Loading Live Scoring...
*All times CAT (GMT+2)

Comrades training - February 2013

Training for the 2013 Comrades Marathon

The February programme

Welcome to the February 2013 edition of Supersport's Comrades Marathon training programme.

Lack of, or incorrect stretching can lead to injury, especially during the months leading up to Comrades.  As we pick up the weekly mileage, the need to regularly stretch tight muscle becomes more crucial.   As your mileage starts to climb, your muscles will naturally be getting stiffer due to the increased work load.  You need to counter these effects by stretching the muscles on a regular basis.

It is appropriate at this stage of the year to remind ourselves of the need to stretch adequately and discuss how to stretch correctly.  See below for advice on stretching.

Let's look at February's training schedule:


1. To comfortably run three half marathons.

This year for the first time I can ever remember, the Springs Striders 32 km race does not fall out in February, but on Sunday 3 March instead . It is worth waiting till March to run your 32 km race as the Colgate Springs 32 races is a classic and an absolute "Must"!

March is when we run our qualifying marathon.  If you live up in Gauteng an ideal race for that marathon is the Jackie Gibson marathon on Sunday 24 March.  This means that during March this year we will be running a 32 km race as well as a marathon. During February, we will then look at running three half marathons in a row, and then a 10 km race.  See the next point below.

2.  To maintain a steady 50 - 60 km per week

During the month of February the weekly mileage climbs to around 50 - 60 km per week. This is achieved by doing the following training:

The basic weekly pattern consists of running a 10 km training run on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  The Wednesday and Saturday runs will vary between 5 km or 8 km, or even a rest day depending on the the total mileage needed to be achieved each week.  Mondays and Fridays are always rest days. The Sundays are the days for the weekly long run, and in Gauteng this year there is a half marathon every Sunday during February.

These are the Alberton on  3 February, the Pick 'n Pay on 10 February, the Pirates on 17 February and the Township on  24 February.  I would suggest doing a half marathon on the first three Sundays, and cutting back during the fourth week and running the Alberton 10 km option instead, in preparation for the Striders 32 km the following week on 5 March.

There are also the two "Nite" races in February for those who enjoy running in the early evening/night.

They are the McCarthy Volkswagen Constantia Kloof 15 km Nite Race on the evening of 6 February organised by the Khosa Sports Club, and the Randburg Harriers 10 km Valentines Nite race, run from the Randburg Central Sports Complex on Friday 15 February.

If you do choose to run one or both these night races, please adjust the other runs, and/or reduce the length of the long Sunday run, so your weekly mileage is still maintained.

3. To mentally prepare yourself for your marathon qualifier next month.

February's training is centered  around the build-up towards your Comrades qualifying marathon.  As mentioned above, the Springbok Jackie Gibson Marathon is the one to run. Start mentally preparing yourself for this run while you do your February training.

Total weekly mileage: 51 km, 54 km, 59 km, 48 km

All runs at this time of the year are still run at a leisurely pace, with no speed work at all.

Total Monthly mileage: 217 km

Although this is only slightly more than last month, there are 3 days less in February compared to January.  The weekly mileage however, has gone up quite a bit.

Road race distances to be achieved: 1x 10 km, 3x21 km

If all the Sunday long runs could be completed, it would be an excellent achievement.  However, if you have a slight injury, or are feeling over trained, leaving out one or two of these long runs at this stage of the year is not a catastrophe.  If you don't run a long Sunday run, then try to run 10 km on the Saturday as well as on the Sunday.

Highlight of the month: None

The highlight of the month was to have been to run a 32 race, but as the Striders 32 race is now in March there is no real highlight this month.  The challenge for next month is to run the 32 km race as well as a marathon, and then following that with an Ultra marathon in April.  But let's not get ahead of ourselves at this stage.

Let's look at the actual daily training required during February 2013:

Daily training  - February 2013
Week ending: 3/2 10/2 17/2 24/2
Monday Rest  Rest  Rest  Rest
Tuesday 10 km  8 km  10 km  10 km
Wednesday  5 km 10 km   8 km 10 km
Thursday  10 km  10 km  10 km  10 km
Friday Rest  Rest  Rest  Rest
Saturday 5 km 5 km  10 km 10 km
Sunday 21 km 21 km 21 km 10 km
Race Alberton Pick n Pay  Pirates  Township
Total 51 km 54 km 59 km 50 km

Let's look at all the races on offer in the Central Gauteng region during February this year:

