Never mind, an ice bath and another good night’s sleep should hopefully knock them back into some sort of useable shape.
So if anybody in Vauxhall hears a girly scream later, there’s no need for alarm. It isn’t the looters - it’s just me dipping my nadgers into icy bathwater.
Second run in 10 months tomorrow then... and I predict a chunky improvement already. Oh yes. Maybe 6 or 7 minutes quicker for the same 20 mile route, at the same effort? Watch this space. Hurrah!
If anybody wants to throw things at me, I’ll be trundling around the edge of Hyde Park in an anticlockwise direction, causing widespread alarm amongst west London’s seismology community.
In the meantime, I’ll use the spare time to be argumentative, controversial and annoying. Idle hands, and all that...
Several people seem to think that the targets I set myself in this blog are ridiculously unachievable. I disagree. I think you’re using “the average” as a benchmark for ambition. I think this is just plain wrong.
The average person in the UK now spends 25.3 hours a week watching television (official figures at July 2011). 25.3 hours! Assuming this unfortunate soul lived to 70, that represents a whopping 10 and a half years of their life slumped staring slack jawed at the chav box. 10 and a half years!
And the US is even worse. The average American soared past the 10-years-of-your-life mark back in 2007.
“Ah” you may say “but what if they are watching something worthwhile?”
Sorry. No dice. If Wikipedia is to be believed, then the most watched television programme in the world, for the past 7 years running, has been... American Idol.
So basically, the average person wastes a huge chunk of their life slouching, brain switched off, staring at sh*t.
If you want to be exceptional at something, anything, whatever it is... then just avoid the average. You’ve already found yourself an extra 20 hours plus to throw at pursuing it. Whatever it is.
But I digress. The above isn’t my point at all. It’s just a general illustration of the idea that “If everybody does it, it’s probably a waste of time”. Of why you should always try to avoid the average.
So let’s get 100% relevant. Let’s look at marathon training programmes.
I’m old enough to remember the late 1980s. Actually I’m old enough to remember the early 1970s, but not in a running context. Anyway. In the late 1980s, for a marathoner, running 80+ miles a week was considered pretty normal, and a 2:50 marathon wasn’t considered particularly fast.
Fast forward to today, and to Mr Average member of the “running community”. Mr Average considers 50 miles a week a bit toppy, and a 3 hour marathon fast. Very fast. Actually, so fast as to be practically unachievable for most people.
Less effort, worse results. Any correlation? Well, duh.
But it’s not just about counting miles. (Fortunately!) For a “marathoner” (as opposed to an old school “runner”), the modern training schedules are woefully mis-focussed.
The 1980s marathon runner had paid his dues. Moved up through the ranks. He probably started running track and field events in school, and definitely spent years racing 5k and 10k races first, before graduating to THE BIG ONE.
Even then, he remained a generalist. He still wanted to do all the other distances, and was already running (by today’s standards) mega-miles to do them... adding the marathon to his repertoire just meant finding the space in his schedule to put in an extra long run each week. His training schedule was basically his regular 5k/10k schedule, but with a few extra long bits added.
But for the modern “marathoner”, typically interested in running marathon races well but not so focussed on 5k races etc, how have the training schedules changed?
Modern schedules are structured in exactly the same way – only aimed at walkers. I just looked at three “reputable” sources for training plans, Hal Higdon, Runners World and BUPA – and all three, in all their stages from “beginner” to “advanced”, had more or less half-hearted 5k plans, with a few extra long bits added here and there.
They aren’t aimed at people who want to run a good marathon. They are aimed at people who want to be equally sh*t at 1500m, 3k, 5k, 10k, 10 mile, half marathon and marathon! Not enough effort put in, and that inadequate effort diluted by a complete lack of sensible focus.
But surely, you may argue, the average must be correct here? How can EVERY expert be so wrong headed? Surely, they are right, and Collier is the one talking cr*p? As usual!
Well, no. First, remember that the modern, inappropriate training schedule is nothing more than an evolution of the 1980s schedule. What worked just fine as a weekly mix of training efforts for the focussed eighties runner doing 100 miles a week, is pretty appalling for the modern hobbyist doing 30. Second, we live in a sub-prime, instant-gratification, credit card culture. People want their dream kitchen NOW, for as little effort as possible. If Runners World tried to buck the trend and publish proper schedules... well, let’s just say that Hal Higdon and BUPA would suddenly get all the business. Fashion has (like in most other areas of popular culture) dumbed everything down. To the level of a microscopically lowest common denominator.
So – it’s easy!
You want to improve your marathon PB from 3:50 to 2:50? (Or whatever!?). Just tear up your training schedule and fire your idiot of a coach, then put in an appropriate number of miles, properly focussed with no run less than 20 miles - and within 9 months you’ll be flying. Piece of cake J
Oh, and make sure you avoid injury, obviously. Teach yourself to run efficiently. Take a rest day after every run. And take an extra one when your quads are hurting.
I shall no doubt elucidate, and illustrate, on how to train properly later, as this challenge progresses. Or fall apart trying!
Right – off to Tesco for a big bag of ice cubes. Ciao.