Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Sally's 14:43 Secret

I'm always on the lookout for gems of wisdom from coaches and runners. Words that reveal a unique and successful training strategy or some other secret to running faster. At the same time, I tend to be wary of advice from elite runners. Extrapolating the training of an elite runner down to my level (that of 'weekend warrior') isn't necessarily the best way to lay out a training plan.

Having said that, my excitement level was almost beyond containment when I read a gem of wisdom from an elite runner just last week. The words were contained in a story by Peter Gambaccini — "Brief Chat: Julia Lucas in the 5000" and they pretty much encapsulate my training philosophy. The story was written after the Payton Jordan Invitational, a 5000m race which was won by Sally Kipyego in 14:43.11, while training partner Julia Lucas placed second in 15:08.52 (which happened to be a 25-second PB). In answer to a question about Sally's example, Julia says "It's really easy to forget how good Sally is. She's just there every day doing exactly what we do. In December, when practices started back and I was looking better than I had, she grabbed me by the shoulders and said 'Julia, don't try to be great, just do every day pretty good like you're supposed to, and then you'll be great.'" That's a quote worth remembering. Prizes aren't awarded for interval session PBs or training runs that leave you so sore and tired that you can barely jog for the next two days. It's the sum of all training that leads to a race-day personal best. Do every training session in a way that results in the desired outcome for that session and then you'll be great. Here is the Youtube interview with Sally and Julia after the race.

My running continues to go well. I've run another 10k heart-beats per km PB (692) and a couple of low-key 5k races (23:16 and 23:32). On the 6th of May I ran the Nail Can Hill Run 11.3k race, placing 288th in 59:31. As I was running along the sandy tracks of the Nail Can ridge, if I had some spare breath I would have shouted out "How good is this?!" Here I was, running amongst a crowd of mainly younger people, legs feeling light and springy, moving through the Aussie bush at 4:30 per k pace without a care in the world (apart from how could I beat the girl beside me in the black bike shorts and the grey-haired old bloke running a few metres ahead).
My finisher's certificate from the '81 Nail Can


Blogger Thomas said...

I thought they said there was no secret ...

8:36 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

How good is this!?

That should be what everyone thinks when they're running.

9:11 pm  
Blogger Jog Blog said...

Your Sally/Julia story re-confirms the age old wisdom of - do the best you can day in/day out (ie, be as consistent as you can be) and you will be the best you can be. Whether elite
or not so elite the theory holds true. I'm glad you are running so well at the moment and have such a positive attitude. Post Sat run coffee soon? Not this coming w'end but the one after??

9:11 pm  
Blogger Luckylegs said...

After the actual quote, Ewen, there followed some of the best advice I've read in a long while and I find it particularly applicable to an old girl such as myself! I'm going to try to remember that advice before and after every run!

10:23 pm  
Blogger RICK'S RUNNING said...

Congrats on finishing the 1981 Nail Can Race!
Thats a hell of a long time for you to be out there on that sandy trail and at last finish it, 31 years 56 mins! Thats a long race Ewen old chap :0]
good to see your still feeling good and springy and good advice around.
Happy running old son.

11:41 pm  
Blogger Black Knight said...

You are a pioneer too. I don't think that in 1981 running was as popular as now.
Congrats for all the races you do and always with very good finishing times.

1:13 am  
Blogger NY Wolve said...

I know the feeling for sure! It helps to run fast when you smile. And if you feel good too, well, it all just works!

2:09 am  
Blogger Girl In Motion said...

LOVED the video, thanks for posting that! I find the most inspirational thing about it is the 25sec PB! If someone at that level can pop out something so huge, then that means there's hope for us all. Love it.

Congrats on the race! Light and springy...what we all wish we could feel when racing.

6:20 am  
Blogger TokyoRacer said...

That's good, I'll tell it to my high school kids.

12:01 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thomas, just Sally's secret... but don't tell anyone ;-)

Richard, I hope so too. Pure child-like joy.

Jog, I'm always up for coffee! The following weekend is good for me.

Thanks Luckylegs. Follow that advice and you'll continue to dominate the W70-99 age-group in Australia.

Rick, yes, it took a while. I found a very comfortable wombat hole for my 31-year hibernation.

Stefano, running was just becoming popular in the early 80s. Races are big these days though. Nail Can had a record number of entries this year (1600).

NY Wolve, yes it's a great feeling alright! Hope it works for you in future races around Central Park.

Flo, yes! And 25 seconds for an elite runner is huge. Encouraging too that she'd been trying for many years to improve and finally has.

Good luck in getting them to listen Bob ;-) From my experience HS kids are prone to either racing in training sessions or running soft.

3:50 pm  
Blogger RICK'S RUNNING said...

Here in the UK running seemed to reach a high in the mid 80's, a local beach race here attracted over 1,000 runers!
Standards of performance back then seemed much higher1
But it's nice to see running is getting really popular again:0]

6:27 pm  
Blogger Lize Brittin said...

This is timely, as I just read "open" by Andre Agassi. In his autobiography, he recalls that he really started to get on top of his game when his coach told him to stop trying to be perfect. Though it took him some trial and error, his game improved when he could relax more and focus on consistency rather than winning. It's the same concept that you mention here. Be consistent, strong and present.

So cool that you are running well! Nice. :)

1:00 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Rick, the 'big' races down here (brand name marathons and halves etc) are more popular than ever but track racing seems to be on a downward trend (since the 80s), which is a shame.

Lize, I bought that book for a mate's birthday - I'll have to borrow it off him! Hope you can return to less limpy running eventually.

7:57 pm  
Blogger Janene said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8:40 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

4:30 per Km for 11.3 Km up a hill and along a sandy ridge is great. Maybe the inspiration provided by the girl in black bike shorts (or perhaps the challenge presented by the old guy with grey hair) helped but I suspect the most important thing is the consistent training. When the track season starts again it will be time to take 25 seconds off that M50 5000m PB.

9:33 am  
Blogger Jog Blog said...

You raced well yeterday afternoon. Good job!

11:16 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

Canute, steady up ;) I was only running 4:30 ks on the flat/down sections - the steep uphill ks were mid to high 7s! Yes, I'm looking forward to the next track season - still making gains with mostly aerobic running/racing.

Thanks Jog. I'll write about that race later in the week.

7:12 pm  
Blogger trailblazer777 said...

4.30 per K in the bush is good. In fact any running in the bush is awesome, its just so good for the soul to get out on the trails. Keep going!

6:16 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thanks Jonathon. Totally agree - love running in the bush!

7:13 pm  
Anonymous Ryan said...

Very insightful reading. I've also learned a lot about exercising, diets, training plans and motivation on Great resource with plenty of useful advices for those who love fitness.

1:29 am  

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