As the Comrades Marathon approaches, it’s essential to prepare not only physically but also mentally for the grueling race ahead.
In this article, we’ll guide you through Comrades race week, offering insights into what you should and should not do to optimize your chances of success.
Stay Off Your Feet
Comrades race week can be nerve-wracking, but it’s crucial to minimize time spent on your feet. The anxiety of the impending race can make this challenging, but excessive standing or walking can lead to fatigue.
Before you tackle the to-do list, ensure you’re giving your body the rest it needs.
Check and Recheck Your Lists
One way to reduce pre-race stress is by double-checking your race-day essentials. Ensure you have all the necessary gear, nutrition, and equipment. Knowing that you have everything you need can provide peace of mind and prevent last-minute scrambles. If you discover any missing items, you’ll still have time to acquire them.
Before you dive into race-week preparations, make sure you have your checklist in order.
Incorporate Short, Easy Runs
In the days leading up to the race, consider including a couple of short, easy runs lasting around 20 to 30 minutes. These light runs can help alleviate stress and keep your legs fresh. However, avoid any intense or long training sessions during this period, as they may leave you fatigued on race day.
A few short runs during race week can help ease your mind and body.
Familiarize Yourself with the Course
If you’re a first-time Comrades runner, taking a drive along the race route can provide valuable insights. It’s advisable to do this a few days before the race. However, be cautious not to do it on the day before the race, especially if the weather is hot. Prolonged sitting in a vehicle can lead to discomfort, so plan accordingly.
Explore the race route to mentally prepare, but do it wisely.
International Runners, Consider Bus Tours
For international runners, particularly those from flat regions, the hilly terrain of Comrades can be psychologically challenging. To overcome this, some international participants opt for bus tours along the course. This allows them to acclimate to the terrain and set an appropriate pace. If you’re arriving late, consider joining one of these tours.
Running Comrades as a Couple
Running Comrades as a couple can be a great experience, especially in the early stages of the race when you can enjoy it together. However, it’s essential to establish a clear plan and understanding.
Recognize that during the race, one partner may feel stronger than the other. Decide whether you’ll stick together, providing support when needed, or if you’ll split up at a designated point. Communication is key to a successful partnership on race day.
That being said…
How to Get Your Partner on Board
If you’re struggling to get your partner’s support for your Comrades journey, consider negotiating. Offer to take on additional responsibilities to free up their time while you train. If they haven’t experienced the event yet, encourage them to join you in Durban to witness the race’s unique atmosphere. And if all else fails, some well-timed gifts or promises might do the trick.
Timing Your Last Long Run Before Comrades Marathon
The question of when to do your last long run before Comrades can vary depending on your experience, training history, and goals. While some coaches advocate for a six-week buffer, others, like me, recommend five weeks for intermediate runners and even fewer for elite athletes. The key is to align your training schedule with a coach or program that resonates with you and stick to it consistently.
In conclusion, Comrades race week is a critical period in your preparation for the marathon. By following these dos and don’ts, you can minimize stress, optimize your physical condition, and ensure a smoother journey toward the ultimate goal of crossing the finish line on race day. Remember that individual preferences and needs may differ, so choose strategies that align with your unique circumstances and objectives.