Monday, April 27, 2009

Sleep on Benchmarking Consistency: An Empirical Discussion

Stimulated by discussion on another recent BMMC Blog on the role consistency plays in improvement (see Scambullants recent treatise on C+R= Imp), I started to realise that while everyone understands the relationship between consistency and performance, we all actually have our own definitions of what consistency is.

The word Consistency I believe is one of the most misused words in the English running lexicon. Albeit, while ones person’s consistency is another person’s overtraining (apparently), I thought I would attempt to develop a runner’s bench mark of consistency that could help in the application of this term in relation to running in the lower Blue Mtns – so here goes.

In his book, “De Castella on Running” (a 1980’s running bible to me) the great man himself, Deek, puts his careers success down to being relatively injury free due to “many years of consistent running” – what did he mean? On page 116 he goes on to say he went 1,000 consecutive days of running in his running diary before he had a day off running – 1,000 days!

Or you could read Laurie Lawrence’s book about Australias ONLY Olympic Gold Medal at the 1984 Games, won by a 17 y.o. kid named John Seiben in the 200m fly and WR time from Lane 8!

Seiben said before the race he was just happy to be in the Olympic final, that was before Lawrence got to him seconds before he got on the blocks and whispered something in his ear..... “then I realised I would win” says Seiben, going on to swim past the entire field in the last 25ms of that race. What did his coach say that inspired him? He said “You haven’t missed a training session in 3.5 years”- yep, again more than 1,000 days of training appears to be a standard!

Again, I quote an interview with Haille Gebreselassie the day after he set a marathon WR (2h3m59s) where he said, “I didn’t run this morning as I was a bit stiff”, followed by “ I can’t remember the last morning I didn’t run, don’t worry I will be out running this afternoon, I won’t be missing another session like this morning”.... I am guessing he too is a 1,000 dayer!

You may say, yeah but I am not Deek, Haille or Seiben..... and the answer is “of course you’re not, you probably haven’t done your 1,000 days yet”.

So there you have it, a bench mark of running consistency drawn from undisputable empirical evidence.

As for me this week, the less said the better, I will just ask one question; “excuse me Mr De Castella, does 2 out of 7 days running count as consistent?” (No I’m sure he would say)

Friday, April 17, 2009

Sleep on "The Worlds Best Excuses" -Version 2

Prefacing this entry with the fact that I am no model citizen when it come to excuse making, a lot has been said recently about excuse making for missing training.

If one wrote a book on the subject of excuse making Im sure it would be a lengthy book and require an immediate reprint if sold solely in the Blue Mtns at the moment - I could even contribute a good chapter titled: how to deliver an early morning excuse via SMS (and then go running with Gareth anyway)

Some prefer to use the truth when making up excuses for not turning up to training, such as "couldn't be stuffed, I'm too lazy, or I'm on holidays so don't need to run at 5:30 am". It tends to be the honest excuses that get the most criticism, why is that?

While on the other hand, the more imaginative and creative excuses (the ones made of B.S) are often digested hook line and sinker as palatable reasons for random no shows, for example 'this alien landed and stole my running shoes'.

So I would like to start an official register of imaginative excuses that can be used when deciding to be somewhat economical with the truth when making an excuse, this will at least make it more entertaining for those regularly in receipt of excuses (like the Scam- again no model citizen, but generally a reliable dude).

Registered Excuses:
1: I don't want to improve my times, so I will sleep in today
2. I ran yesterday, so obviously I wont be running 2 days in a row
3. I like to train at Vo2 Max every session, all session, and you run too slow [or fast] for me to maintain my Max
4. I didn't get home until 9:30 pm last night so I might give it a miss
5. I think training has taken me as far as it can, I'll just use visualization from here on in
6. I have a girl friend now (or new pet) so running isn't a priority
7. Its too hot, too cold, too dark, too wet, too early or late, its too dry or windy, its too humid or sunny, its too foggy, the snow is too deep, the rivers too wide, the flood too angry, the bush fire is moving too fast and may cross our path,
7.a Any excuse related to season, weather or terain
8. The National Park is closed, or that run is in the Catchment Area
9. That run technically includes an illegal route (ie private property)
10. I will be driving to Lismore or Newcastle until further notice
11. I have another event on, including: wedding anniversary, a "close" family event, a "recognised" religious event(NB: attempting to plan a 3 peaks expedition on your wedding anniversary is not recommended OK)
12. and from Mister G a direct quote:..."Some sort of excuse about having warm company under the doona on a cold morning (aka semi-retirement)...."
13. [other excuses here]

Part 2 to blog, this weeks running;
- Ran two laps of Kedumba with Mister G, the Scam and J-Glen on Saturday, ascent 1: 45m 30sec, ascent 2: 41m 20secs (a lot of NF 100 animals out on course familiarization exercises), followed by
- 20km time trial in the National Park on Sunday with a cohort of the Blue Mtns elite cross country runners/ triathletes on a run promoted as their "easy" sunday morning run, ahhh to be 18 years old again!
- Weeks totals, 107k running, 5km swimming, ride nil

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Wollemi Traverse on Hold to Sept. 2010

Following the 'distraction' of running over the last few months, I have decided to put on hold the first ever traverse of the Wollemi NP from the Upper Hunter to Bilpin until Sept 2010.

While the planned Traverse was THE reason I decided to enter the 6 Foot Track in January (marathon training was going to be my way of ensuring I'd be fit enough to complete the traverse), as it turns out running distracted me far too much during Jan & Feb from preparing properly for the traverse(in a serendipitously positive way of course).

Following a poorly executed food drop into the Central Wollemi last thursday (including 6 painful hours on a Mtn bike and missing the position by 5-7 kms), I realised I wasn't ready in many ways for 14 days solo in the most rugged Wilderness area in NSW, particularly given I was not organised.

So,the Traverse can wait 18 more months - but going back out and picking up the food drop is another story yet to come.

Most notably this week was a bush walk with the Scam to try and find Tesselate Hill that lies at the back of Mt Irvine (near Mt Wilson). Unfortunaley, when we got out of the car, someone (who will remain nameless in this Blog)had forgotten the map! Luckily we were confident enough to walk off into remote wilderness with no map, relying only on our gut instincts of a homing pigeon, our wits and very basic bush skills.

As for running, two easy weeks followed the race, and then one really easy week while away for work in Brisbane, where I am blogging from. Runnning in a CBD is horrible, makes you appreciate the clean air and fire trails of the Blue Mtns.

Time to start training again, with some big races coming up- just need to work out what they are?