Comrades 2013

For all Comrades, south Africa 2013 runners & those wanting to know more

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29/04/2013 at 12:36

Catching up on the running events for everyone, a lot going on as expected, good stuff.

Emily I'm following the Don Oliver Bronze programme too. If you look at the archives for part up run years, i.e. 2011, he puts up 'Final Race Day Tips' with times you should be at for each 10k split (based on a desired finishing time)

I was planning to use this go give me a pace for each of these chunks. I thought this was a bit of a compromise between monitoring k splits ("no way" ) and no splits. These times are supposed to take account of walking / slower pace on the hillier sections.

Would be interested if anybody else used these to good effect in the past.

29/04/2013 at 12:40

Thanks everyone for comments regarding NSAIDS. I don't think I'll bother with using any. I've never used them in the past, so I don't think it would be wise to start now! Especially with the possible complications.

Piers........I think I was one of those anti-clockwise runners you kept passing in Richmond Park on Sunday. There were quite a few runners I noticed doing laps with Camelbaks on.

Viggy.....I'm with you in not wanting to wait 40km to start eating solids. In my long run on Sunday I'd only packed gels with me and was feeling quite nauseous after 20 miles, so I stopped in a cafe in the park and had a sausage baguette. I was shocked how much better I felt after eating this, especially as I ran straight after finishing it.

Possum Hopper........I'm also doing the 3 Forts Marathon this coming Sunday. I'm actually looking forward to being tested by some proper hills for the first time in my training.

I managed to get insurance that covers me for running. i needed to get insurance with the safari I'm doing before the race, so it made sense to extend it for Comrades race as well. I think it only cost about £25 for the 10 days I'm out there. I can give you more details if you wanted?

I managed just short of 55km in 5hrs 40mins on Sunday, which is the longest I've ever ran in my life. Feeling a bit more confident about Comrades now getting that out of the way. I was hoping to up to 60km, but needed to finish for a certain time due to other commitments.

This has left me thinking.....I'm tempted to do a 60km slow, slow run/ walk about 2-1/2 weeks before Comrades. as my last long slow run. Is this too close to the race? I was going to use an easier route as well. I'm worried that due to my Asics Target 26.2 training for Paris, I haven't spent enough time on my feet in the long runs and could benefit from a shorter taper by squeezing an extra long run in. I feel pretty good after yesterday's run and not that achey at all.

But would this be too close to race day if taken very easy?

I hope people's Manchester Marathon went well yesterday!

29/04/2013 at 13:07

Shady, why not do Bewl Marathon on Saturday so you have a B2B with 3 Forts.

29/04/2013 at 15:00

Possum Hopper: re "Compression Calf things".  I've used compression below knee 'stockings', including closed toe feet, for the past two years.  Great for reducing/avoiding swollen ankles and even better for avoiding blisters.  The snug but not tight fit on feet means that I use them without any other socks so there is no form of chafing - hence no blisters over last two Comrades and other marathons/training! The calf compression feels good too.  However, I wouldn't even think of using something like this for Comrades unless you are able to trial properly first over a long run. I know many others who swear by the compression calf versions.

29/04/2013 at 15:27

Guys do we need sunglasses? I guess we're running with the sun coming up behind us aren't we?

Shady - that last long run sounds dangerous to me. It's very close to the race - too close I'd suggest for any substantive training effect and you risk going into Comrades tired at best.  The 3 Forts b2b long option sounds better to me.


Edited: 29/04/2013 at 17:23
29/04/2013 at 17:34

Windsor Andy: The sun rises over the sea in Durban, so yes it will come up behind us. By lunch time it will be overhead, presuming it is not cloudy, and the sun in SA is intense. By the afternoon, depending when you finish, it could be right in your face. I will be wearing sunglasses for sure. 


Shady, Peirs and all the other "Richmond Parkers": I bet we have run passed each other, said hello or waved to each other at some point over the past 4 months. I propose we organise to meet up for a beer once the hard training is over before we head of to SA. I will organise it if you are keen. Let me know?

29/04/2013 at 19:20

Safer - I'd forgotten just how long we'd be out there Sunglasses it is!

