Cross training benefits when training for Comrades Marathon

Cross training benefits when training for Comrades Marathon

You are on Ask Coach Parry and today the question comes all the way from Switzerland. Chris Wood got in touch. He says he is planning on doing the ironman 70.3 in his build up to the Comrades Marathon this year.

He finds the five to six hour endurance help him build core and stamina without the wear and tear of running. He would appreciate your thoughts, especially as it would be his last big push before tapering.

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Brad Brown: You are on Ask Coach Parry and today the question comes all the way from Switzerland. Chris Wood got in touch. He says he is planning on doing the ironman 70.3 in his build up to the Comrades Marathon this year.

He finds the five to six hour endurance help him build core and stamina without the wear and tear of running. He would appreciate your thoughts, especially as it would be his last big push before tapering.

Best Prepared

Lindsey: 80% of the Comrades Marathon field are going to finish after 9 hours. 9 hours is a good runner but not an excellent runner, and I pretty much have found over the years that the slower the runners are (and I include that from 9 hours back) the more they benefit from cross training rather than running more.

Once you have got enough running, if you are running 4 to 5 times a week that is enough. Most people are running 5 times a week, but for me 4 is enough. Adding a 5th or 6th doesn't necessarily make you better. It does increase your risk of injury.

Where cross training plays a really important role in allowing you to get stronger without doing the same damage or opening yourself to the same risk of injury. So, I do find that training for an ironman during the build up to a marathon or Two Oceans or a Comrades Marathon for example, is definitely a wise thing to do.

I would probably load my training with a bit more running than I otherwise would if I was training purely for the 70.3 - but that is not a lot more. If you would normally, as an example run 55 -60km's a week as part of your ironman training, then I would somewhere in the cycle or the swim lose a little bit of time so that I could get to 65 - 70km's on the run.

But that is really the only change that I would make. And even once your ironman is done, I wouldn't then start smashing in a whole lot of extra mileage on the run. I may increase it a little bit, but I would still keep some of that cycling and swimming as part of the programme and that will help make you nice and strong and fit for the Comrades Marathon.

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