Isavel Roche-Kelly / Silver Medal Programme


Comrades 2020 Isavel Roche-Kelly / Silver Medal Programme by Lindsey Parry – Official coach of the Comrades Marathon Association:

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This year we will continue along the lines of 2018, the changes in the programme are small for July to December. 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 hour Marathon.

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

5km: 18:25
8km: 30:15
10km: 38:00
15km: 59:00
21.1km: 1:25:00
20 Miles/32km: 2:14:00

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.

Only 37.87% of A Batch Starters finish the race under 7:30, this number includes Golds and Wally Hayward medals, while 4.76% of B batch starters finish under 7:30.

Training for a Silver and getting an A seed 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 Silver is at risk if your Sub 3 is borderline and:

  • Achieved at Sea Level (2:54)
  • Achieved on a downhill course (2:52)
  • Achieved in temperatures lower than 19 degrees Celsius (2:52)
  • You do not follow a very strict, conservative race plan (2:50)
  • It is compounded by combing 2 or more of these factors (2:50)

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

Who should follow the Silver programme?

  • Comrades finishers who have run sub 8hrs
  • Comrades Novices who can run a half Marathon in sub 90min
  • Comrades Novices who have come close to/or have broken 3hrs 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.

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): 4:25-5:00/km
Long (L): 4:30-5:10/km
Recovery (rec): 5:00-5:25/km
Hills: 3:48-3:56/km
1minhills/1km: 3:33-3:41/km
400m: 80-82sec
RP: 4:15/km

Start at the slower end of the training paces and move towards the faster end as you progress through the coming months of training.

Enjoy the training!

Download the 2020 Silver medal training plan Jul - Dec 2019: Download

  Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
8 Jul 30min rec 45min E 30min E 45min E REST 30min E 45min E
15 Jul 40min rec 50min E 40min E 50min E REST 50min E 1hr E
22 Jul 45min rec 1hr E 50min E 1hr E REST 1hr E 1hr15 E
29 Jul 45min rec 1hr E 1hr E        

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