For the benefit of every runner who is thinking of doing the Comrades Marathon and has absolutely no clue where to start from, how to go about it, I have penned down my Comrades Run in two parts :
Deciding to Run Comrades
Qualifying for Comrades
Training for Comrades
- Comrades training typically includes one really long run each month from Feb to May and other long, slow, speed, and hill runs each week. Additionally, there was one Sinhagad hill run each month.
- Two weeks into training - mid-Mar - I headed for a 3-week vacation to Melbourne. Training for so many months demands a lot of patience and sacrifices from the entire family. I had to do my longer weekend runs during the week so that we could see places on the weekends when my daughter and son-in-law had their weekly offs.
- Running in another country is always challenging for want of support and comfort with the routes. I did my longest run for March, a run of 55K, self-supported and all alone in Melbourne. Of course, this run had 3 different loops that finished at home and my daughter and husband ensured that whatever I needed was available there. We also did very long walks there on small hills, and I believe that this cross-training helped!
- The remaining training happened in Pune with other runners from Team Motiv8 with excellent support. It is a blessing to be a part of a group with such well-organized support by team members for such long runs. We did our long runs on ghats to give us the required training to run uphill and downhill as during Comrades. The coach grouped us as per our pace and we mostly ran in pairs.
- I always ran wearing the kind of gear I would wear for the actual run. I carried my water bottle and wore a waist pouch carrying the required gels and salt tablets. I had bought new shoes in Melbourne and started training in them in the last week of March. No change in brand, I used to wear Ultraboost earlier, and this was Ultraboost X - I like these specifically for the wider toe box.
- I regularly followed Coach Parry's webinars although similar information was forthcoming in our conversations with the others in the group who had run Comrades earlier and in the India Comrades WhatsApp group too. However, it is important always to filter out the noise and stick to one's own training plan, which is what I did.
Injuries and Physiotherapy
- Additionally, there was the weekly massage and foam rolling whenever I could get over the boredom of doing it! Each monthly long run and second longest run left my foot slightly swollen and hurting badly, and I had to miss 1-2 weekly runs during the next week for its recovery.
- I replaced them with cycling occasionally after consulting the coach or just rested. Also, my monthly long runs were 5k shorter than those of others. I also had one lesser weekly run.
- The training plan was customized to take care of my longer recovery period. Some low fever and throat infection too happened twice in four months - once just 15 days before the D-day, which made me nervous - but I took antibiotics and just rested it off.
Nutrition and Rest
Target and Theory
With a heart, mind and body in place, Chandan and I set out for South Africa!
Blog 2 will be all about Running the Real Race! See you soon!