Tweet Sir Roger Bannister is 78 today. And this must rank among the best four minute videos on the internet.

Tweet More from knackered downunder… Australian long- and middle-distance champion Craig Mottram‘s slogan is simple: “keep with the program”. No matter who you are, get a plan for any race and — just as importantly — be prepared to finesse and change it, if conditions deviate from your assumptions. The 26-year-old Mottram took first place […]

Tweet Australian knackered hack correspondent, knackered downunder, writes… As far as winning is concerned, don’t under-estimate the motivating power of ego, psychology, attitude, self-delusion — or whatever else you might want to call it. Ego is central to achievement, but it’s also got to be backed up by reality (what we can actually do). Sports […]

Hot from Flora London Marathon headquarters is news that reigning Olympic women’s champion Mizuki Noguchi has withdrawn from this year’s race. Noguchi famously beat Paula Radcliffe, the favourite, in Athen’s 2004 when Paula dropped out.

Noguchi suffered an inflamed Achilles tendon earlier in the year, and lost a month’s training. Me too! The difference is that Noguchi is pulling out because she does not expect to do her best, having lost such time. Should that be a rational response for anyone? The lower down the food chain, the less likely you are to quit in such circumstances.

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Arthur Newton is not a figure many will have heard of, not even committed runners. But Newton is the father of modern endurance training method.

Born in 1883, Newton was a veteran of the First World War when he took up running seriously, aged 38. He won the 1923 South African 55-mile Comrades marathon, beating the existing record by two hours – this is regarded by experts as one of the greatest athletic feats of all time. During his running career he held nearly all the major distance records, including the 100 miles between Bath and London. His first Comrades win in 1922 was after just 20 weeks of training from his first painful two-miler.

This is a story of redemption and a man seeking reparation. Newton was an early example of someone who used his sport for political ends. He had returned to his South African farmstead from serving as a dispatch rider in the British Army, only to find the government had neglected his property in his absence. He believed that amateur athletics was a uniquely noble activity, one that could not fail to inspire sympathy for his cause.

For those of us who run for charity, the motivation is not dissimilar. Indeed, many take on the marathon following the death or illness of a loved-one, or as a means of overcoming some other life challenge as a statement of emotional and financial support to the organisations that have provided succour to us, our loved ones, or others whose plight has moved us.

By the 1950s the full value of his training methods was realised with the appearance of the great age of endurance running. What he understood in the 1920s was that you needed to do a lot of mileage, and most of it slowly, building speed and distance with small incremental steps. Indeed, his early training involved a lot of walking. Those first two miles caused him a lot of discomfort – he could not run for several days afterward, so he walked instead.

Newton’s approach was to develop what physiologists call “running economy” – something I’ve realised my own training has not yet established. My maximal test at the University of Bath highlighted just this. While I have focused mostly on the VO2 Max, which is above average, my report was much more critical of how well I use that capacity over distance. Because I have not trained slowly enough I have below average economy. Hopefully, as the miles pile on that will improve.
Resting Heart Rate 46

Weight 71.5 kg

Mood :-(

No exercise, insufficient time.

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