How to balance your Comrades training

How to balance your Comrades training

Coming up on this edition of the Ask Coach Parry podcast, Lindsey get's hit with the poignant question; how to balance long runs and intensity work while training for the Comrades Marathon. Truth of the matter is, even if you are training for a Silver medal, you never need more than 15% to be intensity work.

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This is the Ask Coach Parry podcast, I’m Brad Brown, Lindsey Parry joins us once again. Lindsey, a couple of questions very similar, one submitted by Lindsey Collins and the other one, and I love this, this is on Facebook, Dolus Eventualis. I’m not sure if that’s his real name, but that’s what his Facebook profile says.

Lindsey says how much intensity/training versus how much longer slower training according to training for the Comrades Marathon. Dolus Eventualis says, of the 1 000+ km that one needs to run between now and next year’s Comrades Marathon, what should the split be between temper runs and slow long runs. So very similar questions, and I think a good question nonetheless.

Lindsey Parry: Look, it’s a little more difficult to answer that in terms of ultra distance training versus say for a marathon. So from now until you run your marathon qualifier, you want to do between 10 and an absolute maximum of 15% of your training.

So if you run 100km, that means that you want, for every 100km that you run you want between 10-15km of those to be done at higher intensity. Now that includes your time trials, hill work, speed work that sort of thing. So that’s a fairly safe number, 10-15% when you’re training for a marathon.

Intensity training for Comrades depends on your goal

I’d say when you’re training for Comrades, it depends on your ability and where you fall on the spectrum between silver and finishers. I would say that your silver runners, when they train for Comrades, will probably scratch around the 10%, maybe a tiny bit more. But I wouldn’t go up to the 15%. Then your Bill Rowan guys will be a maximum of 10%.

Your bronze guys probably somewhere in the region of 7%, you could probably get away with 10%, but I would be nervous to do that. Then your finishers, depending on your running history, I actually discourage doing too much intensity work. So I do a little bit of leg work in the form of hills, but I would try and shy away from doing too much speed work so that your body can handle the volume that you need to do in order to finish Comrades.

That gives you a rough and fairly conservative and safe guide to use to help you to improve both your endurance and your speed.

BB: Awesome stuff, great questions, thanks for being in touch. Don’t forget you can too, just head over to the website, you can also pop onto the Run Talk SA Facebook page and submit your question there as well. We’ve been taking quite a few there.

Until next time, from myself, Brad Brown and Comrades Marathon coach, Lindsey Parry, thank you so much for your time and we’ll chat next time, cheers.

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