Corona virus … let's make lemonade from lemons

Corona virus … let's make lemonade from lemons

For the first time since the Second World War, it looks like the Comrades Marathon may not take place, due to the Corona virus. 

The CMA has today (Tuesday, March 17), announced that the plan is still for the race to go ahead, and that a final decision will only be made on April 17.  This is a bit like kicking the can down the road, and a firm decision by the CMA would have been welcomed. But it is also understandable as the CMA is in a difficult position, and has to make a decision while being unsure what will happen in the next few months.

This leaves runners with the difficult choice of deciding whether to continue training for a race that may not happen, book accommodation etc. It also means doing most long runs solo or with a friend in this time as all races are cancelled. 

My personal view is that the virus has only just arrived, and that it will get worse, before it gets better.

Comrades runners are now all very fit and instead of a wailing and gnashing of teeth, you can use this time to turn yourself in to a faster runner, and smash a marathon PB later in the year.  This in turn will mean that you are at a higher level for the Comrades next year!

One of the biggest problems I have with coaching ultra runners, is that there is never time to devote a few months to making runners faster on a 10km programme.  This is now a golden opportunity to do this.  I have 48 runners who have been training hard for the Comrades, and they are all excited at trying a 10km programme and getting FAST.

By doing this, you don’t waste all your hard-earned fitness, will have loads of fun, stay motivated and also improve your running.  The training that you have done this year is actually perfect base training, and you can now build on this.

A 10km programme means less mileage, which is good at this time with the virus, as it is then easier to train on your own or with a friend.  You can then use 5km solo time trials to gauge your progress and do a time trial every two to three weeks. As club time trials aren’t allowed, you can measure a flattish route in your neighborhood to use.  

I think there is a good chance that races towards the end of the year may happen, as I have read that the virus peaks after about 10 to 14 weeks. This means that you could train for a fast marathon at races such as the Cape Town marathon in October or the Kaapsehoop marathon in November.

If you do this, then you would train on a 10km programme up to the end of June, and then at the beginning of July you would switch to a marathon programme.
Example of the benefits of a 10km programme
One of my runners, John Black, was a solid runner with a 3.12 marathon PB.  Every year, John ran the Comrades and then the 100km Skyrun. 
Then John decided to do the Boston marathon and had to run a marathon qualifier under 3.08. I told John the best way to achieve this would be to skip the Comrades and Skyrun, and then I would put him on a 10km programe for a few months, and then switch to a marathon programme.
We did this and John’s 10km and 21km times came tumbling down. John then smashed his PB at the Cape Town marathon, running 3.04, and then at Kaapsehoop broke the 3 hr barrier with a 2.56. John now has a 2.49 marathon time.
The time spent on a 10m programme working on his speed, transformed John’s running, and you can do the same.  
Let’s make lemonade of lemons!
Coach Neville

For the past 22 years I have helped hundreds of runners achieve their dreams, using the Recovery Based Training System I have developed. 

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