Squeezing the body through the windows of the mind as we maneuver the mind to areas we need the body
Life in the Fast Lane
Competitive running can often be associated with a series of barriers - time barriers for sure and barriers that our mind can perhaps place upon us either as a doubt or perhaps even as a defense mechanism. A mental governor perhaps to stop us pushing ourselves too hard.
For those that have read my book Run Tall, Run Easy you may recall the concept that the definition of cardiovascular fitness stems from the fact that the human body does not like to exercise written in the chapter 'Don't Exercise, Train' !
The concept of overcoming the 'governor' is the subject of a blog for another day, a complex subject comprising of many elements and requiring a skill set that I look forward to discussing and investigating with you...
For today though, I want to address the time barrier. Perhaps the most famous example was the notion and belief that the four minute mile was physically impossible prior to 1954 when it was finally accomplished on a cool Spring day in Oxford, England by Sir Roger Bannister at the Ifley road track. Perhaps equally interestingly was how in fairly short order after it was broken on May 6th some fifty times whereas (as aforementioned) not long before it was considered impossible. Part of this of course was the fact that training was becoming more sophisticated and competition was fierce driving athletes to train harder and harder but one cannot dismiss that once the barrier and mental block had been broken, once the myth was dismantled then runners just 'busted down the door and charged right through'. Today in 2017 we are perhaps approaching a similar barrier at the marathon distance. Will the two hour mark be broken anytime soon. I for one do not doubt it and believe that it will- my only hope that is done legitimately and fairly, the honest way, the old fashioned way, by earning it without the aid of drugs of pharmaceutical assistance.
For the honest and fair everyday regular age group runner one can only hope they never stoop to such artificial, immoral and potentially dangerous considerations...for this runner as they strive to challenge themselves to move up the 'speed ladder' to faster times in their 5k, 5 mile, 10k, half marathon and marathon etc in their quiet times away from training or competition they need to reflect on their training and recent race times and as they steadily improve they must now see themselves finishing a workout interval or indeed a race under a certain time; see it to believe it, imagine it, feel it, breathe it, love it, draw confidence from the 'Yellow Brick Road' we call a training log and if you do this what once seemed a dream will very much become reality and what once seemed daunting will soon become pedestrian.
In my first ever running book that I read, the great New Competitive Runner's Handbook by Coach Bob Glover, the author would speak of various race barriers such as the 40 minute 10k or the three or four hour marathon barrier. He stated how the 40 minute 10k was such a badge of honor that runners strived for and how the four hour marathon separated the marathon survivor from the marathon runner and the three hour mark separated the marathon runner from the marathon racer. There was a time I could not imagine myself running a 40 minute 10k (6.26 per mile pace) and yet within six or seven years (yes it was not overnight) I progressed to where I could run this pace on a steady state 'bread & butter' run without even trying that hard...yes, it required some talent, a level of focus, good coaching, a plan, the opportunity and time to train but it also very much included the understanding that one must go beyond presumed limits and in order to do this I had to learn to Squeeze the body through the windows of the mind as we maneuver the mind to areas we need the body to follow....
Walk in peace and let the good times roll !