Taper time?

In theory, I now start my taper for the Comrades marathon in three weeks.  However, I am following the silver plan from the Comrades website, and next week doesn’t look much like a taper that I am familiar with.  This is what is on the agenda:

Monday            1 hour recovery

Tuesday           15 min easy; 8x2min hills, 10 min easy

Wednesday      90 min Long run

Thursday          1 hour easy

Friday               Rest

Saturday          90 min Long Run

Sunday            2 Hour Long run

That should total around 60 miles, though I am going to struggle because of work commitments this week.  I am working at an exhibition in Manchester from Tuesday to Thursday, I’ll take my running kit with me, but it will be a case of fitting in what I can in the mornings whilst I am away.

This week, I treated myself to another sports massage with Ian. In addition to sports massage, he is a personal trainer and nutritionist and he runs an excellent website – www.ianshealth.co.uk. His podcasts on the site are well worth a listen if you are interested in nutrition and weight control. His support of the high fat/low carb diet is clear and the scientific evidence he presents is very compelling.

In light of the clear evidence that diet alone is the overwhelming factor in weight control (exercise has very little effect), it seems bizarre that the government advice still focuses on calorie counting and ‘burning’ calories by undertaking exercise. Nearly all recent studies shows that this approach is unlikely to work.

The government should tell people to stop eating refined sugar and cut down dramatically on their intake of carbohydrates. Exercise has some excellent mental and psychological effects, but it has minimal effect on weight loss.

I try to eat a diet which is lower in carbs than most people – I was more disciplined last year, somehow, I have found it harder not to sin this year.

However, I am going to really try to eat a better diet until Comrades.

Breakfasts will be poached egg and bacon (no toast), salad for lunch (my choices are limited) and main meals will include steak, poached salmon, chicken with roasted vegetables and poached egg, but no rice, potato, pasta or bread on the side.  I will eat some carbs (e.g. sweet potato) prior to longer runs, but I must resist the biscuits (I must, I must!).


I ran a mid-week 5K race on Wednesday evening. It was the first race of three in the John Carr series at Esholt.

If you look at the profiles of Yorkshire club runners on the power of 10 website or runbritainrankings, you will see that many have set their 5K PB on this course. It is a legal course, but I don’t know how, because it is net downhill, with the finish around 22 metres lower than the start.

Despite running 31 miles on the preceding Sunday, I decided to really go for it.

I got a bit stuck in the melee at the start, then I went too hard in the second and third kms. I struggled in the uphill fourth km and paid for the uneven effort, but when we hit the downhill final 800 metres to the finish I gave it everything and was delighted to record a 20 second 5K PB with a time of 17:23. It was a cool and breezy night and I think with better pacing and still conditions maybe I could run a 17:15. I’m missing the second race, but back for the final one of the series a week on Wednesday.

I did back to back long runs over the weekend – I ran from home to Woodhouse Moor parkrun on Saturday morning (it was the 400th event!), ran a steady 22:18 and then jogged home for a total of 18.6 miles. I was out with friends in Manchester on Saturday evening, so I had to do my Sunday 3 hour long run in the afternoon when I got home.

It was a bit of a struggle, not helped by me falling in a pile of nettles in Esholt woods and grazing my knee and elbow.  I was also covered in black muck all down my left side. I got some strange looks from passers-by as I ran back down the A65, so I diverted into a garage to clean off the muck and rinse out my wounds at the water tap. I found the last few miles tough and covered just shy of 22 miles.

The only bit of kit I am not sure about for Comrades are which shoes I will wear.  I have worn my Hoka Rapa Nuis for all my pre-Comrades long runs and although they are fine and I may well wear them in the race, I am considering wearing something a bit lighter.

I wouldn’t risk a race shoe or light trainer for Comrades. Despite my extensive stable of running shoes (I’ve recently had a clear out and am down to about 12 pairs), I don’t have any standard trainers that have fewer than 400 miles on the clock.

So I’ve gone to the well again and ordered a pair of Brooks Ghosts from Sportsshoes.com – they look a fairly light, neutral cushioned trainer good for high mileage runners. I really like the other Brooks shoes I’ve had. I should be able to get plenty of miles done in them before leaving for South Africa.  If they don’t cut the mustard, then I’ll go with the Hokas.

CM -3 weeks
Weight not measured
70 Miles
parkrun – Woodhouse Moor 22:18 (60th)


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