Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Comrades Ultra Marathon Training

Every now and then you seek a challenge. And then having met the challenge, you perhaps seek to do something which will test you a bit more. What started off by trying to run 1km on a treadmill 10 years ago without stopping, has now gotten me signed up for what is the biggest challenge that I am embarking on. I have signed up for the 89km Comrades Ultra Marathon from Pietermaritzburg to Durban, on May 30th this year.
Its a minimum of a 6 month training program and I for god knows what reason, could only start training in right earnest in March. I started with a 14 km run which was the longest I had run since Dec 6th when I ran our very own Running And Living Gurgaon Marathon.
Then I looked at the training program and I should have logged 51 miles that week and I had barely done 30km!!! But it was a start.
The next week I decided to go into the groove and did a 33km long run the next week with overall mileage at 60km which was still short of the required 85km that week but I guess I was climbing in mileage so I still felt fine. But I encountered a problem synching MiCoach with my computer and found the only help available was a phone line to Singapore - thats a bit tough.

The next week I got an Adidas MiCoach to test out and tried it on my runs and found the initial set up different and somewhat less intuitive than my polar system since that has a watch display and this has an audio feedback system.
But the great thing about this is that when I started my 42.2km long run on Sunday at 4am, it was easy to get the feedback of pace, heart rate and distance etc. Ran with Randeep the previous weekend and this week too, he came along, as did Arvind who joined us during our 2nd loop. Was great to run in company and also have an audio feedback in the dark.
This 3rd week of training I equaled the scheduled 54 miles.
The next week began in right earnest with the long run only a 20 miler - look at me saying 'only' - now. I was also going to Chandigarh and Shimla to work on planning and administration fr our upcoming runs there, so it was going to be great to get some downhill running training done, since this years Comrades is a down run which includes 22km of steep descent towards the latter part of the more than 2 marathon distance.
Wednesday was a reshuffled rest day and on Thursday I did a recce in the car with Vijay Parmar for adding on toughness into our Shimla Half, armed with his GPS, and then I got dropped off and armed myself with his GPS monster gadget and MiCoach and set about running the new route. It is breathtakingly beautiful - It will definitely take your breath away and make the best runners walk about a km or 2, and get people like myself to walk a bit more, over the course. I missed not having GPS, a display and an altimeter on MiCoach, which would make it more handy at a USD2K price point. Over the course of the 21.1k I found a difference in the distances on the GPS tracker and MiCoach where the latter was short by around 300m. Need to get to the bottom of that because maybe as I carried the GPS tracker in my hand for a while the to and fro arm motion could have added to the distance, so some more investigating to do.
Friday I left Vijay's house in Shimla at 430am armed with MiCoach and went down a half marathon distance, with trucks and a few buses and cars coming slowly uphill, wondering what this crazy guy was up to.
Ended the week with a Saturday 20 miler run back in Gurgaon where I started the run with Umesh and I was delighted to find Namburi, Ravi, Randeep and Arvind join us after a 11km loop and then we discovered a lovely cross country trail in the Aravallis. Need to go down further on that one this week and discover if it has potential for an entire half marathon.
More soon on that one. But I felt great at the end of that run since with 2 rest days in the 7 days, I had completed 140km of running - the most I have ever run in a week. That was like doing the Comrades and then 51km more, all in a week and coming out pain free. Now got to work on building some pace into the runs as there is a 12 hour lmit on this hill and tough ultra
More soon


vikram said...

good post

vikram said...

keep it up i like your spirit

bubs said...

It's awesome what you have accomplished and how much you have changed the face of Indian runners world wide. I am a runner, but still aspire to achieve half of what you have done. You inspire me.

Hats off- would love to run one with you someday.

Shabnam Aggarwal

Charan said...

you truly are an inspiration!!!

Rahul Verghese said...

Thanks folks
which cities and where in the world do you live? would love to link up and run together - you never know where

Vijay said...

Rahul, Hats off to you! The spirit that you embody and the commitment you have shown in your training will carry you through this race. Totally proud to know you.

I wish you the very best!

- Vijay

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Navjeet Singh said...

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