Saturday, December 29, 2018

Break on through to the other side

Obviously this is my last post for 2018 so I'd like to say 'thanks' to readers and wish you all the best for achieving your running goals in 2019. For myself, I didn't quite get there in 2018 — my goal was to run faster than 23 minutes for 5k and my best time was 23:10 at The Runners Shop 5k in July. I had been targeting a 5000m track race in December but the meeting was cancelled due to storms. I haven't had a full race effort since the Wagga Parkrun — I've been waiting in vain for a cool night or morning.

I still remain excited about the possibility of running a 'good' 5k so that will be one of my main goals for 2019. Time-wise, I'd still like to break that pesky 23-minute barrier. There are a few reasons for my excitement and I'll talk briefly about two of them in this post.

1. I've started reading the book by Alex Hutchinson — 'Endure: Mind, Body and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance.' In chapter 1, Alex talks about his own running breakthrough, having had the goal of breaking 4 minutes for 1500 metres since the age of 15. He eventually did so, unexpectedly, at an obscure indoor meeting when the split times were read incorrectly and he ended up running 3:52. Having broken the mental 4-minute 'barrier' he continued to improve and ran 3:44 to qualify for the Canadian Olympic Trials. Prior to the breakthrough, Alex tried to replicate training that preceded good races, something I've always done, having kept detailed running diaries since the early 1980s. Running well is organic and mental rather than mathematical.

2. A podcast by Steve Magness and Jon Marcus where they also talk about the unpredictability of breakthroughs and the importance of trusting the process (of training) and 'racing the race.' I tend to get hung up on running even splits (especially in track races) when I'd give myself the chance of running faster if I raced the race.

The lush track at Dickson, venue for the 2018 ACT Beer Mile