3.43.13 ~4.12.56 'How close can you get'?
Life in the Fast Lane
The Red Oval
In 1999 (Rome) and 1996 (Zurich) respectively the Men's and Women's current world records were set by Hicham El Guerrouj and Svetlana Masterkova...their individual world records are seen here in the title of today's blog....
I made mention yesterday of my thought process about closing down Belayneh Dinsamo after nearly blowing off a run back in 1993 (a run that as it turned out proved to be a watershed moment in my running career- more on this tomorrow) and indeed I did close him down considerably- from the 3.28 marathon time I ran late summer of 1992 in San Francisco to the 2.34 I eventually ran in Napa in 1998....however, he was not the only runner that I went after in that span, I used this same philosophy and motivation in the mile. It did not happen right away, as it was not until 1994 when I joined the Santa Cruz Track Club that I even gave a thought to track running and racing. The SCTC would hold periodic mile time trials and this is where I first came to face with the Red Oval and the magic four lap distance.
In my formative years as a casual athletics fan I was definitely aware of the mile as Steve Ovett was from my home town of Hove and of course the late 1970's and the early 1980's became the golden age of British miling, I just never thought I would be involved in running, racing or miling myself in those years....The Brit Steve Cram held the Men's mile world record from July 1985 (Oslo- 3.46.32) until September 1993 when it was reset by Noureddine Morceli in (Rieti -3.44.39)...
How close could I get?
I began thinking along the same lines as I had back in the 1992 Winter and wondering how much could I close the Algerian Noureddine Morceli down? I dreamt of possibly breaking the 5.00 minute mark but I was not even close yet, I had not even run under a 6.00 minute mile in 1994. By late 1995 I had moved on from the Santa Cruz track Club to my new Coach (Greg Brock) and training partners. My mile time had improved to sub 5.15 by this time...I was working hard for a number of mixed racing distances but in my interview process with Coach Brock and understanding my body type and multi sport background he committed me to improving my mile time..and improve it I did, steadily working down under the 5.00 minute barrier which was a great thrill and on and on from there until eventually I ran 4.01 for the Metric mile (1500 meters) and 4.17 for the Open mile in 1998. Essentially I had closed to within 33 seconds of the world record over a four year span and I was very satisfied and proud of this fact. It took great coaching, great teammates, individual drive and determination and yes, a singular focus, a willingness to come up short and fail multiple times in order for me to be able to adapt and succeed but it was so worth it, I would not change a thing and I am so glad that I deflected and expanded my training practice from strictly long distance road running- I became a better runner as a result and without question a better coach !~
Training for and racing the mile taught me so much about the process, the training sequence, the tactics and strategy and the components required in training to make a very good miler. It taught me about developing one's weaknesses to complement and assist one's strengths and it taught me to be able to run for extended periods of time out of my comfort zone.
How close can you get?
As a coach and former competitive runner I would encourage you to test and explore yourself at different distances and training intervals with different recovery strategies and learn the process of running out of your comfort zone and going beyond presumed limits and testing yourself against yourself and become one with the mighty four laps on the red oval ~! If not now, when? If not you, who?
Walk in peace and let the good times roll !
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