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Comrades training - December 2012

Training for the Comrades 2013

Taking a break from serious Comrades training

It's time to go into "holiday mode" during the month of December.

December, while officially the last month of the calendar year, is only the 7th month of the Comrades training year. This means that time wise, you are now at the half-way point in your training.  For a number of reasons, December is a good time to "take your foot off the pedal" and ease back your training.

First of all, it's December!  It's the end of the year, and the time for resting and recuperation, and even a bit of partying.

Secondly, the majority of your training for Comrades 2013 still lies ahead. There is still at least 1300 km of training left during the first half of 2012 before you run the Comrades. So resting during December is good for the mind as well as for the body. "Over training" at this stage in the year may well expose you to the risks of developing an injury.  Injuries commonly occur when the runner does not take sufficient breaks between periods of "high activity".  When January comes along, we will once again be in a period of "high activity" and this will continue for 5 months.  You would be well advised to grab the opportunity that December presents and simply "coast along" during the holiday season.

This does not mean taking the month off!  You will still be required to run around 35- 40 km per week.  All training should still be done at a very relaxed pace, with no single run being more than 10 km in length during the entire month of December.

If you like running alone, December seems the ideal time to do this and simply enjoy being "out there" and getting the miles under your belt.  If you go to the coast, it is an ideal way to take in the sights.

If you are going away, I have some specific points to which you should be alerted to while training on holiday:

1.  Beware of over training

When you are on holiday, you will suddenly find that you have a lot of extra time at your disposal for training.  You are in new and scenic surroundings and, if you are at the coast,  running is suddenly very much easier because of there being more oxygen in the air. Because of this there is usually pressure from your running friends to go and explore all the scenic routes - the hillier and harder, the better!  Be careful not to let your surroundings and the holiday atmosphere interfere with what you know is your training limit.  Resist the urge to overdo the training.

2.  Avoid Dehydration

Runners tend to spend the whole day in the sun without taking in the necessary fluids.   This is then followed by going out for a long run without sufficient water points on the route. While on holiday you should drink regularly during the day in order to maintain a positive water balance before the run.  With the hot humid conditions you need to drink a lot more than in the cooler dry climate you are used to. Another alternative is to try and get your run done in the morning before going out into the sun.

3.  Avoid running in the soft sand

A favorite amongst the city dwellers is a barefoot run on the beach.  This is particularly dangerous. Firstly, the skin under the foot is soft and will very quickly form a huge blister. Secondly, the heel sinks deeper into the soft sand than when running on a harder surface.  This is true whether running with or without running shoes.  This puts extra strain of the calf muscles and achilles tendons and results in injury. Should you wish to run on the beach, run on the hard sand, close to the water's edge.  Better still, find a road running along the beach front and enjoy the view from there.

Lets look at the training for the month of December.

Month 7.  December


    1. To maintain a steady 35 - 40 km per week

Ideally, you should now be running at least four times a week.  Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays are rest days.  Tuesdays and Thursdays you could run a 10 km training run, and then add to that by running around 7 km on a Saturday.

    2. To gear yourself up mentally for the high mileage season, come Jan 1 2013

There is so much "serious" running ahead, that you run the risk of becoming "stale" and unmotivated later on in the year, should you not allow for some "time off" during the holidays of December.

    3. To enjoy your running, stay injury free, and not put on too much weight during the holidays

Try not to fall into the trap of getting in some "extra good training" as a result of having extra time available due to you being on holiday. There is a tendency for runners to overdo the training during December for a number of reasons.

There is usually lots more time available for training whilst on holiday, you are in new and scenic surroundings which you would like to explore, and  if you are at the coast,  running is suddenly very much easier because of there being more oxygen in the air.  So be careful not to let your surroundings and the holiday atmosphere interfere with what you know is your training limit.  Resist the urge to overdo the training.

December training should be done at a relaxed pace. Run distances and routes that are easy and fun, while at the same time maintain the endurance and fitness you have worked so hard to achieve. Watch what you eat!

Total weekly mileage: 32 km, 37 km, 37 km, 37 km and 37 km

In order to consider yourself "ready" to take on the stresses of continued "high mileage" come 1st January 2013, I feel you should be able to comfortably run around 35 -40 km per week without too much effort or injury.  If you are not managing this at this half way stage in the year, you should seriously consider not running Comrades in 2013, and setting your goal on doing it the following year.

Total Monthly mileage: 165 km

This is a little more than usual as there are five weekends this year in December.  The weekly total, however, stays the same.  The monthly total will steadily climb every month and in fact, will almost double about a month before Comrades.  But not to worry, by the time you get up to that mileage, you will be ready for it!

Road race (or "club run") distances to be achieved: 5x10 km

On the 1st Sunday of the month, 2nd December, there is the Soul City Half Marathon & 10 km run from the University of Johannesburg.  Run the 10 km option.

On the second Sunday, 9 December there is the Orlando half marathon 10  km & 5 km race. The new distances offered this year are the half marathon as well as a 5 km option.

I would suggest running the 10 km race.  For family members who would like to join in and have a fun run, the 5 km option sounds like a good opportunity. Please note the new venue: Orlando Rugby Ground, next to Orlando Police Station, as well as the new start Time: 07h00

Don't forget the annual Wobblers & Wigglers Hat Race fun run at the Pirates Running club, this year held on Sunday 16 December, which is run over a distance of 8.32 km.

There is not much more by the way of formal runs in December, so 10 km "club runs", or "lone" runs are the order of the day. Enjoy just "being out there".

Highlight of the month: None

This is intentional!  December is the time for "stress free running" and no "personal best" achievements.

Daily training  - December 2012
Week ending: 2/12 9/12 16/12 23/12 30 /12
Monday Rest  Rest  Rest Rest  Rest
Tuesday 5 km 10 km 10 km 10 km 10 km
Wednesday  Rest Rest Rest Rest Rest
Thursday  10 km 10 km 10 km 10 km 10 Km
Friday Rest  Rest  Rest  Rest  Rest
Saturday 7 km 7 km 7 km 7 km 7 km
Sunday 10 km 10 km 10 km 10 km 10 km
Race: Soul Orlando "Club run" "Club Run" "Club run"
Total 32 km 37 km  37 km  37 km 37 km

Race calendar for December 2012 in the Gauteng region
Race date Race KM Venue
1 December 2012 World Aids Day Tembisa 8 km Fun Run/Walk and Street Mile  8 km Moses Molelekwa Arts Centre 
2 December 2012 Soul City Half Marathon & 10 km 21.1 & 10 km  University of Johannesburg
9 December 2012 Zoo Trot 10 km & 5 km Run/Walk 10 & 5 km Centenary Lawn
9 December 2011 Orlando half marathon 10  km & 5 km 21.1 & 10 & 5 km Orlando Rugby Ground
16 December 2011 Wobblers & Wigglers Hat Race fun run 8.32 km Pirates Club

Have a restful December and see you back in January for some serious Comrades training.

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