May is the main training month for Comrades runners, with the first three weeks the peak training period where there will be little time for anything other than running, sleeping, eating and working. For the rest of the time the focus should be on recovery.
Although the training volume has increased it is important to keep the quality sessions to maintain that gear box of speed you have developed over the past months and to maintain the total blood volume. It is this combination that determines you ability over the 86.94km course as opposed to how many long runs you aim to do.
Long runs really only provide the benefits of an enhanced energy production at comrades pace, enhance enzyme action and train our leg muscles in the running movement. To gain maximum benefit this has to be done at Comrades pace or slower – so a 3;40 marathoner should run the longer runs around 6 minutes per km or SLOWER even although he or she is capable of running faster and does marathons at 5:16 per km. Isn’t it ironic that most runners find it more difficult to run slower in their long runs than they do to run fast in the quality sessions. It says alot about our ego’s and how we allow ourselves to be swayed by what we think others think.
Those runners who have opted to do lots of long runs over the past months (and not follow the charts) are probably feeling a bit jaded by now. Dont despair: Take the bulls by the horn and – ignore others – and take a very easy week for one week, doing only the quality sessions and then return to the schedule. The chances are you need more recovery not more training.
Fit is as much recovery as you can – have early nights, minimise the emotional stress of overtime, and other worries, and schedule in some massages not just on the legs but also your back.
Another great recovery technique is to sleep in compression clothing. Training is a very mild form of injury so compression clothing is a perfect fit with the concept of RICE. Rest Ice Compression and Elevation. While icing your legs straight after training will help, sleeping in compression tights is a major boon and of course when you sleep you get rest and elevation -all the ingrdients to ensure you are ready for the next session. Continuing this during the taper will let you gain the full benefit from your training.
Some other advice to assist you in your final preparation:
- Book or buy your copy of The Mercury Newspaper on Friday 16 May for the Aquelle Comrades Preparation supplement
- Book your place on the Final Preparation Seminar at Kings Park Sports Medicine Clinic on 19 May at 18:30. Medical staff and Norrie Williamson will take you through everythign you need to know for the final 4 weeks before Comrades. These are FREE (and there is over R1000 of lucky draw prizes) but you must book your place on 031 3033874
- Suffering from injury – Book an appintment at the Kings Park Sports Medicine Clinic with Norrie to analyze and address the cause of the injury 031 3033874. (Bookings limited to particular saturday mornings) Runners around the country can make bookings for when Norrie is in your area through Karin@coachnorrie.co.za or by fax on 0866708547
- Use Norrie’s Comrades Calculator to predict your finish time and to get pacing advice and pacing wrist bands for race day – link thorugh the home page or go through www.comrades.co.za
- Listen to the weekly Witness Comrades Preparation Podcast presented by LineBreak compression and performance clothing on www.witness.co.za – look for the downlaod logo in the sports pages.
And whatever you do stay away from the colds and flu !!!!