The Mystery of Training

Ultra-training is mysterious. Books, magazines, websites, gurus at the running club who have been to the Oracles Beyond 42.2 km, Beyond 50 miles, 100 miles or To Infinity might have programs or training ideas. None are wrong. All are mysterious.

Training programs

Comrades training is no different. The interpretations of the Oracle of Comrades Many Times, are mysterious. This is partly because of the training myths – the distances you need to cover, the paces you have to run to get a finish or a medal, the interpretation of the “Go hard or go home”, the “Pain is good. Extreme pain is extremly good.” – deepen the mystery. They hide as much if not more than they reveal.

Most programs will set out in detail the kind of runs you need to do, the distances or running times you must achieve and the paces or effort levels you must run.

The first mystery is that they all tell you to run more and faster than you need to.

The second mystery is why they so rarely detail the kind of workouts you need for the rest of your body – the stretching, core muscles, compensation, strengthening exercise, for arms and legs and more

Most unlikely will they details training for the systems inside you that sustain you.

The final mystery is that, if they talk about mental training at all, besides a bit of visualisation here hand there, maybe some pre-race planning and race strategising, one can see that they a groping about in the dark for something they won’t even know if they grab.

Training Outcome

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 the start cannon booms, when the early 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 almost 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 after you have finished, the result you produced 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, recovered better, trained differently.

Need the mystery remain?

Not really. There is an idea that at least starts in training in the right direction.

Training right means getting right the ingredients which give you your best chance on race day.

A way through Comrades training

The posts that follow on training are some of the paths, markers, direction indicators I found, maybe followed, maybe ignored.

They won’t be be definitive or exhaustive. The book that covers it all is long.

Nor will the posts be prescriptive. The way through training requires each runner to take control of their training and make decisions for themselves.

I may have just added to the mystery. But I have aimed this at helping runners take control of their training and their run on the day. The posts may also help inspire or motivate.

They are in the end, aimed at helping those interested get the most out of their Comrades Marathon training.