Bronze

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COMRADES BRONZE MEDAL PROGRAMME
by LINDSEY PARRY
Official coach of the Comrades Marathon Association

To Ask Questions sign up to: @AskCoachParry, @LindseyParryZA, www.facebook.com/Comradescoach and www.coachparry.com

This year we will be doing things just a little bit differently, the changes in the programme are small for July to December. The major change bringing the Marathon into November, this aligns better with 2 of South Africas big end of year races and also fits in better with the Northern Hemisphere Marathon Season.

 

Our goals for 2017 are 3-fold:

  1. To continue to improve your consistency and capacity to do work
  2. Make you a stronger and faster runner
  3. To qualify with a sub 4:25 Marathon.

On the way to achieving the sub 4:25 Marathon we will look to break the following times:

5km: 27:00

8km: 44:45

10km: 56:15

15km: 1:27:15

21.1km: 2:05:30

20 Miles/32km: 3:17:30

 

Moving the qualifier forward slightly means we can get into a better training groove early in 2018, opening the door to either improving your speed a bit more or doing another qualifier if necessary. Particularly with Comrades falling on the 10th of June in 2018.

 

For the 2018 Comrades, I have also taken into account the stats, kindly provided to me by Mark Dowdeswell and Comrades to plan the programme. The main changes will be seen in Jan to June 2018, and to plan the pacing charts.

 

69% of D (sub 4hrs) Batch Starters finish the race under 11:00 hours, while 36.46 of F (sub 4:20) Batch starters receive a Bill Rowan Medal. The degree of difficulty increases because D Batchers take on average 3min18sec to cross the start line and F batchers take 5min35sec.

 

Training for a Bronze and getting a Sub 4:25 Marathon are therefore no Guarantee for achieving a Bronze finish. Based on my experience and discussions with runners who were not successful, this year and in past years, I have come up with a few possible reasons for this.

 

Your Bronze is at risk if your Sub 4:25 was:

  • Achieved at Sea Level (4:17)
  • Achieved on a downhill course (4:12)
  • Achieved in temperatures lower than 19 degrees Celsius (4:16)
  • You do not follow a very strict, conservative race plan (4:15)
  • It is compounded by combing 2 or more of these factors (4:07)

(In brackets, I have put down what I believe to be more appropriate times in these conditions)

 

Who should follow this programme?

  • Comrades finishers who have run sub 11hrs
  • Comrades Novices who can run a half Marathon in sub 2hr10
  • Comrades Novices who have come close to/or have broken 4hrs30 for a Marathon

 

If you do not fall into these categories then read through the introduction to the other programme options to select the appropriate programme. DO NOT follow this programme thinking that the extra mileage will guarantee a finish. The biggest single threat to you finishing Comrades is getting injured, place a premium on recovery and ensuring this through following the appropriately designed programme for you.

 

This programme is time based so people of more experience and greater running ability will get relatively more out of the programme and progress faster. Time based programmes also prevent you from settling on a route that you need to run faster every time you do it. It is easier to maintain discipline and run easy on the easy days. I must again emphasise here that being injury free and consistent in your training is the key to a successful race, easy days are there to ensure full recovery so you can get the most out of every days training.

 

There are recovery weeks built into the programme every 4 weeks, do not be tempted to do more as this will only compromise you later in the programme, leading to injury, illness and under performance in goal races.

 

Training days are interchangeable, if your club has Time Trials (TT) on a Tuesday or Wednesday you can swap Thursday with one of these days.

 

If you did not run Comrades and have been training consistently for a number of weeks already, you can adapt this programme to focus on races in September and October.

 

For the dates of races in your area you can go to www.runnersguide.co.za for a full fixture list.

 

In closing, the down run offers a unique challenge in terms of the eccentric load (Pounding). It is therefore highly recommended that you start following a strength programme now to ensure your legs are very strong come 10 June 2018.

 

Training Paces:

Easy (E): 6:20-6:45/km

Long (L): 6:25-7:00/km

Recovery (rec): 6:50-7:20/km

Hills: 5:25-5:30/km

800m:

RP: 6:23/km

 

These paces area guide for someone who is training for a 4hr25 Marathon, aim to run at or around these paces taking note of how easily you recover.

 

Enjoy the training!

