With just 2 weeks to go, those of us running Comrades need to be preparing ourselves for the challenge that lies ahead. The running continues, and although we are well into our taper it’s vital not to slack off too much that your body forgets what you’ve been teaching it and preparing it for the past 10 – 12 weeks. Your mileage should be dropping, but keep at least 2 sessions in the week for some form of quality workout, tempo, time trial or intervals, right up until the final week leading up to the race. In that last week beginning on Monday, run 70, 60 & 50 minute easy/moderate effort runs and rest completely on the Thursday, Friday & Saturday. If you really want to and it’s something you have tried before, do an extremely light 20 – 25 minute jog on Saturday just as a muscle memory jogger.
During the final few days leading up to race day drink lots of fluids and even a carbohydrate sports drink like 32Gi Endure. 750 ml in the morning and evening, that way we ensure that we line up properly hydrated for the event.
Cutting back on mileage and even having a rest day like I am enjoying today, you will find that there is way more time to think and get excited about the big day that is getting closer every minute of the day. That is where the other important component of our preparation comes into play. I know I have mentioned it before but I can’t emphasize enough how important mental preparation is in an ultra event like Comrades, it can be the difference between success and failure, a good run or a bad run.
This being my 30th running of Comrades I have lots of experiences to fall back on to build up my confidence going into the race, but also being very aware that it doesn’t just happen on the day. The race must be tackled with the respect it deserves, being extremely cautious not to get carried away in the first half and to concentrate really hard on what you have set as your goal and the strategy you have laid down to achieve that goal. There has been lots of work that has gone into every single one of my Comrades and this year I’ve been extremely blessed to have come back from injury in 2017, and at the end of May I will have 2,500 km of training under the belt, reason enough to convince myself that, failing anything unforeseen, I should be in shape to have a solid run. The pre-race mental preparation being covered, how do we cope when we’re in the last third of the race and the chips are down? This is really where your mental strength comes into play and you dig deep and fall back on all the positives in your training, racing & strength of character to talk yourself through those bad patches, knowing in your heart that tough patches don’t last, tough runners do!!
Talking about things being tough, I realize that all of us go through tough times in our lives. I often think that I am battling with issues but when I look around there are so many folk that have things way tougher than I do to deal with, so I get on with my stuff and deal with it knowing that my ability to deal with these things will make me stronger in the long run. In my previous blog I briefly mentioned Piet Vorster and that I would like to dedicate my run to the memory of Piet and use that memory to draw strength from on race day. I would still like to do that but I would encourage all other runners on race day to remember other loved ones that have been lost recently and that were special to them. In the first few months of 2018 three other Comrades runners were lost to us – Simpiwe Ndlela, Vusi Msibi, and Petros Sosibo, who sadly passed away under various circumstances and will be sorely missed by family and friends.
Good luck with the final countdown, stay safe, train sensibly, keep warm & stay healthy and may the 2018 Comrades edition be a special one for all that have the privilege to be a part of.
Sport doesn’t create character, it just reveals it!
Shaun #6845 #30