Only hours remain until Sunday’s 2019 Witness Maritzburg Marathon, half Marathon and 10km races.

(the advice is useful for the final 72 hours before other marathons)

Although your POTENTIAL finishing time has been cast in stone, your ability to turn potential into reality is a totally volatile concept with only YOU in total control.

Even the fittest of athletes can destroy their race in these final hours, if they don’t keep focus on the objective.

There are just so many ways of undermining your goal, or really ‘stuffing’ up your race. Avoid the mistakes by focusing, and being disciplined about the game plan.


It is vital to get the logistics correct over the two remaining days: Here are some key reminders:

Of course, if you / your club have not yet bought the 2019 licenses then you are required to buy a 2019 temporary license and this is then worn on the front with the ASA branded upper visible.

NOTE: Any runner using the 2018 license will be disqualified and even if they are looking for a qualifying performance it will not be given or allowed for Comrades and Two Oceans.


The weather prediction is for scattered thunder storms and showers for the weekend with an overnight low of 18 degrees, which could be an advantage for good times.

That prediction may not suit spectators but would be ideal if it dropped to being lighter rain during the run after the start. This is particularly true for those who know they are going to be pushed to squeeze under 4 hours 50 minutes.

The weather is an uncontrollable and if you are racing for position, we take salvage in knowing it’s the same for everyone, but for the majority of runners the key is to mentally prepare for all conditions and think of it more along the lines of “Adapt or Die!”

Final Training day today:

(the day prior to the race)

Although as you read this, a couple of hundred runners will be cutting routes and stomping around the banks of the Duzi in the trail races, the training for Sunday’s races is done, with the exception of a very easy, low intensity 20-30 minute jog and 2-3 accelerations from a jog to fast over 80-100metres today.

The sole purpose of this is to cajole the body from the rest day, and hibernation, of Friday into a level of readiness so that tomorrow morning you are activated and ready to go!

Warm up:

The body works best when there is a gradual increase in the level of exercise: This is a fact and the usual suggestion that runners will “use the first couple of kilometres to ease into it” is totally lost with the loud blast of the start cannon.

Instead give yourself your best chance by having a formal warm up from 40 minutes before the start.

Commence with a very easy jog for 1 minute then walk 1 minute, now slightly faster for 2 minutes and a walk for 1 minute, now 3 minutes very easy and 1 min walk and finally 4 minutes easy pace with a 2 minute walk followed by 2-4 short pick up as accelerations .. This will take 15-20 minutes then head directly to your seeding pen at the start.  – Now you are ready…


Make sure you have collected your pacing information that was published in last weekend’s Witness or from the website.

Base you chosen target time on the equivalent marathon target time as given in the table below and your times over shorter race distances. Again a table of times versus performance was given in last week’s pacing charts

Do NOT try to run a faster time than your ability as this is a sure way to end up walking or battling over the final 8-10km

The ideal pacing is actually even effort NOT even pace…

The pacing tables that have been provided are calculated by Coachnorrie take into account the hills and drops along the route.

Equivalent PB marathon  to get Seeding for Comrades
Seeding and qualifying time 4:50 4:40 4:20 4:00 3:40 3:20 3:00
equivalent PB marathon 4:40 4:26 4:09 3:51 3:32 3:14 2:55

Run and Walk:

The best way to be able to pace is to mix running and walking – The walks are only 60-90 seconds (equating to around 80-120 metres) but these allow for partial recovery of effort and in doing so helps with the way the marathon is run.

It also splits the race into smaller steps, and this is psychologically easier to manage than constantly thinking that there are 42, then 41, then 40 km to go..

Picture running 7 x 6km intervals with 60-90 sec walk recovery and this is easier than looking at a block of 42.2km


Finally, hydration:

As a guide allow 100ml of fluid for every 10 minutes of running. For most adults, this is simply 4-5 swallows of water for every 10 minutes of running.

First work out what your average pace will be between the water points, then see how many swallows are required.

For example: if you target a 3:30 marathon which is 5 minutes per km which means passing a water table at roughly 15-minute intervals. This will require around 150ml of fluid to keep hydrated and this equates to around 6-7 swallows per table.

With all your planning in place and a clear race day regime you are now ready to do your best in tomorrow’s Witness Maritzburg Marathon – Have a Great Race …

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