Train, Don’t Strain!

Kamil in full flight.

Kamil in full flight.

After the Radio 786 Fun Run, I had an interesting conversation with the head coach of our club, Coach Farouk, about coaching and training. Here is the reality – I’m still a social runner, not an elite runner. But because my performances have improved a lot, some of my friends from the club ask for advice.

The problem is that I do not have a theoretical knowledge, nor have I ever been trained as a coach or group leader. Therefore, whether it’s about endurance, improving time, injury prevention, eating right or being pro/against supplements, whatever comes out of my mouth is absolutely an opinion. My opinions are a result of a combination of factors such as my memory of basic sciences (like nutrition), trial and error experiments and my understanding/misunderstanding of cause and effect relationships. Therefore, there is no doubt that it will help me and others if I learn some basics.

Although running is my passion, I need to have balance in my life. Therefore, I want to do it in an effective manner. I have been thinking about it for a while, but I was worried about the amount of time I’d have to commit to the coaching course or to lead groups. For now, we have agreed that I would spend a short practical one day session per week while training. That way, I won’t lose so much training time. Let’s not over plan, we can do this for the next couple of weeks.

Lesson of the day: Train, do not strain. In other words, it doesn’t help to race during training. Focus on the mileage. By the way, this confirms what I’ve been doing incidentally, not because I knew what I was doing. Whoever knows me knows that I’ve trained under Nezaam Mohamed (7 minute/km group leader) more than anybody else. That sounds madness for some who know that my 10km racing time is under 40 minutes. It actually works. According to Coach, it makes sense because you recover faster. It also prevents injury as you gradually build endurance.

The above is most likely to be the basic principle behind my strategy for my Comrades aspirations because I need mileage. It’s so boring to focus on something that will happen after 5 months right? As always, it’s easier for the mind to target something closer.

For now, I want to improve my time at the Peninsula Marathon on February 21. Till then, I’ll avoid racing so much. I will run slow in training and at a moderate pace in races. No vomit pace for now. I have to find some motivation to keep me slower, such as pacing up friends or being a bus leader. I promise, only Peninsula is my race, the others are training, even the Bay to Bay 30km and the Redhill Marathon. We will see how much of my promise I’ll keep.

Kamil Suleiman