicators I encountered, have found, maybe followed, maybe ignored.
It will never be definitive. The book that covers it all will be lots longer than this.
Nor is it prescriptive. A key part of successful training is the extent to which you take control of your training. And not following someone else version of training. This then is written to help taking control of training, maybe inspire or motivate them a little, and help get he most out of the effort f[put into the Comrades Marathon.
You need to run. You need to think about your running. In that order. First run, then think. To run you need shoes and space. You need to know that not running is also training. Rest and recovery from running are just as important as running. In that order. First run, then rest and recover. You can think about running when you are resting and recovering. You can also think about running while you are running.