May 6, 2019 by DAVE JACK
MY THANKS TO THE COMRADES MARATHON ASSOCIATION FOR THE CUT-OFF INFORMATION
I have always thought that runners – particularly the runner finishing in over 8 hours – should break Comrades up into of a series of little “chunks” and not look at it as one long run. Stand at the start and think that the finish is just under 87km away and you’re beaten before you even start.
Stand at the start however, and think that you have seven Little Runs to do for the whole day and not that one long run, and see how much better you feel then, but how do you do this?
Worrying about Polly’s whilst you’re in Pinetown, for example, isn’t going to make Polly’s go away. Concentrate on Polly’s when you get there and not when you are 60kms away from it!
PLAN YOUR SEVEN LITTLE RUNS
The idea of how you should approach Comrades in an easier way, is to split the race into small pieces and I suggest “Seven Little Runs” because Comrades has split the race into 7 pieces by having 7 cut-off points including the finish so the organisers have actually done most of the job for you and you don’t have to worry about where to have each cut-off!
CUT-OFF POINT TO CUT-OFF POINT
If you make each Little Run no longer than cut-off point to cut-off point. If you look at the table below you will see that I have given you the distance of each little run, the total you have run and the latest by which you need to be at each cut-off so it’s very easy to set up your own pacing chart or race schedule.
Comrades is 90% from the neck up and one of the most important parts of your preparation to run the race is to concentrate on the 90% part. The part from the neck up.
As part of your mental preparation try to become familiar with the route. That’s what I have tried to do with my route description (a different section of this website) and remember that the Up Run is vastly different from the Down Run, but I think it’s a must that you get to drive over the route at least once.
The route description takes runners over the route as I know it, where I tell you about every section of the route with the dangers (there are some) in various parts. Comrades published my route description in the official brochure before Comrades 2016.
It’s been said many times that if your legs can do 60km, they can do the “almost 90km” needed so remind yourself that your legs have done their job for the day when you get to 60km and then forget about them for the rest of the way. They may be a bit stiff but now it’s time to trust your legs from there to do the job for you and to let the 10% from the neck up take over.
THE COMRADES CUT OFF POINTS
Including the cut off at the finish, Comrades has a total of seven cut off points on the road and they have very kindly helped runners to know where the end of the “little run” is by putting up huge big boards about 1km from each cut-off. The last Little Run to the finish has distance marker boards.
Below is the actual Comrades table (from the Comrades website) but with the addition of an extra column showing the length of each section and as you will see the longest run you will have to do on Comrades Day is the first one from the start to the Pinetown and that’s not even a half marathon distance.
This table of Cut Off points is subject to change:
|CUT-OFF||DISTANCE DONE||DISTANCE OF EACH “LITTLE RUN”||DISTANCE TO GO||TIME|
|St Johns Avenue (Pinetown)||18.2km||18.2km||68.5km||02:40:00(08h10)|
|Winston Park||29.7km||11.5km||57km||04:30:00 (10h00)|
|Cato Ridge (N3 Subway)||56.7km||14km||30km||08:10:00(13h40)|
|Umlaas Road interchange||66.7km||10km||20km||09:30:00(15h00)|
|Top of Polly Shortts||79.2km||12,5km||7.5km||11:10:00(16h40)|
Please note that these times and positions are subject to change should the organisers deem it necessary.
The final cut-off is at 12 hours (17h30)
and if you have not reached the Finish, you must leave the route and retire from the race immediately.
This clock shows the two most important times on Comrades day. The start time and the finish time of the race.
PLAN YOUR COMRADES DAY
This is a very important part of Comrades that you can’t afford to ignore it.
So now you know the distance of each little run and the latest you can get there so now you can work out your own times.
Use my route description and the table for cut-off points above together, to work out your own time schedule (call it a pacing chart if you like) to help you.
Then use each cut-off point in the race as the start and finish of each “little run”.
Each “little run” is tied to a distance and a time of day.
Time of day makes it very much easier to look at the time you need to be at certain places and this allows you to manage your time using an ordinary wristwatch.
If you look at the table which is taken mainly from the Comrades website, you will see that Comrades themselves show “time of day”.
One of the biggest challenges you have between now and Comrades day (and you can never start too soon) is to train yourself to understand that you are not running 87km and that you are running instead 7 little runs – the longest of which is less than a half marathon.
Many runners will pick up pacing charts designed by someone they have never met and hope the person they’ve never met knows enough about them to get them through! Unlikely they do if you’ve never met them!
YOU know YOU best so my suggestion is that you do your own time schedule. You can easily copy the table above and insert your own expected times in the final column.
That way you’ve got everything you need to plan your Comrades, and time of day is much easier, especially if you’re getting tired.
As soon as one little run is behind you forget about it. It’s gone forever.
Your focus now is on one thing and one thing only and that’s the next little run you are now doing.
You are carrying the schedule you have done so it makes the day easy.
COMRADES IS 90% FROM THE NECK UP
Comrades is 90% from the neck up. Go into the race with that attitude and properly prepared both physically and mentally and Comrades day will be a wonderful experience – and that’s what it’s supposed to be!
6 May 2019