February 2013 races in the Central Gauteng area
Date   Race  Distance Venue
Sun 3 February  Alberton Half Marathon & 10 km 21 km & 10 km Alberton Rugby Stadium 
Wed 6 February McCarthy Volkswagen Constantia Kloof 15 km Nite Race 15 km Khosa Sports Club
Sun 10  February Zoo Trot 10 km 10 km Jhb Zoo
Sun 10 February Pick 'n Pay Marathon & Half 42.2 km & 21.1 km Saheti School
Fri 15 February Randburg Harriers Valentine's Nite Race  10 km Randburg Sports Complex 
Sun 17 February Pirates Half Marathon 21.1 km Pirates Club
Sun 24 February Township Marathon, Half Marathon & 10 km Run/Walk 42 km, 21.1 km & 15 km Eldorado Park Stadium

Let's now turn our attention to how to get maximum benefit from stretching

How you should stretch:

A common attitude of athletes is that they must suffer to benefit ? "no pain, no gain".  This is certainly not true of stretching as over vigorous stretching may result in a muscle injury.

Stretching should be done slowly with no bouncing or jerky movements.  Stretch to the point of slight discomfort.  Hold this feeling of a slight stretch for 15-30 seconds.  Do not strain or hold a stretch that is painful. A bouncy movement or stretching a muscle too vigorously activates the stretch reflex, causing the muscle to contract involuntarily, thereby tightening the muscles you are trying to stretch.

Many runners stretch incorrectly.  They bounce up and down or struggle to hold painful positions.  What they are actually doing could be called ?tearing and tightening?.  It is only through controlled, relaxed stretching that you will be able to increase flexibility and reduce muscle tension without injuring tissues.

Breathe slowly, deeply and naturally, exhale as you bend forward.  Do not stretch to a point where you cannot breathe normally.  Stretch within your own limits and do not compare yourself with others.  Some people are more flexible than others, and on some days we are more flexible than on other days.

When you should do the stretching exercises:

Stretching should be done before and particularly after running, but actually can be done at any time such as at work, in a car, waiting for a bus or in the bath.  Each position should be repeated 5-7 times. Ideally, stretching should be done daily.

Which muscles need to be stretched:

Running long distances causes the muscles involved in running to become inflexible and short. Doing regular stretching exercises counteracts these effects and reduces the risk of injury. Running also produces relative muscle imbalances, thus requiring certain strengthening exercises to restore balance.

Runners should concentrate on stretching the following muscles:

The calf muscles (gastrocnemius and soleus), thigh muscles (quadriceps, hamstrings), groin (abductors), buttocks (gluteal), outside of knee and thigh (iliotibial band) and back (extensors).

They should also strengthen the shin muscles (tibialis anterior), thigh (quadriceps) and stomach (abdominal) muscles.

Some people require more stretching in certain areas than others, and so you should do extra stretching of the area you particularly need.

There are eight main stretches:

1. The Calf Stretch

Use a wall or tree for support and lean on it with your forearms, your head resting on your hands.  One leg is bent, the other straight behind you.  The heel is flat on the ground, the toes pointing forward.  Slowly move your hips forward until you feel a stretch in the calf of the straight leg.  (This can also be done with both legs simultaneously).

2. Additional Calf Stretch

From the above position, simply bend your knee while still keeping the heel on the ground.  You should now feel the pull lower down in the calf.

3. Hamstring Stretch

Sitting with one leg bent and the other straight, lean forward (keeping the back as straight as possible), thus stretching the hamstrings of the straightened leg.  (This can also be done with both legs straight).

4. Additional Hamstring Stretch

The above position can be maintained while gently drawing the ankle of the outstretched leg towards the forehead while you sit upright.

5. Quadriceps Stretch

Sitting with one leg straight and the other in the hurdle position, slowly lean back to stretch the quadriceps.  Make sure that your back is fully supported with your hands and arms.

6. Groin Stretch

Sit with the soles of the feet facing each other, the feet are well tucked in, the back straight and the hands grasp the feet.  Now stretch the groin by pushing the knees outwards towards the ground.

7. Buttocks Stretch

While sitting, pull on the leg towards your chest with both hands.  The stretch is felt in the buttocks.

8. Iliotibial Band Stretch

Sit with the right leg straight and the left placed flat on the ground on the outside of the right knee.  The left hand rest on the ground.  Your right elbow rests on the outside of the left leg.  Now turn your head to look over your left shoulder, your upper body (but not hips) following.  Gently push your right elbow against your bent leg to stretch the Iliotibial band.

That's the info on February training and on stretching.

See you in March .....

Recent columns

All Columns



Event Streaming

Channel Streaming

Other Live Streaming

Event Streaming

Channel Streaming