May is the month when all we seem to do is run, work, sleep, and eat. It is the heaveiest training month and determines the overall fitness level.

The temptation is to think that means we must do more and more long runs, but that is not the case. In fact too many runners put in too many long runs at this time and generally the 60km plus club run is totally unnecessary. The benefit of a long run is to enhance the energy system for that pace, enhance muscles enzymes and improve and train the muscels used at that pace. This can all be acheived in relatively short periods up to around 2 1/2 to 3 hours. The key however is to run them at Comrades pace or SLOWER. Most runners run the long run too fast so never get the full benefit of the long run. Should they reallyu be surprised that their muscles are fatigued and cramp on Comrades day when they fail to train at Comrades pace in the build up?

So a 3:40 marathoner races marathons at 5:16 per kilometre and should train for Comrades at 6:00 minutes and SLOWER per km in serach of his or her Bill Rowan medal.
The other benefit of the long run is Psychological, and while that might be understandable with novices the more Comrades and Two Oceans you have run the fewer the long runs you require.
If you are already feeling jaded take an easy week – do only the quality sessions which will keep you on yur toes, give you a light feeling and maintain your blood volume. These are the things that will get you through Comrades then start back to the schedule the folloiwng week.

The other main focus for this time is recovery. We think of RICE when we are injured and the same concept is essential in recovery. Rest Ice Compression and Elevation.
LineBreak, and Australian manaufacturer of Compression Clothing have research that proves that compression clothing can not only improve circulation and reduce muscle vibration therefore reducing muscle damage, but also that it improves the physiology during exercising and hence your performance.  Was it coincidence that the Liquorice Man ran his best times when dressed up in the tights and top of the allsorts outfit? I think not.

Those who spend time flying can benefit from wearing compression clothing under their normal clothes (as many professional rugby players do) and every sports person can benefit from sleeping in compression clothing as it provides and enhances recovery to let you prepare for the next training session. (see and why superman wears tights on this home page)
There are several additional sources of advice this month:

What ever you do this month – take care – and stay well away from Illness colds and flu!!!!

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