The Complete Balance Comrades Project is so exciting. A pilot group has signed up to test run this concept and, being September already, we are ready to rock and roll. Our attack on the Big C is a three-pronged one – proper nutrition throughout, strength work and mental focus. This is of course in addition to the normal training programme.
Our group will be guided by a successful seven-times Comrades runner and registered dietician with a Masters in Dietetics and a qualified and experienced biokineticist.
Each person will work with the dietician who will help them to reach their healthy racing weight and, more importantly, to find and practise optimal race day nutrition. Every week the bio will work with the group on strengthening exercises to help withstand the pain of a down run.
The third prong of the attack is mental focus – and this needs to come from the runner. I love the image above. It’s worth printing, laminating and sticking on one’s mirror, or treadmill for that matter.
But what is focus? Focus involves many things, mental and physical, but here are a few I have thought of with Comrades in mind:
- Focus is saying no to too much alcohol, fast foods and sugary treats. It’s fine to have a glass or two of wine now and then or a slice of cake on a special birthday but if you make a habit of it, it will impact on your recovery between workouts. These things cause huge inflammation in the body which an athlete (or anyone for that matter) does not need.
- Focus is running easy when your program asks for easy. It’s this easy running (heart rate below aerobic threshold) that increases your ability to go further and be strong while you’re about it. We are all terribly ego-driven and running easy is something that not a lot of people get right. Don’t race too often – you need to get to that start line strong and injury-free.
- Focus is making sure that we organise our lives around getting plenty of sleep. Adequate sleep leads to good recovery. Good recovery leads to solid training.
- Focus is committing to four runs per week, come hell or high water. Bad weather is not an excuse. If you are not fully recovered from the last workout, run easy but RUN!! Or WALK! Or CRAWL!! But get out there!