Bill Rowan Medal Programme


Comrades 2020 Bill Rowan Program by Lindsey Parry – Official coach of the Comrades Marathon Association:

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As with 2018, we will continue wit the changes. The major change bringing the Marathon into November, this aligns better with 2 of South Africas big end of year races and also fits in better with the Northern Hemisphere Marathon Season.

Our goals for 2019 are 3-fold: 1) to continue to improve your consistency and capacity to do work 2) Make you a stronger and faster runner 3) to qualify with a sub 3:30 Marathon.

On the way to achieving the sub 3:30 Marathon we will look to break the following times:

5km: 21:30
8km: 35:35
10km: 44:30
15km: 1:09:00
21.1km: 1:39:00
20 Miles/32km: 2:36:30

Moving the qualifier forward slightly means we can get into a better training groove early in 2020, opening the door to either improving your speed a bit more or doing another qualifier if necessary. Particularly with Comrades falling on the 14th of June in 2020.

For the 2020 Comrades, I have also taken into account the stats, kindly provided to me by Mark Dowdeswell and Comrades to plan the programme. The main changes will be seen in Jan to June 2020, and to plan the pacing charts.

58.12% of B Batch Starters finish the race under 9:00 with 4% of these achieving Silver, with 1 athlete getting a GOLD. 20.64% of C Batch starters receive a Bill Rowan Medal

Training for a Bill Rowan and getting a Sub 3:30 Marathon are by no means a Guarantee for achieving a Silver finish. Based on my experience and discussions with runners who were not successful, this year and in past years, I have come up with a few possible reasons for this.

Your Bill Rowan is at risk if your Sub 3:30 is borderline and:

  • Achieved at Sea Level (3:23)
  • Achieved on a downhill course (3:20)
  • Achieved in temperatures lower than 19 degrees Celsius (3:20)
  • You do not follow a very strict, conservative race plan (3:20)
  • It is compounded by combing 2 or more of these factors (3:16)

(In brackets, I have put down what I believe to be more appropriate times in these conditions)

Who should follow this programme?

  • Comrades finishers who have run sub 10hrs
  • Comrades Novices who can run a half Marathon in sub 1hr45
  • Comrades Novices who have come close to/or have broken 3hrs40 for a Marathon

If you do not fall into these categories then read through the introduction to the other programme options to select the appropriate programme. DO NOT follow this programme thinking that the extra mileage will guarantee a finish. The biggest single threat to you finishing Comrades is getting injured, place a premium on recovery and ensuring this through following the appropriately designed programme for you.

This programme is time based so people of more experience and greater running ability will get relatively more out of the programme and progress faster. Time based programs also prevent you from settling on a route that you need to run faster every time you do it. It is easier to maintain discipline and run easy on the easy days. I must again emphasise here that being injury free and consistent in your training is the key to a successful race, easy days are there to ensure full recovery so you can get the most out of every days training.

There are recovery weeks built into the programme every 4 weeks, do not be tempted to do more as this will only compromise you later in the programme, leading to injury, illness and under performance in goal races.

Training days are interchangeable, if your club has Time Trials (TT) on a Tuesday or Wednesday you can swap Thursday with one of these days.

If you did not run Comrades and have been training consistently for a number of weeks already, you can adapt this programme to focus on races in September and October.

For the dates of races in your area you can go to www.runnersguide.co.za for a full fixture list.

In closing, the down run offers a unique challenge in terms of the eccentric load (Pounding). It is therefore highly recommended that you start following a strength programme now to ensure your legs are very strong come 10 June 2020.

Training Paces:

Easy (E): 5:00-5:30/km
Long (L): 5:05-5:50/km
Recovery (rec): 5:40-6:05/km
2min Hills: 4:25-4:30/km
1min Hills: 4:09-4:15/km
400m: 1:32-1:36/km
RP:  5:55/km

These paces are a guide for someone who is training for a 3hr30 Marathon, aim to run at or around these paces taking note of how easily you recover.

Enjoy the training!

Download the 2020 Bill Rowan training plan Jul - Dec 2019: Download

  Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
8 Jul REST 45min E 30min E 45min E REST 50min E 1hr E
15 Jul REST 50min E 40min E 50min E REST 1hr E 1hr10 E
22 Jul REST 45min E 30min E 45min E REST 50min E 1hr E
29 Jul  REST 1hr E  50min E         

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