Comrades Marathon training – January 1 to January 30

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

The New Year brings with it resolutions and new beginnings. Perhaps you have made a bet with someone, perhaps you want to challenge yourself. There is a mountain to climb, and the summit lies on the other side of the finish line at the 2022 Comrades Marathon. Whatever your motivation, the first few months of 2022 is a good time to lay a solid foundation for some serious Comrades training.

If you have been running for over a year now, and are comfortably handling a half marathon, but are unsure that you could make Comrades, you are in the right place. You would really love to there in August, then you are definitely in the right place. We will take you through this step by step, training run by training run, race by race.

In fact, you are in a very strong position: you know the scene and, surprisingly enough, you are already beginning to get “road hardened” especially after a year’s regular running. Maybe you have already gotten over the agonizing decision of which club to join. If you are still unsure, give the Nedbank people a call, they will be only too happy to help.

Many, many runners we have trained over the years have been amazed at how deceptively easy it is to slowly increase the distance you run in training and races. The other thing is, there are many other runners out there like you, who aren’t quite sure how to go about Comrades training, the old hands at the club seem to keep it a big secret.

Based on many years of experience and hundreds of Comrades medals success stories, we have designed a comfortable training programme. The plan is to graduate to a marathon runner, then an ultra-marathoner and finally onto running royalty, a Comrades finisher.

In Don’s case, he waited nearly three years before he had the courage to go for Comrades, mainly because nobody was really prepared to help him, step by step.

Over the years we have developed a programme that takes runners by the hand and leads them gently on and up. The fear of failure, of course, is very real at Comrades, but this programme develops confidence of achieving longer and longer distances so that when you line up at the start, you know you can run the longest you have ever gone before. You have already done just that thing for the last 10 months, every single month.

We call it “biteable bits and chewable chunks.” That is how we slowly progress month by month, step by step. Over the last 20 years we have helped more than 800 runners win their first Comrades medal by using this programme.