Monday, 28 September 2015

Rum runner's relay and the personal trophy

On the weekend I was part of the winning team for the Rum Runner's Relay (A Few Good Men). The team award has gone to HRC (Halifax Running Club) for ten years straight so yes, we are breaking history.

Ultimate prize: A rum barrel! (sadly it contains no rum) 
Since my time in Halifax is growing limited (assuming I find work in Montreal next spring), it was a good time as any to experience part of the coastline on foot from the HRM to Lunenburg. Beautiful weather and a fun 12-hour day overall. I'd like to be back, if possible. We'll see.

Monday, 14 September 2015

Science of running: a hierarchy

Listening to Steve Magness' podcast on the topic of Systems vs Process methods to coaching got me thinking about my own take on the subject.

By and large I agree with Steve's message, which boils down to acknowledging coaches can't expect long-term development from their athletes if they follow a pre-ordained workout recipe. This makes perfect sense, as so many factors go into choosing a proper working, to declare your original plan unassailable is tantamount to fortune telling.

But I was irked (as always) when Nassim Taleb's cursed Swan quoted. It is true that "One cannot understand a macroscopic system by appealing to its components in isolation" when making final decisions. But it is also true that isolating certain components can be helpful. That's why we have the Large Hadron Collider. That's why our minds do not benefit from unnecessary multi-tasking. That's why workouts often focus on one type of running (easy, tempo, distance, speed).

Isolation is, in essence, good. Then as athletes grow in complexity, so do the workouts. Each workout component is equivalent to a keyed note. The totality of multiple workouts with many such keys is music.

To illustrate this complexity, I made a diagram with the various internal levels within each of us. To avoid over-generalizing I focus on running.