Comrades 2019



  • Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions guys. 

    Lowrez - interesting to read it’s doable on marathon training. I’m assuming you’re talking 60 to 70 mile weeks when you say this? I must admit that given the way I am, I’d want to a bit more than that though and it’d be very tough to fit in.

    Max -good to know the plan worked well for you.

    McHilly - I’m assuming you did the fifteen miles on the Saturday and the marathon on the Sunday? I think that would crush me.

    Your enthusiasm is infectious and it’s something I’d love to do one day. Just not sure about 2019 the way the next 12 months are going to be.

    Thanks again!

  • 1owrez1owrez ✭✭✭
    edited June 2018

    Hi LT, I'd love to get that kind of mileage in, but no, I'm talking about achieving a sub 12 hour Comrades finish off of 25 to 40 miles per week. The low end would be your typical "step back" week where you'd only do a half marathon on the weekend and the top end would be where you do a full marathon on the weekend, mid week you would only run on two nights, a 5 miler and a 7 miler. Again, I'm not recommending that as a viable Comrades plan, it is far too low in my opinion, but it's all I can get in currently, and I even punted at a sub 11 off of that this year having a fair old crack but faded to 11:55 in the end. Still well pleased with that.

    If you can put something above that kind of training in during the next 12 months I'd say an up run is a good time to give it a go, its a lot gentler on the frame than hammering down those hills in the opposite direction.

  • Morning All, 

    Looking at qualification races for later this year, they need to be after September  and reasonably close by, any suggestions? 

    I'll have the Thames Meander available in November,  also Bournemouth and Chelmsford in October and Abingdon is full (no change) but am I missing anything else worth trying?

  • Jar - you're not far from me. There's Richmond run festival on September 12th I think. Might do it myself but it's not that far off and I'd quite like to do some speed work and get a bit quicker
  • Running RodentRunning Rodent ✭✭✭
    edited June 2018
    JAR - Portsmouth in December. It’s not super-fast because bits of it are path rather than road, but it is dead flat.
  • Back home this morning. Did park Run in Rietvlei, Johannesburg on Saturday and was limping for the rest of the day and walking like a penguin again. The hips recovered by the next day but I'm still keeping an eye on my toenail and blister which are both still giving me gyp :(

    Debra - Can you not do those 50 milers and Comrades? Surely you did more than that this year.

    Becca - Lucky 7 indeed. I know you didn't get your sub 10 but sure you'll be back on track next year. Look after yourself. No more falling over.

    Little Theodor - Welcome. It's a great race, though clearly not an easy day! I used the bronze training plans on the website (though am a sub 12hour person). Last year I converted to miles and this year ran to time. This year I only ran 1 marathon race, the rest of my runs were done solo near me as nothing fitted in close by. My mileage was also not high, maxing out one week at 60 but more weeks around 40 so its certainly doable. Whats your marathon time and experience at running? I also went from marathon to Comrades

    If you want to go sub 11 what would realistically be a good marathon time? I need to do a bit of speedwork. I've only run 1 pace for the last 2 years.
  • Becca7Becca7 ✭✭✭
    Snail, if my times are anything to go by a sub 4 should get a comfortable sub 11.
  • Oh well. That won’t happen then  :(
  • evening.. We have booked out accommodation again for Durban  :)
  • marty74marty74 ✭✭✭
    JAR - My planned qualifier is Chester in early October. Plan to bimble round in about 3.30 if you fancy company :D
  • Mc Hilly: Belaire booked... I'll see what happens next. Yes, I ran Thousand Hills parkrun. One fall (that sharp right hand bend at the end of the first long downhill section - I have some minor scrapes and bruises on my left knee and forearm respectively) and one diversion where I was so busy watching where I was putting my feet that I missed the arrow pointing us back uphill for the first time. Very pleased that I did it (lowest ever non-injured parkrun age grade percentage!) and extremely pleased I ddin't run it the day before Comrades - amazing that you did! I'd love to run it again in my proper trail shoes.
  • 1owrez1owrez ✭✭✭

    Ooo Chester? That's my local marathon, or is it Liverpool? Or is it Manchester? Ha ha! I qualified at Chester in 2016! Won't be up to 3:30 though. How can you "bimble" a 3:30? Don't you need oxygen and nitrous oxide to go that fast?

    Snail, lets wreck the stats, I bet we can run a sub 11 off of 4:40 :)

  • marty74marty74 ✭✭✭
    Just cakes lowrez :D
  • So Debra....... Belaire booked and you want to run 1000 hills again. You'll be there next year  :)

    lowrez - so apparently it's what your capable of and not what you actually run. So maybe with some speed training and more endurance who knows :):)
  • 1owrez1owrez ✭✭✭

    Ahh Marty, that makes complete sense now :)

    SS; you're on your own; I'm on The Marty Plan!

  • Little Theodor: the Comrades training plans are definitely worth a serious consideration - I basically followed one last year. This year I was running a lot of shorter ultras (50-60K-ish) and one 100-miler so I didn't follow a plan at all but averaged about 60 miles/week (less on drop-down weeks). There are other plans available - this one is for 50-mile events:

  • 1owrez1owrez ✭✭✭
    Seeing if I can get into Glorious Gargrave marathon for Sunday :) need to keep the  wheels spinning in the run up to C"C! 
  • Thanks for the race suggestions all.  I might do Portsmouth Coastal Waterside this year actually but not as a qualifier more because its a good headstart for 6 months of training - nothing better than enjoying Christmas dinner knowing you're only eating so much due to recovery (had the pleasure of meeting PG3 and Mac3 for the first time during 2015's race)  

    SS - I see Richmond has sold out but great suggestion!  Chester is a real option...supposed to be a quick course.

