Walk breaks and chasing a better Comrades seeding – One on one coaching call with Lesley Calitz

Walk breaks and chasing a better Comrades seeding – One on one coaching call with Lesley Calitz

On today's podcast Brad and Coach Parry help out Lesley Calitz, a Coach Parry Online Training Club member and help ease her nerves about her first Comrades.

Lindsey advises Lesley on strategies to slow down her starting pace early on in the race as well as whether or not she should try chase a better Comrades seeding. We also discuss ways to deal with back issues using strength training.

Brad also shares another Success Story from one of our members and announces this week's #BiogenJourney winner. We also want to hear your success story - you can share this with us by using #BiogenJourney on any of the socials and you could stand a chance to win 3 months access to the CoachParry Online Training Club.

What are you training for?

Click on any of the images below to download your training program now

Transcription

Brad Brown  

Welcome to this edition of RUN, and we head to Pretoria today to catch up with another one of the members of our Coach Parry online training club; Lesley Calitz. Lesley, welcome on to the podcast. Thanks for joining us.

Lesley Calitz  

Thank you.

Brad Brown  

We've got Lindsey with us as well. Welcome back. Nice to touch base with you too.

Lindsey Parry  

Yes, always good to be on these calls Brad. Howsit Lesley?

Lesley Calitz  

Hi, Lindsey. Well, thanks yourself?

Lindsey Parry  

Very good. Thanks.

Brad Brown  

Lesley, before I hand you over to Lindsey and we talk a little bit about your running and goals and what you're working towards, let's let's find out more about you and a bit of your background. How long have you been running and how did you get started?

Lesley Calitz  

Okay, long story short many years ago I did a bit of running, got caught up with life and kids and stuff, normal story. Kids grew up, and I actually about three years ago decided to get back onto it. Thank goodness for park run, that got me activated again. And, yeah, on and off, on and off since then, but we've been more serious. I've got my hubby and a couple of other guys that I'm also sort of motivating because when I get started I drive everybody nuts. And yeah, that's basically my summary.

I've done a couple of marathons, I think about seven or eight now in the past three years more or less. Some better, some a lot worse. And some of the stuff I didn't do with programmes, others I got like a runner's world programme. Now this time I actually, last year I signed up,  I took one of Coach Parry's time based programmes - which I was very skeptical about because I thought ooh this doesn't work for me. I'm used to the distance thing and yeah, I was actually very surprised at how good it was to my body. Results we'll chat about.

Brad Brown  

I was gonna say that the time based program, obviously it's worked because you still with us.

Lesley Calitz  

Now I'm sold. I'm sold into completely and actually; everybody says to me 'how far do you run this weekend', I say 'no, how long do I run this weekend'

Brad Brown  

My wife always jokes, she says we need to get t-shirts made for for the Coach Parry athletes that says "Lindsey says... "  That's all it needs to say.

Lesley Calitz  

Yeah, no, I agree with that.

Brad Brown  

So that's fantastic. It talks a little bit about park run's. I mean it's funny last week on the on the podcast we spoke to Faheema, and she was talking about the role of park run on her running journey. It's an amazing event. I mean, it's obviously growing, not just here but but globally. What do you love about it? What do you, do you travel around and run different ones, or do you tend to run the same one all the time?

Lesley Calitz  

Yeah, we just love the whole atmosphere, it's a vibe. It's a good way to get started. It's motivational, and it just shows you that you can and gets you going. Yes, we have traveled and done a couple. If we are in an area we actually look up and find out if there is one in the area or not. And yeah, if we can we obviously participate, but our park runs have died down a lot because we sort of chasing races more than we do anything else, you know or the bigger events. So our weekends get planned around running and where we can run and where we can see the country.

Brad Brown  

Yeah, that's quite a tough one particularly running races in Pretoria, Lesley, the I mean the races in Pretoria are traditionally on a Saturday so they're clashes with park run. I think the Jo'burg guys have got it a bit easier than the than Pretoria people.

