Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Janathon Day 8 - Just enough is enough

Treadmill - 4km in 20 minutes + 20 minutes stretching

“If you seek tranquility do less. Or (more accurately) do what is essential. If you can eliminate it, you will have more time and more tranquility. Ask yourself at every moment ‘is this necessary?’ But we need to eliminate unnecessary assumptions as well. To eliminate the unnecessary actions that follow.” (Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 4)

Further to yesterday’s post on the desirability of rest days I am posting some training advice from Marcus Aurelius. On first sight it might not seem the sort of thing any leather skinned, granite jawed, hard as nails,  coach would spit out but it is exactly the same as Tim Noakes’ 6th law of training: achieve as much as possible on the minimum of training.

It is easy to be seduced by the idea that if something is working and making you a good runner then a little bit more will make you even better, then a bit more and a bit more until ... well until things fall apart. You will either get injured, ill, or your legs will become heavy and lifeless. The point of training is not to try to prove how hard you are by showing you can cope with monster mileage. The point  is to do enough to fulfil your ambitions, whatever they may be. Training to finish the course has a very different load from training to win the race and the two programmes might look very different but they both share this aim.

It might take some experimentation but the ultimate aim for all of us is to find our optimal level. As I run mainly for my own satisfaction and sense of well-being, my optimal mileage is probably quite low. I have to find the amount and type of running essential to keeping my interest and enthusiasm high. That is all.

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