    I've just downloaded the .tcx for the old Greensand marathon route so I'll build that into training for next year,  Box HIll is close to home.

    Please ignore the below if you bored by numbers but I've been spending time on excel crunching my garmin data for 2018 vs 2016 and I've worked out that compared to my last down run,  this year's training had:
    15% less runs
    23% less mileage
    38% less elevation 

    This year I missed 4 hilly races in the run up to Comrades 2018 (two of which may be no more) and that would have reduced the deficit however I did less weekend long runs and tried to fill the weekly volume by adding more medium distance mid-week efforts.  In retrospect I probably didn't get the full endurance/CV benefit of my long runs and explains my lack of 'lung capacity' running at speeds I was previously comfortable with.  Lack of structure and some laziness around core and plyo work kind of sums up this year.   

    The good news is that suffering during race day worked to aid my motivation for next year.  

    Sorry for the wordy post but if I commit to it here then I can' take it back!!  :# 

  • 1owrez1owrez ✭✭✭
    Damn it JAR - OK I will drop off Marty's Cake Plan and knuckle down a bit! 
  • re-read it Lowrez.....cake was clearly implied  :D 
  • 1owrez1owrez ✭✭✭
    edited June 2018
    Aha I see it now, the typo; 'I can cake it back'
  • JAR - well I'm obviously not doing Richmond if its sold out. As a matter of interest, with all the above data, what were your times for 2016 compared to 2018.

    As I really don't know whether to run Comrades again I really don't know whether to book an autumn marathon.
  • marty74marty74 ✭✭✭
    I keep trying to persuade people to my way of thinking which involves lots of cake. Most people laugh at me and think its wrong but i think i need to test my theory some more to see if it works.... :)
  • 1owrez1owrez ✭✭✭

    SS, in that case you need to run the Goodwood Marathon, same day, flat as a pancake, Mr SS will love the day out, and you will ace a Comrades qualifier. I would threaten to run it with you but its too close to another event I already have booked.

    As for whether to run Comrades again or not; have you looked around for similar events? All road, with support tables every 2k. The kind of distance run you can treat just like a 5k because you don't need to step over the start line with anything other than your kit on. Run in a country so enthusiastic it is shown on TV live for 12 hours, where the crowds adore you, where the country stand still in awe of what you can achieve. A road where the collective will of the spectators carries you all day. A run, where, when you tell mere mortals what you have done their eyes light up and they melt into wonder of your god like abilities... A run you just have to do next year or you will look back regretting the opportunity you turned away from for the rest of your life.

  • 1owrez1owrez ✭✭✭
    And a run where the training is so demanding that you can eat as much cake as you like to no detriment of your health whatsoever.
  • That Goodwood marathon looks great Lowrez...didn't have that on my radar....imagining following the racing line for 8 laps would be a nice way of passing time.  

    Marty - my wife decorates cake occasionally, they're often involved with various tasty cut-offs often stockpiled high in the fridge.   I eat more than my kids do and I can still beat them in a foot race  - I think that's conclusive enough.  

    SS - I ran 9:18 in 2016  my best prep out of the 4  -it wasn't perfect but it's the best I have to compare to.   I also enjoyed having a very motivated training partner that year which helped me immensely - never easy doing 6 months of training mostly on your own.

  • Munchkin2Munchkin2 ✭✭✭

    Hi Guys,

    Comrades is on my "to do" list and I am seriously considering giving it a go next year.

    I have done a trail ultra (53miles) and a road ultra (50km) and have another trail ultra coming up so this distance is not as scary as it could be. However, I am not fast! I can do a sub-5hr marathon (usually around 4.45) but is a sub 5 hour marathon realistic to meet the timings for Comrades or will it be very tight?

    I may have to work on speed before entering if it is not realistic...


  • Southern Snail - thanks for the welcome and information. My current marathon best is 3:04 set in April on a hilly, undulating course. I also have a 3:06 from November and have done 6 marathons though never run beyond that distance. It’s quite a big ask but I’d like to break 3 hours in November or next spring and that will probably be my main focus next season. Having said that, I’ve just had a look at flights to Durban....

    Debra - thanks for the validation of the ‘offical’ training plans. It’s always good to hear from someone who’s used them. Thanks also for posting the link.
  • 1owrez1owrez ✭✭✭

    Munchkin, sneaking a sub5 marathon is entirely realistic to achieve Comrades; for my first attempt I qualified in Cape Town on 4:59:44 (I forget the actual number of seconds I had left, think it was 16), it was an up run that time too and I completed in 11:52, my pb! That was a very measured run aimed at safely taking all the time available to achieve the goal. In training I did zero speed work, but I did run long every weekend, final long run was 28 miles 3 weeks prior to the big day. With your ultra experience I would expect you to cope adequately with completing Comrades, it is of course a big challenge, but you should gobble it up :)

    LT if you did plump to run Comrades next year I'm not sure that attempting to break 3 hours in the spring would be advisable. You need a good build up without over stressing yourself in the lead in to the big day.

  • Becca7Becca7 ✭✭✭
    Theodore, the general advice is not to race a marathon any later than February in the build-up to Comrades but I think that that is if Comrades is the main focus.  There are some who have raced London or Paris and still done well at Comrades.  If the sub 3 is the focus you would clearly have the pace for a decent Comrades finish.  I got my marathon PB in the build-up to Comrades and still got my fastest Comrades time but the main issue is getting enough recovery and I think I would have been faster at Comrades if I'd not gone after sub 3:30.  
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