In this episode of Ask Coach Parry, we have a Comrades Marathon training program question from Kate Theron.

Kate would like to start training for the Comrades Marathon and she knows that we have a Comrades finishers training program but she wants to know what you recommend in order to modify that Comrades Marathon training program for beginners.

Could you maybe tell her how she could modify that Comrades training program so that she can start her Comrades training from the beginning?

There are countless tales of runners who have gone from absolutely no running to finishing the Comrades Marathon.

Some come from an athletic background and have not done much running for the last few years…

…while others have absolutely no athletic background at all.

There is one thing all of these Comrades runners have in common…

…more on that in a moment.

The question essentially being asked by Kate in this podcast is how do you modify the Comrades training program as an absolute beginner so that you can successfully train for and complete the Comrades Marathon?

Can I go from couch to the Comrades Marathon?

The one thing every Comrades runner has in common is that they all started from zero.

At some stage in their running career they had never run 10km. Or a half marathon or 42km.

So, basically the secret to going from zero to Comrades, as beginner, is to start. You will need to go from zero to 5km. From 5km you will progress to 10k. From 10km to 21km and so on. 

As a beginner training for Comrades you will need to progress slowly through the various distances in order to be able to run the Comrades Marathon successfully as a novice.

Just as a baby needs to learn to crawl before it can learn to walk and walk before it can run, a Comrades beginner needs to build slowly and pass these various milestones in order to successfully finish the Comrades Marathon.

Related: Couch to Comrades in 12 Months – Is it Possible?

The BIG secret: A Comrades training program for beginners

So, if you are a beginner, then a much more appropriate place to start, is to start where you are right now.

If you’ve never run a 10km, then that’s what you need to start training for… 

…If you’ve run a 10km but haven’t progressed to a half marathon, then that is where you need to start. 

All these milestones will need to be passed if you are going to successfully finish Comrades. 

You won’t finish the race if you have never run a 10k, 21k or a 42km.

Once you’ve completed our 10km and half marathon training programs and you’ve run a half marathon, then the Comrades finishers program will not need modifying.

That will be the right place for you to start training for the Comrades Marathon.

You can click on any of the images below to see our 10km, 21km or Comrades Marathon training plan for beginners:

The key to succesdully training for the Comrades Marathon as a beginner is to get on a structured training program and then just get going at a really gentle pace, build up as slowly as your patience will allow and make sure that you do not get injured.


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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