One Track Mind

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By John Cooper

Sheesh, time has flown and we’re into the last few weeks before Comrades. I’ve personally dropped a few balls with regards training consistency; mainly due to work and a family crisis, but back on track after the 60k long run last weekend. The key for me is not to go on a guilt trip about what’s been missed, but to consolidate and move forwards with what’s already in the bag training-wise. OK, so we’re heading into the last few weeks of training and the mornings are getting chilly. One of my tricks is to sleep in the long top that I’ll be running in the next morning – works like a charm and takes the edge off that moment of changing into running gear.

I’ve titled this post ‘One track mind’ as that is what happens in the last month leading up to Comrades. Everything else seems of little importance and pales in comparison to the task that lays ahead. Some might even say that you are unsociable, paranoid, rude, unapproachable and grumpy. It becomes a month of pure focus on not getting sick or injured. I start focusing on the rituals I have developed over the years – making sure my shoes are clean and the laces tied symmetrically My kit – chip, nutrition belt, socks, shorts and vest are all together to pack into a separate bag which I practically bond with right up until the morning of the race. I’ve already purchased my carbo-load drink and corn syrup sachets in case the supplier runs out. I always pick up a bit of flack from my lovely wife about how I can plan Comrades to the tiniest detail, yet other aspects of my life are approached on an ad-hoc basis. Maybe it’s the fact that once we commit to this ‘thing’, it’s all consuming and not something to be taken lightly. 90k’s is a long way.

That said, my advice to all the novices I’ve been training with in the past few months is to enjoy every moment. Don’t start too fast and avoid tripping on black bags and throwaway tops in the dark. Hydrate well early into the race and eat if you need to, but don’t try anything new with regards food and drinks. Fueling properly will help tremendously in the second half. The bad patches will pass and that moment when they cross the finish line is incomparable – I still choke up with elation every time I finish.

Cheers, I’m off to get another glass of water.

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