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A month ago Liam Adams, Michael Shelley and I were named as Australia’s male marathoners for Rio. That was an exciting time and not a moment too soon. It was exactly 101 days before the men’s marathon event at Rio and on a Friday before the 14th weekend before the race. That is 14 chances to do a quality Sunday long run, 14 more Tuesday max aerobic workouts, 14 more Saturday race pace workouts and 14 more easy Monday runs.

In short being announced 14 weeks before the race was perfect as I was able to flick the switch of my marathon preparation straight away. Too long a run up is a bit like watching my son’s Noah and Finn try long jump if we are ever at an athletics track. They nearly always run all the way to the extreme of the runway and then turn around and race towards the long jump pit. By the time they are at the take off board they have lost all their speed and momentum and barely make it into the pit. This is a risk of a marathon preparation that is too long or too intense will have a similar affect. Event day comes and I could be spent, cooked, overdone, overtrained etc.

During today’s easy 50min Monday run I was able to take stock of the first four weeks of my preparation.

Weeks one and two loads of energy, highly motivated, knocked a few workouts out of the park.

Week three Feeling the affect of the first two weeks I backed off the volume, focused on recovery and was able to get going for a big weekend of training.

Week four Changed the mix of the training. Less speed, more steady endurance.

I am happy with the first 30 days on my road to Rio. The feeling I have when I am training well and adapting well is hugely satisfying. This is why I love being in the thick of a marathon preparation. It’s all about the goal, the day of the race where all this training is realised.

During the weekend I had the pleasure to have the company of running guru in the true sense of the word, Rob Higgley. Whist Rob can easily fill books with his thoughts and learning’s of the art and science of running he shared with me some simple observations. First was that he thought I was on the right track by running only just enough as an older athlete. I have experience and years of miles in the bank so the foundation is there, I need only remind myself of it.

This thought resonates strongly as I have no desire to run 200km per week!

The second Higgley gem was his observation of the elite Kenyan runners of Iten.

“They do nothing. They run, sleep and eat and perhaps wash their clothes. Many would not even read a book in the downtime. They just sit.”

Our Australian downtime involves many things apart from just sitting. Cleaning, playing with kids, returning missed calls, texting, emailing, checking the web for news or sports results and writing a blog all come before reading a book, which comes before just sitting!

So over the next 10 weeks I now have another training goal. To rediscover the art of doing nothing, to just sit, to be still.

And if I cant do that. I’ll settle for reading a book!


Picture: Rob Higgley between Alan McCloskey and myself in March 2012.