How late to leave your Comrades Marathon long run

How late to leave your Comrades Marathon long run

It doesn’t matter whose Comrades Marathon training programme you pick. The trick is if it works, stick to it, don’t try mix and match different people’s programmes. On this episode of the Ask Coach Parry podcast Lindsey gets asked; why he advocates not doing a long run in the last six weeks. Hear more about his tried and tested formula.

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Brad Brown: Welcome to this edition of the Ask Coach Parry podcast, we’ve got a question in today from Lester Karls. I’ve got Lindsey Parry with us once again. Lindsey, this is one of my favourite questions cause we see it so often.

Lester popped this question onto Facebook and he said: I’ve often heard you talk about doing your last long run six weeks out from the Comrades Marathon. He said he’s following Don Oliver’s programme and Don has his last run scheduled for the first week of May. He says, please advise.

Lindsey Parry: Look, the first thing to establish is, you can’t expect all coaches to coach in the same way, otherwise there wouldn’t be a need for coaches, plural. We could just have one coach to coach the whole world. There are differing opinions and approaches on how things go.

Why I advocate no long run in the last 6 weeks

It’s difficult to say, for sure, which way is better, but what I am very comfortable with is that my way works. I’ve had extremely good results with my way. Onto why do I prescribe six weeks. Well, when I talk about six weeks, I’m almost always talking to novices. In particular, I’m referring to people who started running in order to do Comrades.

These are not very experienced runners at all, most of them have been running for less than a year. Therefore, they need more time to recover from a very long effort, like the Comrades long run. The other area where Don and I differ quite a lot is that Don is also in the 60km long run bracket where I’m not. I’m in the 50-55km max. Again, the later you left your long run, the shorter I would say it needs to be.

So, that’s the reason why I talk about six weeks. My ideal is five weeks for the majority of the field. So people who are doing their second or third Comrades, people who have been running for two or more years, I’m quite happy with five weeks out. Again, I talk about 50 to maximum 55km.

The type of runner you are will determine your long run

Then finally, for silver medallists and in particular, fast silver medallists, your sub 7 hours, 6.5 hour, around there. There I’m quite comfortable with the four weeks to go. For me it’s about the type of runner the programme is for; what their goals are, what sort of running history they have got and it all comes down to how much time people need to recover from that.

Based on the amount of training they’ve, A, done and based on their ability. In particular their ability to recover. Just as a parting bit of advice is that for me, the important thing to do when you’ve got a coach, it’s like seeing a doctor. You’ve got to believe in what you’re doing and if you don’t believe in what you’re doing, then you need to find someone else whose philosophy resonates with you. So that you can believe in what they’re doing and then you need to stick to what is being done.

If Don’s advice in everything has worked really well for you up until now, it’s probably not best practice to go out and then follow someone else’s advice. I hope I’ve explained adequately why I do it the way that I do it. But you shouldn’t just change for the sake of change. If you’ve bought into a process, you’re happy with the process to date, you should probably follow through with that process.

Pick a programme and stick to it

BB: Lindsey, if I can just add my 2c worth here as well. I often say this in the webinars that we do, is that you need to nail your colours to the mast. Find a coach who works for you and it may not be Lindsey Parry, it may be whoever, but stick to that advice.

You can’t run Comrades and train for Comrades successfully by picking bits of each training programme that you think you like better than the other and patch it together that way. The same applies to pacing charts. Lindsey, you see it so often at the expo where someone has followed Joe Soaps training programme, but then they come and get your pacing charts and they wonder why it doesn’t work for them.

It’s like trying to drive in New York using a map of London. You’ve just really got to find something that works for you, someone that works for you. Stick to their advice and follow through and you’ll get the results, hopefully, that you are chasing. I don’t know if you want to add anything onto that, but I think that pretty much sums things up that way.

LP: All good.

BB: Fantastic, until next time, from myself, Brad Brown and Lindsey Parry, it’s cheers. Don’t forget to check out the next Comrades Marathon webinar, it is coming up on the third of May, it’s a Tuesday evening, South African time. You can register right now, and it’s going to be an important one.

All the hard work has pretty much been done, it’s downhill from here to Comrades from the beginning of May, basically. You just want to make sure you’re ticking over, staying fit, staying healthy. We’ll make sure you don’t stumble on the final hurdle. So join us on that webinar, Until then, cheers.

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