Transitioning from conquering the rapids of the Dusi Canoe Marathon to the relentless roads of the Comrades Marathon demands a shift in strategy and mindset. 

For athletes who have cut their teeth on the waterways of the Dusi Canoe Marathon, transitioning to the pounding pavement of the Comrades Marathon presents a unique challenge. 

The journey often begins with a deep-seated passion for endurance sports, coupled with a desire to push physical and mental boundaries beyond the confines of a single discipline.

Building Up to Comrades

Transitioning training from canoeing to distance running requires a systematic approach grounded in consistency and patience. Athletes must gradually increase their mileage while focusing on developing the specific strength and endurance required to excel on the roads of the Comrades Marathon. This transition period serves as a crucial foundation for success in the grueling ultra-distance race.

Insights from Coaching Experts

Seeking guidance from experienced coaches can provide invaluable insights into the nuances of transitioning from one discipline to another. Coaches with a deep understanding of both canoeing and distance running can tailor training plans to suit individual athletes’ strengths, weaknesses, and goals, ensuring a smooth and effective transition process.

Pacing Strategy for Qualifying Races

Qualifying races serve as crucial milestones in an athlete’s journey from Dusi to Comrades. Developing an effective pacing strategy for these races involves striking a balance between pushing the limits to achieve qualifying times and conserving energy for the ultimate goal of completing the Comrades Marathon. Athletes must learn to gauge their effort levels and adjust their pace accordingly to achieve optimal results.

Breaking Down the Race

The Comrades Marathon is a grueling test of physical and mental endurance, spanning a distance of approximately 90 kilometers. Breaking down the race into manageable segments can help athletes maintain focus and motivation throughout the course. By mentally preparing for the challenges posed by each section of the race, athletes can better manage their effort levels and maintain a steady pace from start to finish.

Adjusting Training Intensity

Transitioning from canoeing to distance running requires adjustments in training intensity and volume to ensure athletes are adequately prepared for the demands of the Comrades Marathon. Coaches may prescribe a combination of long runs, speed work, strength training, and recovery sessions tailored to each athlete’s specific needs and abilities. Monitoring training metrics such as heart rate, pace, and perceived exertion can help athletes fine-tune their training plans and optimize performance.

Making sure you do the correct strength training is important. The good news is we’ve created a free strength training plan for runners that you can download by clicking here.

Harnessing the Power of Community

Engaging with a supportive community of fellow athletes and coaches can provide invaluable motivation and encouragement throughout the transition process. Online forums, social media groups, and local running clubs offer opportunities for athletes to connect with like-minded individuals, share experiences, and seek advice from those who have successfully navigated the journey from Dusi to Comrades

Transitioning from the Dusi Canoe Marathon to the Comrades Marathon requires dedication, perseverance, and a willingness to embrace new challenges.

By following a comprehensive training plan tailored to their individual needs and goals, athletes can successfully make the leap from paddles to pavement and conquer the ultimate test of endurance on the roads of the Comrades Marathon.


With a passion for high performance sport – Lindsey Parry is one of South Africa’s most widely recognised coaches. Having led a team to the London, Rio and Tokyo Olympic Games as well as the Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh, the Gold Coast & Birmingham, and coached both triathletes and runners onto podiums of some of the world’s most illustrious races, Lindsey has a unique ability to understand what it takes to succeed at any level and thrives on coaching, motivating and inspiring others to do the same – whether it’s on the track, on stage or behind a mic.

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