Many of us trained for months leading up to Comrades. Then finally Comrades day came and whether you achieved your goal or not, Comrades is done and dusted and now is the time to train smarter and faster! You might just surprise yourself and run your 10km PB 12 weeks from now. But this programme is not just aimed at long distance runners wanting to get those legs moving faster. It is also aimed at shorter distance runners who want to try a fresh approach or improve their running times. – BY DERICK MARCISZ
Many long distance runners always ask the same question: what running should I be doing after Comrades? Well firstly I believe that all Comrades or Ironman competitors should take some time off from structured training after a long tough event that they have trained hard for over a number of months. This rest period should be anything from three to six weeks!
When one looks at the training that most Comrades or Ironman athletes do, it is usually between three and five months of regular base building training and hill work that brings them to a good overall fitness level. Why not capitalize on this ‘base fitness’ and do some faster running? Maybe even have a crack at your PB over a short distance like 10km.
The Run Faster Programme
The Run Faster Programme will be run over the months of July, August and September.
Some basic principles for the Programme are:
Rest five weeks after Comrades, which means you will be starting this programme on Monday 5 July.
Aim to run four to five times a week during July.
Keep most of the runs short (8-10km) with one longer easy run of 12-14km on the weekend.
Stay fresh and rest if tired.
Do not run the faster speed sessions on tired legs!
Speed is Relative
It is important to remember that we can all run faster relative to our abilities or previous race times. Also remember that faster running is for everyone, irrespective of age or ability!
For the first month, there are two types of faster running:
Fartlek repetitions: These are two minutes of faster running. You can do this on the road or on grass fields/track or even cross-country. Two minutes is good because it is short enough to run hard, but not long enough to become an endurance fast run. Run these starting easy and building up to full speed by the end of the two minutes – it is not a flat out run. The two minute recovery must be a jog! This session is a good introduction to running faster. Remember to warm up 3km before you run fast and always jog 1-2km as a cool down.
Strides: This was one of my favourite sessions when I was a competitive runner! Warm up with a 3-4km run, then do the following on a track or on grass. If needs be it can also be done on the road. The session is done by ‘striding’ the straights of a track or the length of a field and ‘jogging’ the bends or the widths of the field. On the road stride for one or two lampposts and jog the same. Start with 10-12 strides (five/six laps) with a maximum of ten laps. Again do a cool down jog of about 2km.
Both of these sessions allow you to play with the faster running, starting slowly and building up to faster speeds. The strides session helps you develop the form and flexibility for faster running and is actually a lot of fun after months of long slow running.
The absence of specific distances and target times takes the pressure off runners at the start of a programme like this. Check out the programme on the left – this may just be the push you need to make you faster, stronger and tougher.
See you on the road this winter!
Don’t forget to look out for next month’s issue of Modern Athlete in which we will be featuring the next four weeks of this exciting training programme.
WEEK 1 – 4 July to 10 July
Sunday 4 July Long run – 12km easy at steady relaxed pace
Monday 5 July Rest
Tuesday 6 July Fartlek – 4 x 2min fast with 2min easy recovery (see fartlek training)
Wednesday 7 July Steady run – 10km steady run
Thursday 8 July Easy or rest – 8km very easy or rest
Friday 9 July Rest
Saturday 10 July Strides – 4 laps striding the straights/jogging the bends (see stride training – 8 strides)
WEEK 2 – 11 July to 17 July
Sunday 11 July Long run – 12km easy at steady relaxed pace
Monday 12 July Rest
Tuesday 13 July Fartlek – 4 x 2min fast with 2min easy recovery (see fartlek training)
Wednesday 14 July Steady run – 10km steady run with last 1km brisk pace
Thursday 15 July Easy or rest – 8km very easy or rest
Friday 16 July Rest
Saturday 17 July Strides – 5 laps striding the straights/jogging the bends (see stride training – 10 strides)
WEEK 3 – 18 July to 24 July
Sunday 18 July Long run – 14km easy at steady relaxed pace
Monday 19 July Rest
Tuesday 20 July Fartlek – 5 x 2min fast with 2min easy recovery (see fartlek training)
Wednesday 21 July Steady run – 10km steady run with last 1km brisk pace
Thursday 22 July Easy or rest – 8km very easy or rest
Friday 23 July Rest
Saturday 24 July Strides – 6 laps striding the straights/jogging the bends (see stride training – 12 strides)
WEEK 4 – 25 July to 31 July
Sunday 25 July Long run – 14km easy
Monday 26 July Rest
Tuesday 27 July Fartlek – 5 x 2min fast with 2min easy recovery (see fartlek training)
Wednesday 28 July Steady run – 10km steady run with last 1km brisk pace
Thursday 29 July Rest
Friday 30 July Rest
Saturday 31 July Time trial – 4 or 5km at 85% effort to determine fitness to use as a base to improve
WEEK 5 – 1 August to 7 August
Sunday 1 August Long run -14 to 16km easy
Monday 2 August Rest
Tuesday 3 August Fartlek – 6 x 2min fast (see fartlek training)
Wednesday 4 August Steady run – 10km easy
Thursday 5 August Hill repeats 4 x 300m long hill – not too long concentrating on high knee lifts and fast ‘turnover’
Friday 6 August Rest
Saturday 7 August Strides – 6 strides (see stride training – 6 strides)
Derick Marcisz (55) has been involved in running, cycling and triathlons for over 40 years. He has run 25 sub-2:30 marathons with a marathon PB of 2:17.1 and a half marathon PB of 65:36. He has run all the major ultra marathons, including Comrades and Ironman and competed at provincial level in track, cross-country, road, duathlon and triathlon. Derick is the current 2010 SA Triathlon Champ for Olympic distance for age group 55-59 years. He has also been involved in coaching/assisting athletes for many years and is currently doing an ITU Triathlon Coaching Course.