How to improve your endurance on race day

How to improve your endurance on race day

Do you battle with the final 5km of a race? Could going out too hard be the root of your problem? On this episode of the Ask Coach Parry podcast, Lindsey answers a two-fold question from Rod Martin. He tells you how to improve your endurance on race day, and also what is on offer on Comrades Marathon race day in terms of nutrition.

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Welcome back to this edition of the Ask Coach Parry podcast, I’m Brad Brown, with me is Comrades coach, Lindsey Parry. Lindsey, welcome back onto the podcast, and welcome back to SA. The last time we spoke you were in Chicago for the WTS, World Triathlon Series World Champs and you’re back now. An up and down trip, it wasn’t the most successful, but Chicago is an amazing city.

Lindsey Parry: Ja, a very amazing city, so far my favourite city I’ve visited in America. Unfortunately not our best world championships and hopefully the lessons will be learnt and we will not perform quite that badly again in coming World Championships.

BB: Brilliant, well, let’s get into today’s question and it’s a double whammy from Rod Martin, he submitted them over a couple of days, so Rod, thanks for being in touch. We’ll get to both your questions today. The first one he wanted to know, he said he started running in November 2014, he’s completed about 10 half marathons since then. He’s entered the Kaapsehoop Marathon as well as the Comrades Marathon 2016.

He currently runs 50-60km a week, but he finds that although he runs easily for the first 15km of half marathons, he finds he really gets tired in the final five. He wants to know, how should he adapt his pacing strategy or his training to improve his endurance. He also wanted to know, with it being his first Comrades, does he need to carry all his own food or can he find stuff along the way and should he be using gels at Comrades as well?

Are you going out too hard in the first half?

LP: So we’ve got quite a complicated answer here because he’s certainly doing enough mileage to finish a 21km comfortably and he’s doing enough mileage to in fact finish a marathon comfortably. The fact that he’s running out of steam in the last 5km of each race does lead me to believe that his pacing strategy is poor, so he’s going out too hard and the struggling in the second half.

In terms of giving him advice on exactly what pacing strategy to follow because I don’t know what times he’s running for the half marathons, but it certainly needs to be considerably slower than what he’s doing now. I guess doing his first marathon, I would recommend that he goes through half way 10 minutes slower than he’s currently going through or that he’s currently running a 21km. That will ensure that he runs quite conservatively and should be able to run a fairly similar split in the second half.

Comrades Marathon does provide plenty of nutrition

In terms of the Comrades, more specific the Comrades related question, there is plenty of nutrition along the road. You just need to make sure that it’s the type of nutrition that you are used to using and that you’re comfortable using. Similar to pretty much every road race in SA, there will be water and Coke at most of the water stations.

Then Comrades is also sponsored by Energade, so there’s also Energade all the way along the route. Then at certain tables you can find things like potatoes, small baked potatoes as well we potato crisps, bananas, sweets, chocolates, sandwiches, those are the type of things you can expect to be finding and a lot of people do use gels.

There’s probably enough stuff on the side of the road that you don’t need to use gels, but gels are an easy way of getting nutrition in, particularly early in the race.

But over a 9,10, 11 hour period, gels will become a bit much and you can’t rely on them the whole way. Importantly, on your longer training runs, in your marathons, you need to start using the type of products that you like to use. That you know works well for you and make sure that those in fact are adequate for driving or that they give you enough energy and they don’t make you sick. So you can then go on and use them on Comrades race day.

If you can rely more heavily on the stuff on the side of the road, it avoids you having to carry stuff or have people meet you at strategic points to give you your stuff. So the easiest way out is to just get used to fuelling and using the stuff on the side of the road.

BB: Lindsey, and if I can just add in there too, Rod, I’m not sure what running club you belong to or if you’re planning on joining a club. But most of the big clubs, in particular, around SA, will have a table for the club members that you can leave stuff with them in the week before Comrades, that they’ll then take to that specific point on the route.

Often it’s difficult to find a loved one with the throngs of people, the amount of people along the route, but if you know, for instance, your running club is going to have a table at exactly 60km and they’ll tell you exactly where it’s going to be, it does make life a lot easier as well.

Lindsey, thank you very much for that question and Rod, thanks for being in touch, we look forward to following your journey to Comrades 2016. If there’s anything we can help with, do be in touch. Until next time, from the two of us, it’s cheers.

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