Thursday, May 28, 2009

Sleep on his Musings with Ralph

A few years ago I had the fortunate pleasure of holding a dinner party conversation with Ralph Doubell. I would usually not know who a guy with his credentials was, however at the time I was associating with a sprinter named ‘Aaron Macarthur’ who never use to stop talking about Ralph this, Ralph that.

So, I had forcibly become aware, even a little interested in who Ralph was, what he had done, and about ‘that’ record. For those less acquainted, Ralph Doubell, still, in the year 2009 AD holds the Australian 800m record set way back in 1968 – yes its 41 years old boys and girls. I think it was an Olympic Gold medal/ World Record at the time (Mexico, whatever). Don’t ask me what time the record is - its a race less than 2 minutes.

Anyway, after I was introduced to Ralph under a marquee in Aaron Macarthur’s back yard, I had one of the most enthralling running conversations in my life - a moment that changed all my views on training and taking advice relating to running from that day forward.

It was clear from the outset of the conversation this guy wasn’t going to tolerate my cheap-shot sarcasm regarding the training habits of sprinters, nor was I going to try it on with an Olympic Gold Medallist (respect, please).

We soon engaged in a verbal tête-à-tête about the evolution (or in his words) lack of evolution in Australian distance running since the mid 1960s. “Australian middle distance runners these days run 70-90k a week in training; we use to run 160k every week, that’s why we ran faster” The other counties train their middle distance runners properly, we don’t [NB Mottram does 160k per week and is a world beater – you join the dots].

Who is coaching them I asked, “well the AIS has institutionalised ‘science-based’ training principles among the Australian middle distance fraternity that just isn’t working, they train too easy and not enough” We use to do an easy 16k run every day or so in under an hour (sub 4 min ks), and then go do endless reps at the track and on sand dunes”.

“We thought bigger in the 1960s, I use to have lunch on Fridays with [name escapes me] and we were talking about running under 1min 40secs for 800m, then we would go training” Today they still want to run under 1min 50 seconds.

Ralph went on to mention “I’m not so popular with the running establishment because of my views, that’s why I work in the finance industry now. People still come up to me and tell me how you should train 800m runners based on all types of sports science, and I ask, ‘so what time do you run as a result of that?, they tell me and I say- “well it obviously doesn’t work does it?” – (I laughed almost uncontrollably when he said this -what posture).

He even went on to name coaches responsible for the Australian middle distance demise, which out of fear of defamation, I will not be naming here*. Let me just conclude by saying that Ralph’s views weren’t that flattering of some big name coaches and the potential results they have squandered over the last 2 decades.

Finally, as we all now know and as a result of too few international results achieved by our distance runners in the last two decades, we now have no AIS distance program, which could ironically enough, allow new ideas to enter the Australian distance running landscape and a return to its 1960s golden days.

Bring back Ralph I say!

*Mr Deek if you are reading, you were specifically excluded from any finger pointing in these discussions in Macarthur’s backyard between me and Ralph.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Grand Trifecta for BMMC

Current BMMC Stat Sheet:
- 2008, 12 foot track - Victory and new Course Record (shogun)
- 2009, 6 foot track - Victory and new Course Record (ST)
- 2009, TNF 100 - Victory and new Course Record (Gotta Go)

Reading like a Tiger Wood Resume, the BMMC has taken out all 3 trail running Majors in the last 9 months. The above clearly indicating a new golden era in trail running eminating almost entirely from the Blue Mountains region, including all its postcodes from Mt Vic to Lower Glenbrook. The BMs are obvioulsy a breeding ground for record breaking performances of the trail nature.

To those who live there, train or grew up in the Mtns there were no surprises on the weekend. The performances of the humble Andrew Lee (aka the new DK) and Shogun humbled the biggest names in the sport again on the weekend, including DK himself who stated "its the toughest 100k course he has ever attempted". Note: the BMMC would be happy to sign a poster for DK if he would like one?

Well done to all BMMC memebers who ran, particularly Dr Phil for his gutsy and gritty performance and course photography, and to Prince Donga for facing down the eye of personal adversity with characteristic BMs style. To all crewage and the club house secretary, thanks for the Pizza and ending to a great weekend.

As we say in the BMMC, "If your training on the flats, your not really training"

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Last week

Mon AM - scheduled sleep in
Mon PM - run 2 laps birdwood Gully steps (9ks) (solo)
Mon Pm - swim 2.5ks with reps (BMMC)

Tue Am - Big Home loop (BMMC)
Tue PM - Run with PIS at River (PIS)

Wed AM - Swim at the Woods 2k (BMMC)
Wed PM - Run 3k with Refs, yes 3k!(NRL)

Thur AM - basic hill run, cut short (BMMC)
Thur PM - Big Home loop, (solo)

Fri AM - Swim 2k (solo)
Fri PM - Run Small home Loop (solo)

Sat AM - Run every singles trail North and West of Glen NP in the Lower BMs (BMMC)
Sat PM - using: excuse 1 (see previous blog)

Sun AM - Run 20k TT with group of 8 in NP (remaing trails in Lower BMs) (LBMDM)
Sun PM - Swim the woods 2k (BMMC)

A consistent approach as per previous blog

Totals: unpublished, as not statistically reliable