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Harness Your Comrades Engine

Transitioning to New Challenges Post-Ultramarathon

Congratulations to all who recently tackled the Comrades Marathon! The gruelling 87.701 kilometres of KwaZulu-Natal’s landscape will have tested your body to the limit, and as a result, you’ve now built an incredible aerobic engine. Having invested so much time and energy into your preparation, it would be a shame to let your hard-earned endurance stagnate over the next few months. Instead, harness your newfound strength and consider stepping into a new challenge. Not only will this keep your fitness up, but it will also make you a stronger, faster runner, bringing joy and adventure to your routine.

Trail Running: Nature’s Gym

One rewarding way to utilize your enhanced aerobic capacity is to transition to trail racing. With several premier events happening towards the year-end, the rugged landscapes and unique challenges they present could be just the ticket to keep your motivation high.

If you’re new to trail running and want to start with more forgiving routes, the Karkloof Trail Series at the end of September is an excellent place to begin. It offers varied distances but for ultra runners look no further than the 30 mile, 50 mile or the 100 miler on mostly forest roads and mountain bike tracks, reducing the fear of a trail tumble.

For those seeking a more daring mountainous adventure, consider the Run the Berg event. While the course does not ascend to the top of the Drakensberg, it provides plenty of climbing, thrilling ridge line runs, and expansive single-track sections.

In the breathtaking mountains and winelands between Franschoek and Stellenbosch, the Maxi Race‘s flagship event, a 75 km route, also awaits you. Following that, the Skyrun in November, one of the oldest mountain ultras in South Africa, is a must-try for those passionate about wilderness running. This event has distances of 65 and 100 km, and it is a thrilling addition to any trail running portfolio.

UTCT (Ultra-Trail Cape Town) is another excellent choice. A festival of running taking place in late November, it offers various distances, from the shorter sprints to ultra-distances of 55km, 100km, and even 100 miles.

Last, but not least, the year ends with the Longmore Forest Ultra, nestled between Jeffries Bay and Gqeberha. Here, you can challenge yourself with one of only two 200 milers in South Africa or choose between the 50 and 100 miler options.

Building Strength and Durability

Perhaps you’re not looking to add distance but would rather focus on building strength and durability. Shorter, faster trails are ideal for this, and they also allow you to enjoy the post-race camaraderie and celebrations a little more. Trail running can help you dial in your nutrition and hydration game, forcing you to be mindful of these aspects due to the wide-spaced aid stations.

Switching to Speed

An alternative to trail is to refocus on road running and aim to inject some speed back into your legs. Consider racing some 10kms or participating in the 21k Discovery Vitality series. Road half marathons strike the perfect balance, offering a good workout without necessitating a day on the couch afterward.

Trying a New Sport

Alternatively, you might consider taking up a new sport that utilises your aerobic base and complements your running. Cycling, triathlon, swimming, or canoeing are all excellent options, with the latter being particularly useful if you plan to race in the Dusi Canoe Marathon.

Conclusion

In conclusion, don’t let your post-Comrades aerobic base go to waste. Harness this strength and let it propel you onto new challenges. Transitioning to trail racing, focusing on speed work, or even trying a new sport can all help maintain and even improve your running prowess. By continuing to push your limits and try new things, you’ll not only preserve the fitness you’ve built but also become a more robust, well-rounded athlete. So, lace up those shoes, hit the trails, and let the next chapter of your running adventure begin!

For the finest advice on your next steps from the top coaching team for trail and ultra runners, why not get acquainted with our Coaches and services here? and kickstart your journey towards becoming your optimal self today.

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