This year for the 40th Anniversary of the Adelaide Marathon, we have sourced an extract from the November 1981 SARRC Newsletter. Whilst some of the training advice and science has changed, the overall tongue in cheek message is just as relevant today as it was then.
“On Thoughtful Running, by Gerry Cayzer”
“I want to lower my PB which is at present 3:10 (or 3:50 or 4:10), and my weekly training is 40 miles. What’ll I do” A typical plea in a letter to the Ed of a running magazine.
You’re in the middle of reading Lydiard and it’s obvious isn’t it? “More Long Slow Distances is the answer. Get your mileage up my girl”
Or are you regularly reading Runners’ World and that recent article comes immediately to mind: “Quality. More quality running is what you need, son. Add a couple of interval sessions a week.”
And there’s the claim from prominent USA track coach Brooks Johnson that the answer is in the feet: “ Get out there and do some barefoot running as often as you can – it will strengthen your feet and give you more speed.”
But should you be doing some fartlek? And hill running? And up and down sand dunes would build up your quadriceps – distance running tends to weaken the quads don’t you know?
Of course diet and vitamins are important too.
Oh, and if you are going to train harder, whichever way you do so, and reduce your time, you’ve got to dose up on magnesium and potassium – the chemicals that aid recovery from exertion. They’re not available in adequate quantities in foodstuffs so you must supplement. K-Mag tablets are the latest; you could get into’em.
There is so much being written and much of it without one conviction or another. There are erudite runner-writers who tell us, also with conviction, to try everything, all these things, and find out what training, etch suits us individually. Now that will take a deal of time and effort. On the other hand, perhaps you have known or read about runners from under-developed countries who emerge from goat herding to run like champions on a subsistence diet. Maso-Tua, the young PNG runner of great potential, merely runs to and from school each day and lives mainly on bananas and rice.
What do I do? I think one message from all of this is clear: that there are many ideas floating around indicates the wonderful uncertainty of whichever training program.
Personally, I like the idea of variety. I believe also that improved fitness and thereby performance will follow if training produces those readily seen or measured physical improvements; better muscle –tone; improved flexibility; reduced weight; lower resting pulse-rate; etc. etc.
A vital requirement is to maintain a high level of motivation. This is where, for me, variety of training program becomes important. Sometimes I shake my head in wonder at the runners who plod, incessantly it seems, around the racecourse, or the river, or the ‘block’, or any other unchanging training course. And then I ponder: perhaps they put in as much or more training effort as I, despite their restricted scene!?
There is so much to think on, and I can only ruminate effectively when in that more natural state of jogging along, perhaps heading down a newly discovered trail. So, excuse me…..