When should you do your last long Comrades training run

When should you do your last long Comrades training run

On this edition of RUN, we discuss when you should schedule your last long run before Comrades in your training leading up to race day and how long it should be. 

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Welcome on to the next edition of run with Coach Parry. I'm Brad Brown. We've got the coach Lindsey Parry with us once again and as we build up into the final stages of Comrades this year, we've got a very specific Comrades related question. It's got to do with your last long run before Comrades this year. We've got the coach with us, Lindsey, How's it?

How're you doing, Brad?

Very good. I almost get that song from Europe singing in the back of my head, it's the final countdown, because it is the final run into Comrades this year. A lot of people putting their final preparations in place. A lot of the hard work has been done. We've been getting this question lots on our forums on the Coach Parry Training Platform and it's got to do with when to do your last run.

Many of the athletes, particularly here in South Africa, have been coming off ultra marathons. We had the Old Mutual Two Oceans just a week and a bit ago, also the Easter 100 up in Joburg. There was the ultra marathon up in Joburg this past weekend as well. Lindsey, when is the right time to do your last long run before Comrades? And How long should the last long run be?


When is the right time to do your last long run before Comrades?


So Brad, I'm going to answer this in terms of ideal and then obviously, depending on what people have done up to this point, because we do need to make some adjustments. So in an ideal world where the only race we were going to run in this whole exercise was Comrades, you would have novices who've never run Comrades before doing a 50-55k training run six weeks before, and that would be this weekend coming, which would be the weekend of the 26th/27th of April. Everyone else essentially, would be the following weekend, which would be five weeks before and that would be the weekend of the 5th and 6th of May. Then you've got the 5% or less of the field that would be running either 3/4 weeks before, some of the elite athletes prefer it that way.

But you know, let's talk about the silver medal, the semi normal folk who don't have any friends, they all do their's on four weeks to go. And typically, all those runs for me should be between 50 and 55. I'm not a huge fan of the 60 K. Obviously there's some exceptions and depending on the training that's gone before, but as blanket rule 50-55 K's is enough. Now, obviously this year with the Easter calendar the way that it was, we've had Two Oceans being run seven weeks before, and we had Loskop that was run eight weeks before. And there is another 50K coming up on the weekend of the 26th-27th.

So if you haven't run any other runs, and you're a novice, then this 50 k is a good idea. If you're somebody who likes to do these things in a race, because you want to wear your running kit and you feel uncomfortable wearing running kits in a normal training run, then it's a good idea to do it in a race and to really practice everything that you're going to be doing on race day. But that will then be your long run, you're not going to do another one after that. So it doesn't matter what medal you're chasing, if you're going to go and run 50k's in a race on the 26th around there, then that's it, that's your number.


When should you have your last long run if you've run Loskop or Two Oceans?


For the people who ran Loskop or Two Oceans, you need to have at least three weeks between Oceans and when you do your next training run. This is probably the most common question that I'm getting right now across all platforms: 'I ran Oceans, when I do my final long run?'. So that is my advice is that we wait three weeks, which means that that long run should then be happening on the 11th and 12th of May, which is four weeks and that is too close for most. So anyone not training for a silver medal should definitely not be running 50K's on that weekend. 40 to 45 K's that's really my recommendation. So in essence, what we've done is we've treated Two Oceans as the long run, but we're going to just give it a little top up four weeks out 11th/12th of May, and you're going to do between 40 and 45K's and that will be enough training.

This idea that you need to do 60k's or that doing another 50Ks is so important for Comrades, it's not. It's not important physically. Of course the psychology of running is very important and the psychology of running 87k's is extremely important. So I know people feel like they need it for their minds but it's going to be detrimental to your actual race, especially if you have done Loskop or Two Oceans. So 40-45k's, 11th/12th of May, that is your best bet from this point onwards.

Yeah, absolutely, Lindsey. As much as you say, it is a bit of a mental boost knowing you've done the distance. Physically, the last thing you want to do is find out on race day as you get halfway up Inchanga that you've done too much and sadly that's when you find out. So err on the side of caution as Lindsey says and you will be A for away on Comrades race day.

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