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Change the record

by Martin Yelling
Tuesday 1st December 2009
Martin Yelling,  Dec 2009

Hands up if you want to settle for mediocracy in your running?  Runners are so ‘samey’.  They just love routine.  They run the same routes, same times of day, with the same people, and at the same pace.  No wonder some plateau and fail to see any real improvement over time.  Year in, year out, same races, same places.  Change the record.  Ever heard the saying, ‘train the same – stay the same’? You have now.  Simply reproduce the same old junk miles and you sure aren’t going to stretch any comfort boundaries or push back any performance envelopes.  

Recently I was on a plane to Glasgow (after paying a ridiculous amount for baggage just because my case was wafer too fat to fit in the baggage slot) and I read a bit in the in-flight magazine about legendary inventor of the bagless vacuum cleaner James Dyson.  He says how ‘I made 5,127 prototypes of my vacuum before I got it right. There were 5,126 failures”.  Those people, he says, who try more things, experience failure more often are more likely to achieve success in the end.  “We’re taught to do things in the ‘right’ way, but if you want to discover things other people haven’t you need to do things the ’wrong’ way”, says Dyson.

Initiating failure and learning from it ultimate brings results.  So, instead of just banging out the same old miles in the same old way in your training be brave and challenge yourself to do something different.  Like Dyson says, “instead of admiring instant effortless brilliance we should admire the person who perseveres and slogs through and gets there in the end”.  Sounds right up a runner’s street.  With a new year looming cut the chaff out of your running, cleanse your routine and try something different.  I very dare you.

About The Author

Martin Yelling

Martin Yelling used to do a lot more running that he does now.   He once sneaked a AAA’s medal over 1500m, finished in the top 10 in the National XC, clocked some sub 30min 10k’s and even won a few races. 

Once his legs stopped enjoying the pounding quite so much switched to multisport and won the British elite duathlon championships a couple of times, competed at some scarily fast world championships events, came top 15 at Ironman Switzerland and bagged the big one in Kona. 

Now he enjoys running on leafy trails, trying (and failing) to keep up with his wife (2xOlympic marathon runner Liz Yelling), and helping coach runners and triathletes of all standards achieve things they’d previously thought impossible.  He also likes trying to paddleboard, eating the same amount as he used to when training very hard and smiling. www.lizyelling.com


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