Lesley Calitz  

Yeah, no, that's true. But on Sundays if we really want to, we can do what they call the 'My Run', it's also the same sort of concept just an off road thing. But we don't do too many of those either.

Brad Brown  

What would your local park run, what would you consider it to be?

Lesley Calitz  

Voortrekker Monument.

Brad Brown  

And that's Yeah, that's quite a nice one.

Lesley Calitz  

Yeah, it's nice. It was sad when it was stopped for a while. So we did the Botanical Gardens, which personally it's not a hot one because it was a lapper, and I'm not a very good lapper person. But yeah, now they've opened up monument again and we absolutely smiling. So if we haven't got anything running on Saturdays, and we pop in there and say hi, and just go down memory lane again.

Brad Brown  

Well, you talk about chasing races, you've got a couple of big goals for this year as well tell us a little bit about what you're what you're chasing.

Lesley Calitz  

Obviously, I'm a novice. I want to do my first Comrades. It's been a dream since I was tiny. And yeah, my hubby is an absolute natural runner and he, last year after we did we did two oceans last year. And when he finished that he said to me, okay, he thinks he's really for Comrades. So obviously when entries opened, we just jumped in and said, let's do it. So that's our biggest milestone for this year. And obviously, very nervous. very confused and yeah, I'm hoping I'm going to get to the end. I know he will. I'm actually suspecting a silver medal for him but, yeah, lets see how that goes.

Brad Brown  

We've got it on podcast now, no pressure! He's, he's in it for silver. But for you, I mean, how's the buildup gone for you? Obviously, and I'm going to say nervous is good. It's good to go in scared of a race like Comrades, because if you go in there, but too overconfident and cocky, as I did in my first one, thinking it was going to be a walk in the park. Comrades has other ideas. But going in there with a solid bit of respect for the race is a good way. How's the buildup gone so far?

I've been sticking to the program, the finisher program as diligently as possible. I mean, sometimes it's not always possible. One's got to be a bit flexible sometimes.

Lesley Calitz  

I do get tired sometimes. And I think that might be due to weaker muscles and stuff, working on that. But basically yes, buildup is, especially now it's getting a lot of mileage and stuff and one does, you do feel tired. It does most sort of border on I would like to say 'burn out' in my case. But generally, we are excited and totally confused. And we are trusting the process that we actually going to finish.

Brad Brown  

I love it. Well, I'm going to hand you over to Lindsey. Lindsey has got your training questionnaire that we send out ahead of these calls, and has got some background Lindsey, your initial thoughts on where Lesley is right now.

Lindsey Parry  

Yeah, so Lesley I'm just gonna put your mind at ease a little bit hopefully. And then yeah, hopefully you prepared a few more specific questions to ask but I couldn't help but notice you referred to yourself as a novice rather than a Comrades novice and that, I was remarking to Faheema the other day too, that that's the disease of South African road running. You've done five 50's in the last 12 months, you've done a number of marathons over the years, but you still consider yourself a novice because you haven't done Comrades. But yes, you are a Comrades novice. But not such a novice to running. And having completed Two Oceans last year, that really does give you a bit of an advantage. So the only comments that I really have based on your questionnaire - two actually - is the first is that you are a little bit nervous because your Om Die Dam was a bit slower than you anticipated. And so for me, I just wanted to tell you that, A, that that is absolutely fine. The time that you ran there still puts you well on track for a comfortable Comrades finish.

Lesley Calitz  

Great to hear.

