Who’s Who At Comrades 2010

Aiming for a Sub-90 minute Half Marathon


I’m running an average of about 30km a week and am trying to run a sub-90 minute half marathon. My current PB is 102 minutes. I only started running two months ago and am 17 years old. What should my ideal training consist of? – EITAN RAPPOPORT

Running a 102 min half marathon means you are no slouch – and that on only 30km per week! I have no information reference with regard to the type of training your 30km consists of, but looking at the 21.1km distance, I would recommend the following additions:
Start your week with no less than 8km runs per day and add at least two speed/muscle endurance sessions into your programme. These could be either fartlek (play with speed) or track work.

  Fartlek can consist of running four lamp poles fast and three slow for a duration of typically 20-30 minutes, ensuring you maintain the quality.

  Track work can consist of six 300m runs with about a 3min rest/recovery in between. Add in about four 600m
for muscle endurance. Recovery between these should be about 1:30.

Remember to always warm up before each session by doing a few run-throughs (this means running 100m slow, and speeding up until you are going flat out. Repeat approximately seven times).

Your weekly time trial should alternate between 4km and 8km. Ensure you have a recovery day between quality sessions, but not a rest day.

I recommend a long run of +/- 20-25 km on the weekend, slow and gentle but continuous. An additional longer session of about 16km can be added on Wednesdays.

When you are planning to race remember that every eight weeks the body conditions to what you are doing. It becomes the norm. So changes in programmes and/or races should occur sometime after eight weeks or close to the end of eight weeks. Schedule your races to fit in those times. It is not smart to race in the first two weeks of a new programme because your body is still adapting.
Tapering for races is very individual. Some people prefer longer tapers while others apply the 72 hour recovery principal. An option for an athlete of your calibre might be to approach a coach because programmes should be designed for your specific strengths and weaknesses. However in the beginning it is okay to flounder around a
little. Watch your motivation and drive. Keep competitive but ensure that you don’t lose the passion for the sport.

Modern Athlete Expert – John Hamlett
John is one of the country’s top running coaches and has been involved in running for more than 33 years. He has trained Andrew Kelehe, the 2001 Comrades winner and Fusi Ntlapo, the 2003 Comrades winner.