For nearly two weeks now I’ve posted no training information, or daily data updates. I’ve not trained because of a virus. On a daily basis my resting heart rate has been 50 bpm, against a pre-virus of 44-48. The virus seems to have reached fairly deep into my upper respiratory tract, although not too severely.

I’ve not felt inclined to exercise at all. Talking to the folks at Polar today, that disinclination is actually a helpful signal.

This approach also seems vindicated by my discovery this week of Art De Vany’s blog. Art’s business is uncertainty, and so it is interesting that he devotes so much to questions of exercise. I’ll deal more in later posts with Art’s work, some of which on “Holywood economics” I was already vaguely familiar with through Nassim Taleb’s Fooled By Randomness. To cut to the chase, Art’s position on exercise is that we should emulate our hunter-gatherer ancestors. That means marathons are not a good idea, and our modern diets are actually bad for us. Given that part of my instinct to run long distance was based on an intuition that it reflected a hunter-gatherer past, this is actually quite shocking.

Anyway, more on Art in due course. I’m still not over this virus, and that is more than 5 weeks training in 9 that I’ll have lost, which really puts the London Marathon project in jeopardy. I’m due to run the Bath Half Marathon in a week and a half. I could still do this at a push, just treating it as a long run. But the advice from Polar was to rethink.

Resting heart rate 50 bpm

Weight 72 kg

Mood :-|

No exercise, virus

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Tweet Living in Bath, with access to the Bath University Sports Training Village, it is easy to take for granted that as a private citizen you actually belong to a kind of sporting aristocracy. There are really no better sports facilities in the country. It’s new, it cost £23 million, and all sports are concentrated […]

Tweet More from knackered downunder A campaign by the Australian cycle industry to show that cycling is not dangerous – in fact, fairly safe – can’t be easily dismissed as a simple exercise in self-interest and it quotes some interesting academic proof. According to the Cycling Promotion Fund’s website, choosing not to cycle because of […]

It’s not a shark but the blank page that can induce a sense of failure in a writer, observed US singer-songwriter Beth Nielsen Chapman today on BBC Radio 2 (about 75 minutes in). She said the hardest work you may do as a writer is staring at that blank space for two hours when nothing is coming through.

But achieving nothing concrete in that time is not failure. “You just lifted 2,000 pounds in the gym of creativity,” she said. She also used a marathon metaphor: “People don’t run out the door and run 26 miles. They create the muscles first.” You do that by making sure you turn up and try, even if you don’t write something.

Nielsen Chapman teaches creativity and songwriting and believes creativity exists within everyone, but in many of us this is blocked. It’s like a fine white linen towel on a high shelf waiting to be reached and pulled down, she said.

Perhaps, as well as latent talent, it is knowledge of how to persist that separates the elite athlete or the Nielsen Chapman from the rest of us. They persist until they can reach.

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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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