Search This Blog

In search of information

Despite not planning to run, or even walk very much, I rose very early and joined the throng building on the Terrigal waterfront at 5:30am for the 6:00am Trotters' run.  It was cold and I was wearing jeans and multiple layers, making it obvious to everybody that I wasn't going to be running.  As usual, there was lots of animated conversation, and people were sympathetic to my plight.  At 6am, the place cleared and I plugged in my earphones and wandered off for a gentle stroll along the waterfront and through the shopping precinct listening to the latest audio version of The Economist (published Friday nights), while the sun gradually coloured the eastern sky and silhouetted the fishing boats heading out to sea.  I really really wanted to go for a run, but there's just enough sensitivity in my right arch to convince me that there still may be a problem and running could potentially set me back.

Comparison of planned and actual marathon training outcomes
Later in the day, as I despaired of my chances of running strongly again within a few months, I devoted some time to analysing how much training I had done compared to plan, and how my marathon preparations had gone in a previous era.

Most of my working life was spent managing and analysing data and information, and I have a passion for numbers.  So, it's not surprising that I have diaries for fifteen of my prime running years in which I planned and analysed my training from many aspects.  One of my base measures was the seven-day running mileage total and I took a look at the twenty weeks leading up to my best marathon time in 1979, and compared it to the twenty weeks leading up to this year's Melbourne Marathon.

Not surprisingly, when in full training, I was averaging more than twice the mileage.  However, perhaps the most valuable information was that in the lead-up to that race in 1979 I lost significant training time to a quadriceps tear and a serious bout of tonsillitis, and had a few very poor race performances along the way.

The lesson for me is not to lose faith in my ability as I encounter obstacles, lose training time, or perform badly.  I have often said that potential is defined by your best performances (and training), not your worst.