How fast should you run 10km to get a sub 11 Comrades Marathon finish?

Yesterday on Ask Coach Parry we focused on your times in a 10km, 21km and 42km in order to get the Comrades Marathon Vic Clapham medal, the sub 12 hour finishers’ medal. And as promised today we are going to chat about a sub 11 Comrades Marathon medal. Lindsey you obviously mentioned yesterday, it is not an exact sign, but it will give people a rough guide on what they should be aiming for over the shorter distances. What should your 10km, half marathon and marathon time be if you are aiming for a sub 11 at the Comrades Marathon?

In what time should I be running 10km?

LINDSEY PARRY:  Yes, so if you are going for that Comrades Marathon bronze medal, you want to be just sneaking under 60 minutes for 10 kilometres, so 58, 60 maybe 62 minutes.

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Comrades Marathon Vic Clapham finishers medal – How fast must you run?

On Ask Coach Parry today we are starting a series of 5 episodes that deal with your times for various distances and how they relate to which finishers medal you’re aiming for at the Comrades Marathon. We will start with the medal that most people get at Comrades Marathon.

The Comrades Marathon Vic Clapham finisher’s medal. If you look at that Vic Clapham medal, realistically what should you be running a 10 kilometre, a half marathon and a marathon to be able to comfortably finish and get a Vic Clapham at the Comrades Marathon?

LINDSEY PARRY:  I am going to start the answer by saying that these numbers are not an exact sign so they are based on calculations and sort of predictive formula so there is a bit of leeway on either side because the one problem I do find in these things, is I throw numbers out to people and they go oh my word, I am never going to get there.

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Where do you draw the line when it comes to running with a head cold?

Welcome to another episode of Ask Coach Parry and it is Jacqueline Kellermans’ question we answer now. This is a question that has got to do with being sick. Jacqueline has got a race coming up and she says she has got a head cold and she is pulling out of the race.

She has read online that as long as the symptoms are not in the chest and you do not have a fever, you can still run. What is the thinking behind a head cold? When should you and could you run and when should you not?

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LINDSEY PARRY: Look, whenever you are sick, if it is avoidable to run, then do not run. So, when I mean is it avoidable, is this your last chance to qualify for a race or is this the race that you have been training for the whole year?

Does the thought of the Comrades Marathon up runs’ hills scare you?

In today’s Comrades Marathon related question on Ask Coach Parry, we answer a question from Nazreen. She says, “Thanks for all the valuable advice. 2015 will be my second comrades and it scares me because it has so many climbs. How can I improve my hill running (endurance) gradually, to prepare for all those climbs?”

LINDSEY PARRY:  I am going to tell you exactly how to do it, but also to take the thinking out of it. You can just download one of the programmes from the Comrades website, and most of the programmes do have some sort of hill training build-up in them.

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Do you struggle to understand Comrades Marathon training programme lingo?

In this episode of Ask Coach Parry we answer a question sent in by  Nicholas Nyangal. He is asking about some of the terminology and references you use when talking about Comrades Marathon Training. Nicholas was asking for you to explain what you mean by walk 5 minutes easy, jog 20 minutes, walk 1 minute times 2, walk 5 minutes. What do you mean by walk 1 minute times 2? So, you know what I am talking about? If you can explain those sort of things in your training programmes?

Understanding the Comrades Marathon training programmes.

LINDSEY PARRY:  Yes, so essentially, the first 5 minute walk is just to get the heart rate going slightly warmer and there will be a comma after that, and then you will get into the actual programme.

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Where does a beginner start their Comrades Marathon Training?

In this episode of Ask Coach Parry, we have a Comrades Marathon training question Kate Theron. She said “Hi coach. I would like to start training for Comrades 2016. I saw on the website that you have a programme posted for finishers that you can recommend beginners modify a bit.” Could you maybe tell her how she could modify that programme so that she can start from the beginning? Thanks so much, Kate.

Can I go from couch to Comrades Marathon?

LINDSEY PARRY:  Okay, what is even better is that on the run-talk SA websites, we have actually got a programme that is a 21 kilometers for beginners, so it is basically from 0 to 21 kilometers.

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Comrades Marathon: Training for a Bronze medal with a 25 min 5km

Today’s question on the Ask Coach Parry podcast was submitted by from Bernard Van Den Dool. Bernard’s said that due to over-use type injuries, his first two attempts at the Comrades Marathon had failed.

