Being now 95 days to my major goal its time to get serious and ’go hard’ in my training. It would make the most sense to progress every training day such that I am just on breaking point. This means I can make the most gains in the time I have left to the Olympic marathon and arrive in peak condition.

A mentor of mine and a great observer of athletics Nic Bideau once told me,

“Scotty, you rolled the dice but your number was never on it!”

He was talking about a race where I had just paid the ultimate price for my eagerness, but I believe this wisdom applies equally to training. All runners face the challenge to learn their bodies and to discover how it responds to each new level of training. Many learn the hard way, as I did, where the outer limits of training are.

10 years ago Australian coaching legend Pat Chlohessy invited my to come and run against Peter Nowill in a 5000m invitational race at the University of Queensland, Brisbane. Pat also kindly offered to host me at his home, an offer I gladly accepted.  As one of the patriarchs of Australian distance running and a true gentleman it would be an honour to have an audience with Pat. I threw my training diary into my bag thinking I may get the chance to pick his brain about what the next steps were for me.

After the track meet I had my tail up (despite being beaten by a couple seconds by Pete) and Pat agreed to study my training diary. I waited patiently thinking he could only be impressed with the quality and volume I was logging. Contrary to what I thought Pat began shaking his head. I sipped my cup of tea nervously wondering what he was thinking. Pat respectfully continued to leaf through the pages and finally spoke;

“I think your doing too much mate” he said, “I hope I am wrong but if you keep on doing this you’ll get injured”

The words were hard to hear. We talked more and Pat related examples of athletes he had coached who had attempted what I was currently doing. As was his way, he didn’t labour the point; I could hear the message and take it on board, or not. The choice was mine.

6 weeks later I was diagnosed with multiple stress fractures and didn’t race for 10 months.

With 14 weeks to go to my ultimate goal I have the chance to shape my own training, I can reach for it, ie; “roll the dice”  or I can learn from my most powerful tool…..experience.