Saturday, October 11, 2008

Ever Increasing Circles

Yesterday morning on the way to work I was thinking about a comment AndrewE made on my last post.
I dream of that kind of speed! One day!

That's a nice comment however I'll add the disclaimer that for me any pace under 4:30min/km is high intensity so at the end of even a short run like that I'm blowing hard and a bit of a sweaty mess.

This is going to be a pretty obvious statement but progress is relative to where you currently are. One day I'd like to go under 40 minutes for a 10km - and under 20minutes for a 5km. Perhaps even dreaming about it on occasion ;). An ambitious goal but progress should be thought of as a series of ever increasing circles.

In Jon Ackland's book Complete or Compete there was a illustration about this. It struck a chord with me - it was something like the following:

Essentially it shows that wherever you are, that is current limits, can be expanded with adequate training to new limits. Additional training will expand the limits further and so on. Obviously there is a physical limit to this that elite athletes will approach but for mere mortals like myself I don't think thats the limiting aspect.

I think its good to keep in mind though that metrics on performance - whether how fast you can run, how long you can run, aerobic capacity, or getting to a certain weight are essentially "carrots". The journey of getting there, that is getting fitter, is really the main goal. I think that running long distances can also be mentally fulfilling as overcoming a challenge as well.

When I started running 2 years ago my initial circle was very small. Weight had stretched to 98kg which triggered a "pre-mid life crisis". Initially anything more than a couple of hundred metres was hard. Running was slow.
In hindsight it was a shame I hadn't found the 'Couch-to-5K' program it would have made things easier.

Initial goals were fairly modest - Remember one milestone after a couple of months was being able to do the 3km loop around One Tree Hill. Slowly, very slowly, but non-stop. 3km become 5km and then 8km and eventually a work colleague had convinced me to enter the Auckland Quarter Marathon with him last year. Training for a race was just the thing to keep me focused.

A few more months of training - largely on rolling terrain or hills - I managed a good time on what was a dead flat course.

Shame I didn't blog those early days but I have been recording progress ever since. Onwards and upwards. The big carrot for me now is a full marathon next year.

Weather looks good today so might be good to lace those shoes up and head outside :) All this talk about circles has got me motivated...


SUB6 said...

thanks for the comment on my blog. Good stuff if you do the Phedip Half - That's what it's all about - helping to build a running community. Look forward to your race report


Andrew is getting fit said...

You've nailed it with this post I reckon.

That Ackland book is pretty good. I think I'll reread it tonight.