As I slowly go from running to not and back again due to a niggly right achilles tendon, this worthy bit of advice from the king of Comrades, Bruce Fordyce, appeared in my feed reader:
At the risk of sounding like a stuck record, every year, in January, I repeat my advice ad nauseum. We now accept that a runner can only train very hard for about 8-10 weeks. (Tim Noakes “The lore of Running”) This means that the critical intense training period for the Comrades marathon starts at the beginning of March. Allowing for a two to three week gradual taper to race day it ends about three quarters of the way through May. This has been proven to be the correct advice countless times and yet for some obscure reason thousands of Comrades runners, scattered all over the World start frantically flogging themselves as soon as the New Year starts. It’s as if they are all trying to re-invent the wheel by defying sensible, seasoned advice and it seems as if they’re all determined to see who can be first to invite injury and illness to ruin their 2018 Comrades marathons. I had to remind my distraught friend that the Comrades marathon is half a year, and two seasons away. The race is about as distant from us as the planet Pluto is to Earth. Here, where I live in Johannesburg I have always used the seasons as a guide as to when I should be training flat out for the Comrades. It’s the correct time for hard training when I’m running on dark mornings and the sun is setting early during my evening runs. It should be cold with a hint of winter in the air and the roads should be strewn with crisp dry autumn leaves. At the moment it’s hot and sultry in Johannesburg. Its swimming pool weather. It is very definitely not “comrades time”. That time will come but we’ve a few weeks to go still.
— It's Far Too Early to Get Serious About Comrades Training!
This time last year I'd already clocked over 750km of training and was feeling strong and confident in my training towards Comrades. I've only covered 289km so far this year and am starting to panic that if I don't get on the road soon, I'm going to be crawling across the finish line in Durban with a few seconds to spare before the 12 hour cut off.
Bruce's article was like music to my eyes and just the pick-me-up I needed. Yes, London isn't likely to be blazingly quick this year, but I'm not too fussed. My big race for this year is Comrades and I want to be sure I get there strong and in one piece.