Lindsey Parry  

You know, the thing that people never take into account, is that Om Die Dam is a really warm race. It's at altitude. And it's tough. I mean, there's nothing easy about Om Die Dam, and the finish in particular is really tough having to come over Commando’s Nek, and then to do that, those rolling hills to the finish and very long 2km climb up to the finish line. So it's really a tough race in 6:14 actually puts you in with a fairly comfortable finish somewhere in the 11:30's. So I know 30 minutes doesn't sound that comfortable. But it gives you a bit of daylight. So I think that's the one thing is that from that point of view, you are on track and your Cape Town qualifying time was reasonable. And your 10km time at 57 minutes, people can't see that. And also tells me that there's plenty of speed there. And the next 6 to 7 weeks, there's still lots of time to still boost that fitness and build your confidence up a little bit. So you're doing okay, where you are now. And you've got a lot more experience than you give yourself credit for. And in terms of your Om Die Dam performance, you are on track to finish Comrades.

Lesley Calitz  

Thank you for that, that really puts me at a lot of ease.

Lindsey Parry  

Good. So hopefully you've prepared some more specific questions around either running in general or the Comrades prep specifically, but yeah, now's your opportunity to ask me whatever you wanted to ask in the past and haven't.

Lesley Calitz  

Lindsey no, not too many particular questions, I am slightly concerned that my times generally have slowed down, if I look at my marathon times over the period in three years. And that does concern me a lot. Because if you do the you know the maths; all those formulas that one gets to work out what you expected finishing time for Comrades is going to be. That really and truly worries me, because that, I think that's what makes me the most nervous. Although you have now addressed that with the Om Die Dam saying that I'm going to be okay. My mind is there. I know my biggest problem and I'm not sure how to get over that one is I always go out too fast. I don't know how to regulate that. I just cannot get that trigger my system, it just doesn't work. And then second half I crash. Well crash, in terms of I do lose my speed there.

Lindsey Parry  

Yeah, so look, this is extremely common issue. So you know, you aren't alone. And the only way to do that really is to early on in the race really take note of what speed you're running. And if you physically can't slow the pace down, then what you've got to do is increase the frequency of the walk breaks. So that you do overall slow your pace down. And what those walk breaks do is they essentially just give you a break from the very high eccentric impact.

So although I try not to get people to look at walk breaks as rest, you know, because I want you to still walk with purpose. You're still trying to get from from A to B, so it's a brisk walk rather than an amble. But that just it changes the rate at which your muscles are contracting, relaxing, and it changes the force with which you hitting the ground. And it provides you just enough rest that it just, it will compensate for your inability to just slow yourself down. Because as you've experienced, if you don't slow yourself down at the beginning, you are struggling and slowing down as you get towards the end.

I had a very interesting conversation with a female runner, not very long ago. And she was asking me 'do I have to walk because I struggle to start running again, once I've walked. But, what I am very good at doing is slowing down and a lot so that when I run the hills although I'm running and I'm not walking, I really don't feel the hills.' So you know that, she's essentially doing exactly the same thing that I'm asking people to do. And that is to just really save their legs. Especially on the climbs, and especially with Comrades being an up run. Those first 36 k’s are just so tough that you either need to find a way to physically see, okay, I'm going too fast and now I'm slowing myself down. And even if you have to do that repeatedly for the first three to five kilometers, then you should get into a bit of a rhythm and be able to slow yourself down. But if you really can't - walk breaks. Every three or so kilometers, one minute of walking, and when you hit the hills, settle yourself on a routine that does something like two minute run, one minute walk, two minute run, one minute walk all the way up just so that you can really save your legs. And that will help you to maintain a better average in the second half.

Lesley Calitz  

Okay, fabulous. That's going to help me quite a lot. I'm going to definitely try and apply that. I did not mention. This weekend, according to my program, I'm supposed to do a training marathon. So the Joint Ease Ultra is obviously on the cards for Pretoria. So I have entered for that. And I'm going to try and apply what you have now suggested and see how it goes. And, yes, I'd like to actually be able to get feedback on that.

Lindsey Parry  

Yeah. And does that mean that you won't be doing Oceans this year?

Lesley Calitz  

Now we haven't entered Oceans this year.

