So, How Many Hats Do You Wear?

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Pensacola, Florida, United States
Husband. *Dog Dad.* Instructional Systems Specialist. Runner. (Swim-challenged) Triathlete (on hiatus). USATF LDR Surveyor. USAT (Elite Rules) CRO/2, NTO/1. RRCA Rep., FL (North). Observer Of The Human Condition.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Law Of Diminishing Returns

Okay, a survey link on the front page of Yahoo! asks what I consider a rhetorical question: What's the key to having the happiest job? Part of me thinks back to the physician/ultrarunner Timothy Noakes' 14 Laws of Training, hidden in plain sight within his weighty tome Lore of Running. (if you want to be a serious runner or effectively guide runners, this text is probably the philosopher's stone of running texts) One of the laws says something to the degree of try to achieve desired athletic performance on the minimal volume of training possible.
Most runners I encounter, however, want to achieve great gains in performance on less than optimal training, or on no training whatsoever. That's like doing no work & expecting a paycheck mailed to your home...even better, direct deposit to your bank account, as a reward. Crazy, no? John Parker, in several of his books, reiterates a painfully obvious fact on performance gain; there is no secret outside of the often heart-rending process of wearing down the outsoles of your running shoes, one molecule of rubber at a time. Really, if there were a pill, potion, powder or plan that could guarantee performance gains 100 percent of the time, it would have been outlawed by now. Even (so-called) performance-enhancing drugs can't replace desire & discipline. Or plain dumb luck.
So, sometimes you have to experiment & find out how much training is too much, & how much training is the most effective...for you. Not everyone has the time or work schedule, or the physical desire to get up at oh-dark-thirty & run six, eight, ten miles, day in & day out. Perhaps they have found their fastest performances were the result of long, easy runs in the afternoon, with one or two speed workouts laced in during the week. Sometimes this also means taking a rest day or an easy day here & there...planned or unplanned, it makes no difference.
I don't think this is necessarily limited to male athletes. I've trained with a couple of female runners who would literally run themselves into the ground & not give an inch during a workout. One was definitely the type that if I were to mention there was a bone sticking out of her leg she would have likely asked me 'and whose bone might that be?' Regrettably, she is Once A Runner, a recreational runner now, as is her husband. Proof sometimes that madness begets madness? No. Birds of a feather? Perhaps.

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