29/04/2013 at 19:31

Douglas- Do you want to have a crack at 4 hours at MK? I hope to have recovered enough from London. No promise but happy to help for as long as I can.

29/04/2013 at 19:55

Wow, very impressive everybody. Feeling very nostalgic reading these posts (and funnily enough Chariots of Fire just came up on my Spotify ;-p) I've been having a fight over on another forum about VLM changing the Good for Age qualifiers this morning when I noticed this thread.

I have run all my adult life, grew up in Pinetown on the course and know it well. Can't believe how many 'Richmond Parkers' there are (I live 2 mins from Kingston Gate and RP is my training place of choice.) Focussing on marathons this year (ran Manchester yesterday) but all with Comrades in mind for 2015.

I ran a silver in 2003 and have not been back since. Now I'm an old ballie (40 this year) I want to see if I can silver again, and it's good to know there are Comrades runners in the area so i will keep an eye out for these threads in the future. I found it REALLY hard training for Comrades in the UK 10 years ago. Begging club mates to accompany me for stretches of my 60km runs

I also found RP a little too flat and really suffered on the hills on the day. My advice (too late I know) would have been to get to Box Hill and similar hills / races around the country to seek out Comrades-like hills. Brecon Beacons in Wales is close.

Good luck to everybody on here. It's an epic achievement even to complete. 56 miles of hills (ok 5km flat) should not be taken lightly. Hope to meet some of you when I start Comrades training next year!


29/04/2013 at 23:17

Possum hopper I use the calve compression sleeves. Not 100% if there is any significant difference with me, but the main thing is they look 'cool' and make me feel good  

On the nutrition note, I read that it is good to take 5-10grams carbs every 20min i.e. a 1/4 banana or 1/4 potato. Seems a little extreme to me. Whatever I end up doing, I think I will try to hold of the gels for as long as poss.

29/04/2013 at 23:48

Possum Hopper - compression socks/calf things - I don't use them for the race but use it in the night after.

I've found the best way for me to minimise the post-race pain during the first night is to use compression socks and put a couple of pillows under each leg to elevate them (yes, I ask for 5 pillows at the hotel...) - I don't use any painkillers or similar medication either during or after the race...

Race day pacing splits - agree with Stevan - can't go wrong with Don Oliver - really good stuff from a legend with 19 medals...

Ady - in my opinion an ultra two and a half weeks before race day is too close - I usually do my last long run (an easy marathon) three weeks out.  I think that in the last three weeks there is limited opportunity to significantly improve for race day but there are an infinite number of ways that you can ruin your race...

Sunglasses - always! And don't forget your sunblock.

Just signed up for Milton Keynes marathon next week - will probably just wander around at sub-4 pace...

30/04/2013 at 00:51

Hi all,

Anyone know the date for the 2014 race?  Many thanks

30/04/2013 at 10:09
Speedy - see you at MK. I'll sadly not be wandering round sub 4 as that's a struggle for me!

I am currently going thru a mild panic attack as I've exceeded my own worst training by doing even less this yr with my longest run being basically a 30 mile walk. Not sure what's going to happen in a time now to do a long run, so MK it is and see what happens. I know I can get thru 40 miles at a push....just have to hope the atmosphere spurs me on. And i will be taking ibuprufen. I know you're not meant to but I always do on long runs. And yes to sunglasses too (and sunblock! got amazing one sided burn on the UP in 2011!)

*panic panic panic hyperventilate regret regret etc etc* until June 02....
30/04/2013 at 11:06
Danirr, date of 2014 will be the nearest Sunday to June 02 I poss June 01!
30/04/2013 at 12:06

SD and Martin - I'm goiong for a 10k tomorrow to see how my chest is, and all being well will try for a sub 4 at MK. Plan would be to go out a little faster and then hang on to Keith's bus when he catches me - so any support around me would be great.

Carmen, your 30 mile "walk" was at faster than Comrades pace. Do MK and Halstead and you will be ready .