Post the Comrades Marathon this year, he adopted your post Comrades Marathon training programme in Tom Cottrell’s race date booklet.

The program has been a bit less than he normally did. A better build-up to what he has been trying to do over the last two years.

Needless to say, he is quite excited with his progress. His recent 5 kilometre time trial with hills is 25:30. The question is where to from this programme after December as the programme is more than the Comrades Marathon Bronze medal programme but less than the Comrades Marathon Bill Rowan programme?

His aim is to finish with a bronze and avoid to any over-use injuries in the build-up to the 2015 Comrades Marathon.

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Trusting your Comrades Marathon coach and their pacing charts

In this episode of Ask Coach Parry we touch on a topic that was mentioned in our first Comrades Marathon webinar for the 2015 Comrades Marathon (The can register for the next one here). It is quite interesting and it deals with Comrades Marathon training and Comrades Marathon coaches.

Obviously in the build up to the Comrades Marathon, you want to find a coach training philosophies you can work with and fit to your style of running and what you’re looking to get out of the Comrades Marathon. But then you need to stick that coach’s advice, and that includes using that coach’s Comrades Marathon pacing charts on race day.

We used a football example in the webinar.  It’s like Sir Alex Ferguson coaching Manchester United all season, but then on match day they listen to Joe Soap for the match tactics.  It’s not going work and they’re not going win.  It is pretty much the same with the Comrades Marathon.

There’s lots of Comrades Marathon pacing charts around and online.  There are lots of Comrades Marathon training programmes around and online.  What advice could you give to someone in the build up to the Comrades Marathon, training a specific way and then using a different pacing chart on, on race day?

LINDSEY PARRY:  Look, obviously it’s same as when it comes to actual coaching methodologies. Different coaches are going to differ in their opinion on how to run on Comrades Marathon race day.

But I do find that a little crazy, when somebody invests so much time and energy in a particular person or coach, often invests money in that coach, and then decides to use their own pacing strategy or someone else’s pacing strategy because they don’t buy into what the coach is saying.

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Lowering carbohydrates and increasing fat to improve your running

In this episode of Ask Coach Parry we chat about how the body uses fat for energy as opposed to carbohydrates. Patrick Kongsilp. submitted his question, and it says:

“Hi Coach.  So I’ve come to the realisation that I’ve been too dependent on carbohydrates for the past few years to fuel my training runs.  My weight remains steady at 72.5 kg’s, yet high for my height.  Despite the fact that my weekly mileage has increased since August, from 56 km per week to 80 km per week.”

He suspects that during the majority of his training runs his body was consuming carbohydrates and not properly trained to utilise fat.  Hence, he was basically wasting energy carrying dead weight fat, which was slowing him down.

His marathon PB was a 3:08”10 back in 2004, so ten years ago, where he weighed 64kg.  It was about 8 kg lighter than he is now.  The best he’s been able to do since then was a 3:19 back in 2012.

He’s got a Comrades Marathon PB of 8:52 in 2012 as well.  Looking back, he thinks he was eating a lot less carbohydrate, and his body was trained to utilise fat.

Recently he’s cut down on his carbohydrate intake to normal levels, and stopped using energy gels during his training runs, although his weight is slowly decreasing.  He’s now down to 70.8.  He’s been able to do long runs at a much slower pace.

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Ensure you’re following the right Comrades Marathon training programme

On this episode of the Ask Coach Parry we chat about choosing the right Comrades Marathon training programme for you. Today’s question was submitted by Barbara Florence. She attended one of the Comrades Marathon webinars that I did this week and she really enjoyed it.

Barbara is sitting with a bit of a, a dilemma at the moment.  It’s a great question and I’m sure you can help, and I’m sure there are lots of people sitting with the same problem.

She says she’s undecided as to which Comrades Marathon training programme she should target, and she was hoping that you could help.  She ran her first Comrades Marathon this year.  She finished in 11:28, but has been plagued with injuries related to her hips and pelvis.

She’s taken a good few years to get to this point and she also knows that the Comrades Marathon up run is going to be slower, but she really wants to improve her time.

Her best marathon time is about 4 and a half hours. She ran her first Two Oceans ultra last year and she ran a 6:02. She’s got a half-marathon PB of 1:52.

What Comrades Marathon training  programme should she be on, and what should she be targeting as a Comrades finish time?

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