Comrades Advice

By 2 Seasoned Runners

I was honored last night to share a dinner-table with 2 distinguished ultra-runners, Maurice (60) and Dave (63). Both of them ran the 2Oceans Ultra Marathon on Saturday as a training run for their 31st and 40th Comrades Marathons.

The interesting thing about these 2 amazing runners is that although they finished the marathon this weekend within 15 minutes apart (around 6h45min), their preparation for the race was completely different.

Maurice claims that he eats mainly unhealthy food and is a regular client of MacDonalds, where as Dave eats proper food prepared by his equally active wife. Maurice fasts for 5 days before the race to make sure he is as light as possible for the race and then protein-loads on steak and eggs the night before. Dave is a firm believer of carbo-loading, the week before the race.

Maurice runs about 160kms per week in preparation of the Comrades, while Dave does a mere 70km per week.

None of them have ever been injured and declares that it is because they run easy and regularly and never stretch.

Maurice says that his Comrades time have remained the same for many years where as Dave says that his finishing time have become increasingly slower every year.

So what is the secret to 30-40 years of injury-free Comrades running, since they seem to follow completely different regimes?

“Keep to the same pace,” says Maurice, ” eat what makes you happy and make sure your life is stress-free. Stress is the main cause of disease and injuries.” Dave agrees that doing too much is what causes injuries, and it is clear that Dave’s ‘doing too much’ differs clearly from Maurice’s idea of ‘doing too much’.

In the end, what is important, is that running should be for your own enjoyment, within your own limits and within your own conditioning. No 2 athletes are the same and these 2 gentlemen shows that even to achieve the exact same goal, they each prepare completely different. “The only times I have ever felt niggles, was when I was carrying unnecessary stress. Stress is the main cause of damage to the body, if you are happy and stress-free, you will live to run many good races”, says Maurice. With 31 and 40 Comrades marathons in the bag, who am I to disagree!