30/04/2013 at 14:50

Shady - There is a lot of wise and experienced advice on here to dissuade you from doing a latish long run but I also am a bit light on distance after concentrating on racing marathons in April and will myself try and squeeze a longer run in.  I think the weekend of 11-12 May is just about far enough away from the big day to still benefit your legs without leaving them too tired...  I also think that it might be achievable as I missed 2-3 weeks training in March and haven’t accumulated any long runs in my legs to which I'd be adding further mileage to... Even still, I think the long run I do won't be much more than 35m.  As I say, these are my thoughts at least.  Pretty humbling to see how others have been diligently and sensibly doing 40m/50k and I've never gone over 28m.   

Manchester was much more low-key than the Greenwich-Mall procession last week and a minute quicker.  Official results are a bit of a mess:  I intended to save a bit of energy for the last 6 miles, but the results splits have me covering them in under 10 minutes.  I'm still on for my sub3 in 3 which will give me some confidence going into May albeit no proper substitute for the longer distance events I should've targeted.  Just glad to be running without discomfort and looking forward to MK after aiming for a 26miler on the Saturday beforehand, incorporating Richmond Park.  I only cross the park rather than lap it as the Richmond Hill Gate is 13 miles from home.  I'm envious of those who live closer.

Bike It/Hans - How did you get on in Manchester after you 9-10 mile warm up?  A shame I couldn't join up this time.  It proved too difficult to juggle your timing with hotel check out, girlfriend's plans, etc.  SA will be much simpler!

30/04/2013 at 14:55

Course profile: For those first time Comrades runners, I've attached a profile as extracted from my GARMIN's 2011 up run.  It shows the 'undulations' in better detail than on the Comrades website!  There are more hills than just the 'Big Five'!


30/04/2013 at 15:53

GN, you will give the novices a heart attack with that profile! It is not in scale, the hills are not nearly as bad as it makes them look .

Regarding distance and long runs, I will be attempting to obtain my green number on about half the mileage I usually do from the start of the year. I have had a multitude of injuries, and now topping it all off with bronchitis. So far this year I have run one 52km, and four 42km's. I am planning on doing MK this weekend (probably near maximum marathon pace), and then Halstead the following weekend at Comrades pace. That is then 3 weeks out which I consider the absolute minimum to recover from marathon distance. I certainly wouldn't go any further that weekend, and definately not a back to back.

Remember, it is always better to be undertrained than injured or tired - see you all on the road.

30/04/2013 at 18:14

Douglas: Quite right - no heart attacks intended! But, at whatever scale, you need to look at changes in altitude vs distance. It's just meant to show the many undulations. I think you're right about needing 3 weeks after any really long runs.  Sadly, like you, I've not done many long ones - nothing more than 3 x 42.2km's (One in November, two in April, and a final 42km training run this coming weekend.  I have, however, comfortably built up to 215 total miles per month. I hope that will see me through - my only ambition is to stay injury free and beat the 12hr cut-off!

Edited: 30/04/2013 at 18:15
30/04/2013 at 21:07

Thanks everybody for the advice regarding the long run 2 weeks out. I might re-evaluate this now, or at least scale back speed. I'm tempted to try and get the time on my legs and just plan in more walking to try and average 12 minute miling rather than 9:30m/m. This way I get the time on my legs and not over do it. I'm definitely going to try and get over to Box Hill (as EvanBond has mentioned) for a shorter session as well to try a proper hill to run up.

Doing the Bewl Marathon this Saturday would be the ideal option, but I'm already booked in to a B&B in Worthing for the 3 Forst and have promised the OH a few days by the seaside for having to put up with my weekend running....I'm not sure how well it would go down to cancel this now for another marathon! 

Safer........I'd be up for a beverage or two if we can plan something before leaving for South Africa. It would be nice to meet up with some other Comrades runners before getting to the start line!

Green Number.........that profile brings it all home even more than the Comrades website. No heart attack yet though! What did you clock the total elevation gain as in the 2001 up run?

The Ally of Not Enough Hills, Douglas & Green Number.........I feel in a similar position to you.....I don't think I've done enough long miles (my best so far is 33miles) but I'm struggling to find a good balance with getting a few more quality LSR in without over-doing it. Although I'd like to go for sub 10 hours, all I really care about is finishing in the time limit!

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