About Tom Cottrell

A struggling author, pilgrim and citizen of Planet Earth.

Comrades Marathon training – May 23 to June 19

Based on training schedules of the late Don Oliver, Comrades Coach. Adapted and edited by Tom Cottrell.

Beyond the marathon  

Your May – June Training Programme

Objective: To complete an ultra-marathon of 50 kilometres using a sensible mixture of running and walking, within a time limit of 6 hours.

How to measure if you have achieved it: Complete a 50 kilometre ultra-marathon around 4th to 12th June in 5hrs 45mins.

How to achieve it:

 1.        This is the beginning of our real Comrades training.
 2.        Our plan falls into three stages now:
                   Stage 1       Build-up to ultra – May/June.
                   Stage 2       Consolidate at marathon/ultra-level in June/July.
                   Stage 3       Wind down – taper End July to Mid-August.
 3.        All our races must be slightly slower speed than our mid-week training speed.
 4.        Our races have little stops every 4 kilometres – our training runs don’t.
 5.        Run on Sunday but think of Wednesday.  Don’t run too hard at the weekend and do nothing during the week.
 6.        Carefully study the wear on your shoes and make sure that you have comfortable well cushioned shoes in a good state of repair (uppers and the soles) for mid-June. Don’t forget socks.  Replace hard socks.
 7.        Get to bed early and eat well during June, July and August.
 8.        It is all worth it – nothing worthwhile comes easy in life.
 9.        Keep monitoring your tiredness and effort in the races, and teach yourself to slow down, walk, relax or stop if you are over-exerting yourself.
10.       Keep at least two week gaps between standard marathons and ultras.  Do club runs in between but only 15 kilometres.
11.       Create your own wind down programme for the week before a race, followed by the recovery days the next week.
12.       You can just begin to start feeling confident now – you are a genuine ultra-marathon runner.

  1. The rules remain – hard week – easy week and hard day – easy day.
  2. 50 km Ultra pacing is:- Halfway 2hr 40 mins; Standard 4hr 36 mins; Finish 5hr 45 mins.
  3. Construct your own Pacing Chart and study it so you know how to interpret it on race day.
  4. Examine your strengths and weaknesses. Build on your strengths; face your weaknesses next year.

Thought for the month:   “Qualified ultra-marathoners don’t feel tired when they pass through the standard marathon mark.”