 

To download the Bronze training plan click here: Download the Bronze training plan

 

*With Comrades moving to 10 June, it is important that December is not a hard training month, keep training and keep a good general level of fitness but do not train hard now unless you still need to qualify. However if this is the case you will have to take a short break to recover after qualification and you should aim to qualify by latest end Feb.

 

July training plan
 MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdaySunday
1 Jul Walk 5min E; 30min E Walk 5min E; 40min E
3 Jul REST Walk 5min E; 35min E REST Walk 5min E; 30min E REST Walk 5min E; 40min E Walk 5min E; 50min E
10 Jul REST Walk 5min E; 45min E REST Walk 5min E; 40min E REST Walk 5min E; 50min E Walk 5min E; 1hr E
17 Jul REST Walk 5min E; 50min E REST Walk 5min E; 50min E REST Walk 5min E; 1hr E 1hr15 E with 1min walk every 3-5km
24 Jul REST Walk 5min E; 45min rec REST Walk 5min E; 45min rec REST Walk 5min E; 50min E Walk 5min E; 1hr E
31 Jul REST
August training plan
 MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdaySunday
1 Aug Walk 5min E; 55min E REST Walk 5min E; 1hr E REST 1hr10 E walk as needed on hills 1hr30 L with 1min walk every 3-5km
7 Aug REST Walk 5min E; 1hr E REST Walk 5min E; 1hr E REST 1hr20 E walk as needed on hills 1hr45 L with 1min walk every 3-5km
14 Aug REST Walk 5min E; 1hr E REST Walk 5min E; 1hr E REST 1hr30 L walk as needed on hills 2hr L with 1min walk every 3-5km
21 Aug REST Walk 5min E; 45min rec REST Walk 5min E; 45min rec REST 5min E; 5x30sec RP, 30sec E; 5min E *10km race
28 Aug REST Walk 5min E; 1hr E REST Walk 5min E; 1hr E
September training plan
 MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdaySunday
1 Sep REST 1hr30 L walk as needed on hills 2hr20 L with 1min walk every 3-5km
4 Sep REST 1hr E REST 1hr E REST 1hr30 L walk as needed on hills 2hr40 L with 1min walk every 3-5km
11 Sep REST 1hr E REST 1hr E REST 1hr30 L walk as needed on hills 3hr L with 1min walk every 3-5km
18 Sep REST 45min rec REST 45min rec REST 1hr15 E walk as needed on hills 1hr30 L with 1min walk every 3-5km
25 Sep REST 10min E; 4x2min hills; 10min E REST 1hr05 E REST 5min E; 5x30sec RP, 30sec E; 5min E
October training plan
 MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdaySunday
1 Oct *10/15km race
2 Oct REST 10min E; 5x2min hills; 10min E REST 1hr10 E REST 1hr30 L walk as needed on hills 3hr30 L with 1min walk every 3-5km
9 Oct REST 10min E; 6x2min hills; 10min E REST 1hr15 E REST 5min E; 5x30sec RP, 30sec E; 5min E *21.1km at Planned Marathon Pace
16 Oct REST 45min rec REST 40min E; 5km TT – Flat out; 10min E REST 1hr15 E walk as needed on hills 2hr30 L with 1min walk every 3-5km
23 Oct REST 10min E; 8x400m, 1min rest; 10min E REST 1hr E REST 1hr E 1hr E
30 Oct REST 10min E; 10x1min RP, 1min E; 5min E
November training plan
 MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdaySunday
1 Nov REST 30min E REST 5min E; 5x30sec RP, 30sec E; 5min E 32km or 42km Race
6 Nov REST REST REST REST REST REST REST
13 Nov REST REST REST REST REST REST REST
20 Nov REST Walk 5min, run 20min E REST Walk 5min, run 25min E REST Walk 5min, run 30min E Walk 5min, run 45min E
27 Nov REST Walk 5min, run 30min E REST Walk 5min, run 40min E
December training plan
 MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdaySunday
1 Dec REST Walk 5min, run 50min E Walk 5min, run 1hr E
4 Dec REST 40min E REST 50min E REST 1hr E 1hr15 E
11 Dec REST 30min E REST 30min E REST 45min E 1hr E
18 Dec REST 50min REST 1hr E REST 1hr10 E 1hr30 L
25 Dec Merry Christmas 1hr E REST 1hr E REST 1hr20 E Old Years Eve 10km

Training