I run with headphones all of the time. Impossible to go without. Forget about the silence of this beautiful nature around here, forget the animal noises and movements of deer and birds. I know what that sounds like already. What I want is make use of the time while running: listening to the best albums ever recorded, and listening to what the pros have to say about running, such as:
Mark and Tom host the marathontalk podcast in the special British way. Lots of good humour. What’s different from the other podcasts is the talk about actual current professional running. What’s going on in pro running, who’s on the British national team right now, what issues come up in the sport that need to be addressed.
Episode 263 got me entertained and particularly into deep thoughts for its great comments on doping in running.
So two British elite runners of the national team – 1.500 and 400 meters – one of them the team’s captain have been banned for 4 and 6 months respectively because they were tested positive for doping. They consumed an energy drink which contained banned substances. Defending themselves, they argued that “something was found in my body”, but it wasn’t something that a four hundred meter runner would use to enhance their performance. “All this because of a small amount from a drink that’s got labelling”. “It’s bizarre.”
No, it’s not. Not in my opinion.
While it is rather sad that any athlete, self-proclaimed innocent of any wrong-doing, would have to go through such a difficult time – leaving the team, upset coach, wife, family, 100.000 pounds expenses in legal fees…possibly end of career… Also, the damage to the athlete’s reputation. Despite the fact that he or she’s most probably innocent, or at least not guilty of any intention to cheat, people will still google their name and their name will come up with “doping” attached.
However, according to the rules of the sport, laid out and applied to everyone without exception, athletes are responsible for any substance found in their body. All athletes are responsible for everything they eat or drink. If you are consuming an energy drink, it is your responsibility to use caution and make sure that you do research every single ingredient in that drink. You have to verify that each substance in the drink is researched and certified. Most probably, these two athletes did exactly do that. It was certainly not their intention to cheat. But: No such product is free from banned substances. Anything made in a factory has the risk of cross-contamination. So go and sue that company for neglecting to specify the contents. But don’t blame the rules. They are there for a reason. Stop consuming this crap altogether and maintain a healthy lifestyle on top of your athletic career. Be a role model. Do not fill your body with substances you have no clue what they are or where they come from. Do not contaminate your body.
The English humour in Mark and Tom could not help but quip about other cases of doping. Like what if the athletes were Spanish or Russian. “It’s like Dieter Baumann and his toothpaste.” I don’t get it? Please help?
Every runner, elite or every-day, should listen to the Runner Academy’s Podcast. The podcast episodes provide “actionable and inspirational content from elite athletes, coaches, researchers, authors and everyday runners”. Episode 63 really gave me a motivation boost, and provided this information:
The foundation to maintain consistency: patience, belief, value
Patience is about perservering. Being consistent.
Believe in your capabilities.
Truly value what you do. Value your health, your results, and the time spent running.
Then there’s the beginning of the new year 2015 and another episode #66 called “Marathon Finish Times and Goal Setting”. The episode takes a look at marathon finishing times of millions of marathon runners. It looks like that most runners have the same goals:
It looks like most people finish between 3 hours and 30 minutes and 4:30. There is a big spike at the 4:00 limit, which means that everybody’s trying to finish under 4 hours. There is another spike at 3:30 and from there it declines: for most people that’s the maximum speed (5 minutes per km). I find it astonishing that only 1 per cent of runners finish a marathon under 3 hours.
My goal is therefore to finish below 3:30, after 3.43:03 in 2014, because I know I can do it easily, for reasons I learn listening to the Runner Academy’s podcast.
In order to set your goals for the year, Matt suggests to first determine what type of runner you are. Is it your first marathon? Did you miss last year’s goals? Did you beat your Personal Bests last year?
I clearly had a great year 2014 and beat all my PBs. I ran my fastest marathon in Mainz in May with 3:43. I ran one of my best 10K in July with 43:44:43. And then I ran a very good, because hilly and icy cold half marathon in December in 1:40:17.
Second, determine why this was a great year for yourself. I can answer that by saying I have accepted and used in all of my training the numerous advices and tips given by so many blogs, magazines and podcasts, such as Runner Academy, The Running Podcast with Coach Jeff, eiswuerfelimschuh’s blog, Runner’s World, and many others. Also, as Matt notes, it’s the small things that matter, too. Details such as specific workouts, specific parts of a race where you notice you’re struggling. I have noticed my problems in races in the past and have adapted my workouts. I do finish workouts at a faster pace nowadays, always. I don’t want to lose a considerable amount of time at the last few kilometers of any race anymore. I also do short workouts at high speed as well as intervall trainings. I also do the opposite of what I had been doing in the past in order to get out of that gridlock of never improving: I participate in short-distance races such as 7, 10 or 12K as much as I can to work on speed. And when I notice that I am not doing enough intervall training or getting that 32K run in once a week – I go and do just that.
And most importantly, as mentioned above in episode #63: be consistent. That is the insight of the year. Be a streaker. Every run, every workout counts (including yoga and swimming), down to the recovery run all workouts have a place in the overall training plan.
As Coach Jeff says: “Get those shorts on, put on a t-shirt, go out the door, turn left or turn right, and run. But man, you have heap of fun along the way!”