What to do Next…


the last six to eight months, Comrades consumed your mind and your time, and
now suddenly there seems to be this big void. Despite the pain and suffering
endured on the 3rd of June, it’s amazing how quickly you start
chomping at the bit to start running again. In my case, it’s my wife who can’t
wait for me to start running again… I tend to get a bit cranky after a few days
without a run.


bottom line is that you have just covered 90km on foot, and if you think back
to race day, you’ll remember just how far that really is… as you constantly reminded
yourself almost every kilometre from around the 60km mark! You have put your
body under tremendous stress, pounding out over 90 000 foot strikes during the
race, and in tests done by Professor Tim Noakes, he found that athletes’ exercising
heart rate was elevated for up to a month after the race.



many runners want to know how much rest they need, and when they can start
running again. This varies from person to person, depending on age, fitness, total
mileage done and how hard you raced the Big C. For example, a first-time
finisher would probably have run up to a 56km ultra or 60-65km long club run, and
on race day everything beyond that was new territory for the body, which would result
in more damage. In contrast, a runner with 20 Comrades medals has covered that
distance many times and will recover a lot quicker. But regardless of how many
Comrades you’ve run, you’re still going to need time to recover.


listen to your body! Stay off your legs until that ache
in the muscles has gone. If this was your first Comrades, stay away from
running for a minimum of one month. It’s also important to remember that the Up
Run and the Down Run are very different in terms of recovery. I find that
although the Up is tougher in terms of the amount of hills you have to climb,
the damage done to your legs is far less than that of the Down, which involves
a lot more pounding. Norrie Williamson describes the Down Run beautifully when
he says, “You’re so sore, your blood hurts!”



leaves the question of what you can do in the meantime while taking a break
from the road? For starters, you can spend a lot more time with your family,
friends, hobbies… and your job. Chances are that these got the scraps of what
was left of you during those hard training weeks. So take the time to enjoy the
extra time you have available, and rediscover what it means to have a social
life. And there are still many ways to keep fit, while also helping the body to
recover quicker:

Hit the pool: Swimming is
a great exercise to keep your cardio up and to strengthen your core and upper
body, and of course, there’s no pounding on the legs.

Run in the
If you still want to ‘run,’ get hold of an aqua-jogger belt and go for
a jog in the pool. It can be a great workout, and again, no pounding on the
legs. Keep it interesting by mixing it up, for example: 5min easy to warm up, then
6×2:30min hard with 30sec recovery between, finishing off with an easy 5min
cool-down. Be creative.

Hit the gym: Get a great
cardio workout on the spinning bikes, rowing machines or elliptical trainers.

This is also a great time to do some upper body and core strength training.


you know it you’ll be back on the road and heading toward your next goal… perhaps
Comrades 2013?