After his breakthrough win in 2022, Tete Dijana went away and applied his now legendary work ethic to his training to come back stronger and faster than ever for his Comrades title defence.

With his first full training cycle under Nedbank team coach Dave Adams, Tete delivered his best race performance to date to break the Comrades Down Run record, crossing the line in 5:13:58 in a thrilling sprint finish.

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Fine-tuning a winning recipe

Tete says that he didn’t change much from the approach that earned him the win in 2022. “I followed a similar training plan as last year, the only difference was that I had a full year to prepare under coach Adams.”

This build included a world, continental and South African record at the Nedbank Runified Breaking Barriers 50km race in Nelson Mandela Bay in February. Dijana crossed the line in 2:39:03 after going through the marathon mark in a blistering 2:12:37, which was a new PB for him.

I got injured after the Runified 50km race, so lost three weeks of training. I felt under pressure as I fell behind the guys in the training group, who did more long runs than me,” admits Tete.

But I think the conditioning I developed for the world record attempt carried me through and I was able to build on that to arrive at Comrades in my best shape ever.”

Tete says the three weeks in the high altitude training camp was a key component in his success on race day.

READ MORE | Records Tumble At The Nedbank Runified Breaking Barriers 50km

The nutritional edge

Tete also added more protein to his diet, with Biogen Iso-Whey a more regular inclusion to speed up his recovery from the injury.

Biogen supplements helped me a lot during my training and on race day,” says Tete.

Tete refined his fuelling approach developed for the 2022 race but kept his strategy structured around Biogen Carbogen and Biogen Cytogen drinks during training and racing.

I drink Biogen Carbogen before races and training, and alternate between Carbogen and Cytogen every 10km on long runs and at races. I use Biogen Energy Gels between my liquid feeds.”

Tete typically has a Biogen Energy Oats bar after training and a Biogen Iso-Whey Protein shake to support muscle recovery.

I also had some protein drink at halfway during Comrades this year to help limit muscle damage on the down run. I think that helped my ability to finish faster than I did last year.”

Tete’s supplement plan:

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Life-changing performance

Tete’s record-breaking win was life-changing for this security guard from the North West.

He earned R500,000 for the win, an extra R200,000 as the first South African athlete, and a R500,000 bonus for breaking the record – double what he won in prize money in 2022.

Tete also received a bonus incentive for his Comrades performance, with Nick Bester Sport and the Nedbank Running Club adding R250,000 to his race-day earnings, on top of the R360,000 per year he receives from Nedbank.

Tete is busy preparing for the Sanlam Cape Town marathon in October, where he plans to run a personal best. Based on his result, Tete may look to make the team for the 2024 Olympics in Paris to compete in the marathon.

Tete’s weekly training schedule:

  • Monday: Easy recovery run
  • Tuesday: Track (morning) and easy run (afternoon)
  • Wednesday: Tempo long run (morning) and easy run (afternoon)
  • Thursday: Track (morning) and easy run (afternoon)
  • Friday: Hill session (morning) and easy run (afternoon)
  • Saturday: Speed work or tempo session (morning) and easy run (afternoon)
  • Sunday: Long run (morning) and easy run (afternoon)

Photos by Tobias Ginsberg