Manage your runs so you don’t go to Soweto with tired legs

Thulani Mbele Running Matters
Image: 123RF/avemario

The month of November is exam time for most young people. Every student knows the importance of this month.

All the tests, assignments, long hours of studying and extra classes throughout the year were in preparation for November.

This is the same for marathon runners. The weekend runs and early morning hill ascents lead to this one day – November 4 – the Soweto Marathon day.

The race is the highlight for most runners in the country. It even attracts runners from abroad.

In preparation for exams, students go through past exam papers. This is the same with Soweto Marathon runners, who retrace the route to redress what went wrong during the previous races.

The revision period for students is when they look at the key chapters of their subjects; they are no longer burning the midnight oil as they are now comfortable with most of the work covered.

Soweto Marathon runners are now also wrapping up their preparations too. This weekend should be the last after long runs in preparation for the ultimate day.

No long runs will help you now beyond this point; if you have been consistent in training, the mileage in your legs should be enough to carry you through on race day.

The following two weeks should be your revision period, or tapering in running terms, reducing the weekly overall mileage by 20% two weeks before the race day and by 50% in the week leading to the race.

The focus now should only be on key areas of your training. Priority should be given to what will take you over the finishing line on race day. It’s now time to manage your body so that you don’t get to Soweto tired on race day.

No more hard training and gym sessions. Hill repeats during this time will be detrimental to your goal. The plan is to minimise the risk of getting injured before the race, but still maintain the sharpness of your fitness level.

Lessen your mileage next week and reduce your speed sessions from twice a week to once a week, meaning you will do away with the tempo run over the weekend.

During this revision period, study groups are helpful and work as a platform to assist classmates and also to learn a thing or two. If you are a lone runner, find a group to run with for two or three sessions. Also use these sessions to relax.

Do not panic when you hear new information, trust in the amount of work you have put in. It is vital not to reduce your mileage now but to just reduce your training pace.

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