I have just finished my third Comrades and have taken a full two-week break from running. How long is the recovery period after Comrades and how do I slowly start getting back into training again?
– DONALD, KZN
Firstly, congratulations on your third Comrades!
I recommend you rest one day for every kilometre raced, i.e. 89 days. This does not mean you should not run for 89 days. It implies that no real racing should commence in
Training is a different matter and should be started after your initial rest period of two weeks, but make it pleasant; add variations and be creative in keeping yourself fit. Look at increasing your strength during this time. Crosstraining like gym, cycling, spinning and light running will suffice, especially in the cold days ahead.
Crosstrain for one month then move to more serious training (not racing) starting with the shorter and faster distances. A couple of 10km and similar runs should help your physical and mental attitude, enabling you to prepare better for the season ahead and Comrades 2011.
Remember that the hype and vibe of
Comrades is still fresh in your mind but great improvement and performance comes from consistent training based around improving
your weaknesses and ensuring your strengths remain intact.
The next bunch of races like City to City and other standard marathons could be your new aim, but it will be smart to plan further ahead and work backwards from Comrades 2011 making these initial races more fun than intense racing. Remember that your mind needs just as much rest as your body.
In closing, listen to your body but remain in control of it!
Modern Athlete Expert
John is one of the country’s top running coaches and has been involved in running for more than 33 years. He has trained many top athletes including Andrew Kelehe, the 2001 Comrades winner and Fusi Ntlapo, the 2003 Comrades winner. John was recently appointed by Toyota as coach of its new elite team.