Lindsey Parry  

That's absolutely fine. I just wanted to check because that's only two weeks between that and Oceans. Which would be a lot of stress on your system. No, but that's perfect. And that's what you do need to do you need to apply these things. In some long training runs. And this presents the perfect opportunity, you can apply a walk/run strategy, see how that impacts you and allows you to run better in the second half. And then you can jump into the forum and give us some feedback. And we can chat about how to modify that going forward.

Lesley Calitz  

Specifically if you say 'slowing down', what would my average slow down pace be? What would you suggest for me on my history.

Lindsey Parry  

So for Comrades, you are looking to run at around 7:45ish. I just want to double check my math here quickly. But you looking at about 7:45 per kilometer. And to give you a finishing time of, actually even slower. You're looking you want to be running at about  7:55. So I think for the purposes of this race, and which would give us a really great experiment, is to see how we go at about 7:45, 7:50 per kilometer. And see how good that allows you to feel in the second half. So that's what I'd be aiming for. Your Om Die Dam was ran at about 6:15 per kilometer. Did I do my maths right there....

Sorry, my maths wasn't good there. You did 7:30 minutes per k at Om Die Dam. So if we aim for between 7:45 and 7:50 on Sunday, I think you're going to see just how beneficial it is to go out slower. So you do need to take the routing profile into account and the first 24 k’s of the Irene are much easier than a second 25. So bearing in mind that we looking at trying to run about 7:45 to 7:50 per k, it probably means that you will be running about 7:20 ish per k for the first half of the race. But it should feel very, very, in fact should feel just that little bit too easy, especially because you're running downhill. But then that should then allow you to run up to the finish at about 8, 8:05 per k. So essentially on the hills you're aiming for just over eight, and on the downs you aiming for just over seven. That's kind of your pacing strategy for Sunday.

Lesley Calitz  

Okay, fabulous. Thanks. And then obviously, my qualifying time was sort of a very touch and go qualifying time for comrades. And which puts me in the seeding batch right at the back. Do you think I should work towards anything better than that? Or should I just stick to what I'm doing at the moment?

Lindsey Parry  

No, I wouldn't and the main reason why I say don't is because it's going to save you two minutes on race day. But on Sunday, if you run hard enough to get yourself out of that: out of F and into G, we don't know how that's going to impact in your training for the next two weeks. And the next two weeks of training is actually quite important. You know, we are now in the important part of training Comrades. And you can improve your fitness a lot in the next six to seven weeks. So I would look at everything as training rather than trying to improve on seeding. And you can make yourself, in the next six to seven weeks, you can make yourself a 10 to 15 minutes better Comrades runner. And by racing hard on Sunday you'll lose that opportunity to be able to make yourself that better runner, but you'll only score yourself two minutes on race day.

Brad Brown  

Lesley, if I can just jump in there as well. Lindsey and I actually recorded a video that actually went live this morning as we chatting to you. So if you check out our YouTube feed, or the Lindsey Parry Facebook page, there's a video there that we speak exclusively about chasing seedings for Comrades at this time in your training and why it's important exactly what Lindsey just explained. So that'll go into bit more detail. And I think you'll get a lot out of that.

Lesley Calitz  

Okay, fabulous. I'll do that. Thanks. Okay, then I think that's basically my questions for now, I did have a bit of a back issue and I thought, that was particularly after Om Die Dam, and I thought that maybe it was too much strain on my body, and that I wasn't in good enough shape. Although I am doing the running as much as I can.

In terms of the programme, I'm really trying to stick to it really, as I said as diligently as I can. So I was just concerned that, yeah, they said it's a bit of a degeneration, they're not too concerned, they're not stopping me from running. So I'm not hundred percent sure, if the double distance is going to kill me or if I'm going to be okay.

