2014 is a distant memory and with two and a half months down in 2015 the tone has been set for my Comrades preparation.
The Meiklejohn family enjoyed a well deserved holiday doing a road trip to Cape Town, I managed to sneak a run in most days enjoying the change of scenery in Grahamstown, Port Elizabeth, Knysna, Rondebosch, including a couple of Parkruns to try keep the tempo up. The holiday was rounded off with a week in Ballito to recover from all the driving. I was pleasantly surprised to log 4,039 km’s for the 2014 year, no really big weeks, just consistent running.
I kicked off 2015 with the normal season opener, the Ronnie Davel 16km race, run through the streets of Hilton but predominately in the surrounding forests. My time of 66:44 was good enough to win the masters category and finish just outside the top 10 overall. More importantly my time was only 10 seconds slower than 2014.
I chose not to race again in January and finished the month on 405 km. In February I had a steady to hard effort at the NOSA Hillcrest 21km where I managed 84:45 and 2nd master. A week later I was off to East London for my 3rd appearance in the Discovery Surfers Marathon, a 17km race on beach sand, rocks, tar roads and a few river crossings to add to the fun! The wind was howling so much that the organizers cancelled the surf ski part of the event as a safety precaution, having lost a paddler in similar conditions a few weeks prior to the event. It was tough especially with the headwind but the party atmosphere more than made up for it afterwards.
With 345 km done in February and 750 km for the year to date, I felt I was sufficiently prepared to tackle the revived Durban City Marathon with 4 mins/km as my goal, given my lack of speedwork it was always going to be tough. Conditions were not ideal, a flat and humid course was a great test of character but I stuck to my plan and grafted a 2:48:48 out and was more than satisfied with my result, 1st Master and 38th overall.
My plan most years is to prepare for a hard marathon late February, then a steady Two Oceans, steady training in April with increased mileage and then a taper in May leading up to Comrades. The volume and intensity definitely not as intense as when I was running competitively, the emphasis now being on consistency and uninterrupted training.
Train sensibly over the next couple of months, listening out for tell tale signs of injury or illness, when in doubt back off rather than force the issue, a conservative approach will always produce a better result at Comrades especially if it means you avoid a serious injury or setback in your preparation.
Take care and happy running