Tuesday, 1 April 2014

The secret

Funny how I only blog when exams are around the corner. I guess it's a good way of avoiding studying the diversity of plants and  Thebian plays. Like really, do people even like this stuff? Seriously, those types of things just need to be placed on the back burner from time to time. Although I'll be the first one to admit that I do not enjoy the fine arts, I will assume that they are what taught me the important skill of critical thinking.

A runner who thinks critically already has half the battle won. It takes a good mix of smarts and accountability to answer the questions he has about his own training. I've been asking myself a lot of questions about training recently, and I've come to the interesting conclusion that I don't know jack s***. I think and claim that I do, but I don't. Neither do most people. 

I don't know why for some days I could run forever, and for others I struggle to get my legs up. I don't know more about why runners experience breakthrough seasons, and others stagnate. Most people who think they know what they're talking about will mumble something about enzymes and capillaries and such, but do we really know what is going on inside our complex bodies? How much of this can we control by training 'smart' rather than 'hard.' What is the SECRET? 

After having The Sports Gene by David Epstein get passed around the X-men locker room, much talk about the importance of genetics and talent have risen, so here is my pondering on the topic (and my unqualified tentative answers).

Q - Why do some people become really good in no time, while others are spinning their wheels in a mud that does not smell of sub-9 potential?

A- These people have found the type of training best suiting their body type and capabilities (high mileage vs quality mileage, tempo vs specifics etc.) On the other side, those who can't get out of their slump could be overtraining with frustration, or might be too stubborn to change it up. Here is where it is important to face the problem head first and ask, 'why am I not improving?' because running is nothing but pointless exhaustion if one does not see benefits from it. 

Q - Will I never be able to beat this guy even if I don't have his talent?

A- I think everyone has a ceiling and a floor. You reach your ceiling by hammering your training spot on for X number of years. You reach your floor by spending too many nights at the Wheel. In reality, some people have higher ceilings than others, but most rooms overlap. Therefore, it is not always the most talented that will win. Training, mental aspect, grit, and a healthy lifestyle are all factors that determine how high in your room you will stand. 

Q- Is David Rudisha really retiring??

A- No. 

These answers are by no means more right or wrong than another runner's. That's the beauty of the sport; the eternal journey in search of our body's kept secret, of the key to unlock his greatness, of what makes it tick its fastest. Sometimes I wish I knew, but then I'd already be down the border with Salazar and his robots. I'd rather figure it out on my own.


PS - It was requested by Alexa Zarins that this blog should contain a portion about the weather, so here it goes:

Lately it has been sunny, then rainy, then sunny, then snowy, then sunny, then rainy, then really snowy. That's Antigonish I guess. Still gazing at a snow covered track.

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