Lessons from our Comrades – Part 2
I caught up with our Trail Bokkies and asked them to share some of their newfound wisdom that would help first timers get that full Comrades Marathon experience.
This post is split in two parts:
- Part 1 covers some tips on the Training, Nutrition, Equipment and Logistics aspects of the race
- Part 2 covers the Race and Post-race aspects
Ridah: At the start, if you feel like it, have a cry. It helps to relieve the tension and to remind you that you are still human 🙂
Danyaal: Keep warm until you enter your race pen. Wear a black bag if necessary. Try to do a short 500m warm-up jog at 7min per km before the start gun goes. When starting the race, be careful not to trip over plastic bags, black bags or items of clothing
Ridah: We all aren’t fortunate to be blessed with great starting pens. You will most likely only cross the start line a few minutes after the start gun has sounded. Don’t be silly, take chances and go tripping with 87kms still to go
Danyaal: Try to avoid starting your run with a bus. They can alter your pace by starting too slow or too fast. This can lead to fatigue much earlier than what you usually experience and throw your race strategy out of the window
Ridah: It’s your race – many people told me that and only on the day of the race do you realise that it really is about you and the race. You run at your pace, your energy levels and your game plan. Sure, latch onto people and move with the ebb and flow of others… But they can burn you out or be too slow for you. Always stick with your training partner
Adenaan: My approach was to break the race down into 20km sections and then reassess from there and see if you’re on track. All the strategy, preparation and planning can go to nothing in a split second so you need to be able to take it as it comes
Danyaal: Remember to strap your legs in the same manner as you’ve done for training LSDs. Do not take advice from a novice and end up looking like Spiderman with strapping as webs
Adenaan: Aches in your lungs and legs are inevitable. Its the mental and emotional strength that carries you through. Be positive, but also be realistic. This race kills
Ridah: Be happy, smile, chat and enjoy everything around you. You will get thousands of apologies due to others bumping into you… it’s cool… keep your cool. Smile, everyone is tired.
Danyaal: While on route, remember to wash the salt off your face, nose, eyes and lips. This can cause burning and chaffing to exposed areas
Ridah: If you need to pee, don’t let others see your jewels. Especially when the other person is trying to eat that orange that will save his race and BHAM! jewels in your face – not cool!
Wafiq: Tell your friends to hit the record button if they see you on TV
Ridah: Everyone on the route will help you. Complete strangers… this is the ONLY time it’s acceptable to take sweets from strangers
Danyaal: If you’ve twisted an ankle. Do not remove your shoe. The shoe provides some compression to keep the swelling down. You also may not be able to put your shoe back on afterwards due to the swelling
Ridah: At the end, be careful – everyone wants to be on TV and will jump in your path. Don’t be on TV for the wrong reasons – like trippin… Let those people pass and keep a safe distance
Wafiq: Don’t stress too much. Enjoy it!
Adenaan: Don’t forget to enter Kenyan-mode!
Danyaal: Plan for your post-race recovery kit. Mine includes:
- Anti-inflammatory tablets
- Amino acid supplements
- A warm shower
- Warm comfy clothes
- Flip flops
- Your usual post-race meals
- Anti-nausea tablets (just in case)
Adenaan: Bring along a warm hoodie or top. They offer a tog bag service from the start that you can pick up at the finish
Ridah: The real hurt sets in the moment you’re handed the medal. Try sitting down hahaha!!!!
Danyaal: Don’t forget about getting back to your accommodation. You can pay for a bus to bring you back. Alternatively, arrange transport with family and friends
Ridah: Rest and rest and rest some more after the race. Use your best recovery muti. Have a hot bath with whatever recovery concoction of herbs work for you. Get to bed early, but ensure you eat enough food to carry you through your sleep. Wake up, smile… look at medal…. walk like cowboy to kitchen and EAT! Then go back to bed and sleep again
Although the Comrades Marathon is a massive commitment, seeing your mates cross the finish line on TV leaves you with some serious FOMO – sorry Wafiq, we were too busy jumping up and down to hit record
Maybe it’ll be us crossing the line next year 🙂
Have you completed a Comrades Marathon before? Share some tips on what worked for you in the comments section below.