Lindsey Parry  

So look, if it is from a degenerative disk, it's not from you over doing or not being ready for the 50 km, that disk will get irritated from time to time. I see you are busy doing some strength classes. And in some of those strength classes are CrossFit, so you also are going to have to be a little bit careful about what movements you do around your back. But also if you have good CrossFit instructor and you mentioned your back problems, they should also be able to incorporate a few exercises into your routine that will help to stabilize and strengthen all the muscles around your lower spine. And that will go a long way to help stopping your back from getting irritated when you're running. So, no I'm not too worried that the back was caused by Om Die Dam, and it is going to flare up from time to time. Strength training and some exercise is actually going to be, it's going to be good for your back. So, yeah.

Lesley Calitz  

Okay. Previously, you were advertising that we should do strength and conditioning with our running programme, which I actually downloaded a programme. Followed it a little while and then we got, not bored, but caught up with life again and ended up going back to boot camp and CrossFit. Would you recommend it I must maybe download one of those programmes again and rather not do CrossFit, or can I just carry on with my CrossFit under guidance of my coaches who are really looking after me and very concerned about my back.

Lindsey Parry  

If they're looking after you, then I'm comfortable with that. And as I said if they can just give you, there's two or three exercises. Funny enough, some of the whole body movements are also really good for stabilizing the lower back as long as you, as you say are under supervision, doing them properly. A deadlift is something that most people will have a heart attack if I had to tell some of the sore back to do a deadlift. The deadlift and a squat; done with really good technique is such a good way of stabilizing and strengthening the muscles around that lower spine that are there to stabilize the lower spine. So if it's supervised, and they also just give you a few and slightly less risky exercises then those to do, then I'm comfortable. I'm comfortable that you're better off doing exercises right under supervision than doing slightly or possibly better exercises for your lower back but we're not 100% sure that you're doing those correctly.

Lesley Calitz  

Okay, fabulous. Thank you very much. I think I am a lot more comfortable, still nervous very super excited. Can't wait. I'm not an uphill person. We doing the up this year for my hubby, and we've got an agreement will do the down for me next year.

Lindsey Parry  

Okay.

Brad Brown  

You're in the right place, if you've got any questions between now and Comrades race day, you know where to ask them. Get into the forum and put your mind at ease. Lindsey's in there, Markus is in there answering questions. That's what we built that thing for, was exactly to give people peace of mind in the build up to Comrades, so yeah, best of luck. And just finally to wrap up you obviously been with us for a while now; your experience of the Coach Parry online training club?

Lesley Calitz  

I think it's a fabulous tool. Like I said I'm sold, and as far as I go that's what I talk about. Nobody can down shoot you guys in any way. I actually did a race a while ago where someone said he doesn't think that this Coach Parry thing works. And I said to him i think you've got the wrong guys...  do it properly and it makes a massive difference. I actually on two my races just before that I actually improved on the one 32km I think I improved 22 minutes, last year as opposed to this year. The other one was, it was actually the Tuks BestMed 42 that I did. And I improved 24 minutes of my time on that one. So I'm sold, and I think it's an amazing forum. I think you guys are helping the guys a lot and it's just great to have you guys available. It's really good to have you around. Thank you very much.

Brad Brown  

We love having you around and we appreciate you and best of luck on Sunday. Let us know how that run walk strategy goes. Pop into the forums if you've got any questions afterwards and yeah, let's continue helping you get your Comrades medal this year. It's exciting and nervous, you oscillate between the two. You never quite sure how you feel and it's going to be an amazing day out. You're doing the work and you're going to get rewarded.

Lesley Calitz  

Well, I hope so, because it's a day after my birthday so I better make it.

Brad Brown  

No big partying the night before unfortunately, you're gonna have to say that after the race.

Lesley Calitz  

Absolutely! I'm going to do that after the race with a medal in my hand.

Brad Brown  

Fantastic. Lesley it's been great catching up, best of luck and we look forward to chatting in the forums.

Subscribe to RUN with Coach Parry

Subscribe on iTunes

Download via RSS

Subscribe on iTunes