Plan­ning is vi­tal to suc­ceed

If you have a solid strat­egy at the start you will fin­ish the race – Parry

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - MATSHELANE MAMABOLO

THE OF­FI­CIAL Com­rades Marathon clock is on one day to go to­day. Some of the elite ath­letes will grudg­ingly gather for the of­fi­cial pre-race press con­fer­ence, their minds set not on an­swer­ing ques­tions from the pry­ing me­dia who have no clue what they are go­ing through, but rather on psych­ing them­selves up.

Just one more day, al­though many a novices – the re­al­ity of what they’ve signed up for sud­denly hit­ting home – will tell you there are two more sleeps to go. Whatever they can do to de­lay the in­evitable.

The 92nd edi­tion of ar­guably the world’s most fa­mous ul­tra-marathon takes place on Sunday start­ing from the Dur­ban City Hall to Pi­eter­mar­itzburg’s Scottsville Race­course with talk of the up run record in dan­ger of fall­ing.

While he wouldn’t want to delve into whether Leonid Shvetsov’s nine-year-old mark of 5:24: will be bro­ken or not, Com­rades Marathon coach Lind­sey Parry ad­vised run­ners to brace them­selves for “a long day of ever-in­creas­ing fa­tigue”.

“By the 36km point you have run three of the so­called Big Five hills and reached the sec­ond high­est point on the route. That’s an enor­mous amount of climb­ing. The legs will be heavy and tired.”

How then does he ad­vise that run­ners tackle the mon­ster? He reck­ons pac­ing your­self, es­pe­cially in the be­gin­ning, will get you your best pos­si­ble fin­ish time.

“The suc­cess of the up run re­volves around get­ting to the 50km mark with ‘runnable’ legs. Do this by in­sti­tut­ing a run-walk strat­egy dur­ing the first 36km, in par­tic­u­lar.”

He ad­vises that those aim­ing for a sil­ver medal (sub 7h30 fin­ish) should walk once on each hill; the Bill Rowan (sub 9hrs fin­ish) hope­fuls must walk a third of the hill and says those whose plan is to just fin­ish within the 12hr cut-off time must em­ploy the 1walk:1run strat­egy – that is they must re­peat the cy­cles of a twominute walk fol­lowed by a two minute run, for ex­am­ple.

“If you man­age your first 50km well, you should be able to run a sim­i­lar speed on the rolling hills from 50km on­wards. Then with 20km to go, even on tired legs, you should be able to make up quite a lot of time,” Parry adds.

The key, he says, is to have a plan.

“If you have a fixed strat­egy that takes out the guess work, it be­comes ha­bit­ual, easy and rhyth­mic.”

Like many ex­perts of The Ul­ti­mate Hu­man Race, Parry be­lieves Com­rades is a mind over mat­ter un­der­tak­ing.

“The Com­rades dis­tance is a long time to be on the move and un­der pres­sure,” he says be­fore ad­vis­ing that run­ners break a race that will bring with it the con­stant pres­sure of cut-off­times, phys­i­cal dis­com­fort or a low en­ergy patch that will get most run­ners need­ing a rea­son to keep go­ing into chunks be them of 15 to 30 min­utes, one kilo­me­tre at a time or one wa­ter point to the next.

“(Af­ter the 65km mark) You have two tip­ping points to look for­ward to – the mo­ment you go from 20 km to 19 km and from 10 km to nine km. From then on its all about the medal and by the time you en­ter the sta­dium you have forgotten all your trou­bles,” says Parry. “All you will be think­ing about is how to make the 2018 Com­rades Marathon even more com­fort­able.”

The Parry in­ter­view is cour­tesy of Dis­cov­ery. FO­CUSED ON WIN­NING: Gift Kelehe is not just tar­get­ing vic­tory at the Com­rades on Sunday, but he also wants to break the up-run record.

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