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February 24, 2014

All too often so many lose interest in something that they think they can achieve. Trust me I’ve been there myself so many times it isn’t funny, although I’m loathe to go through them now. Thankfully I’ve learned the value of variation in training and other things I may do to at least shake out of an obsession with routine.

Normally in run training, this is all about distance and routes run. Last year I was adamant that I needed to be running certain distances over certain areas of town to try to get a result, which by and large worked well enough. This year I’ve decided to shake things up as mentioned in an earlier post, with time as opposed to distance being a main focus. Plus I’ve varied the length of routes to incorporate a number of side streets. I understand this isn’t for everyone, particularly when the bulk of my sessions due to work happen early in the morning.

Yesterday I was able to perform a training session in the afternoon, which proved to be a

A pair of items often used as listening material during training.

A pair of items often used as listening material during training.

decent simulation of the Twilight Run in a month’s time in Brisbane (more on that to come). The initial setup was similar, the usual stretching routine, gathering clothing suitable for the conditions (sleeveless top, pocket less shorts, armband to hold keys and phone which for once came with me rather than stayed at home charging), but then I made a decision that was unusual for a training run. I decided to leave the earphones at home, only using the iPod as a timing device.

Whilst this wasn’t the first time I’ve ran without earphones for I always race without them, this was the first time I can remember ever completing run specific training without ANY form of music in the ears. Prior to purchasing the iPod (I use the version 6 Nano model, does everything I want and need), I would literally carry my phone and use that as both a timing device (I hadn’t downloaded running apps) and as a music player either streaming digital radio stations through TuneIn or playing local radio stations. Normally during training sessions since the purchase of the iPod in late 2012, morning runs are accompanied by local radio and afternoon runs usually incorporate the sub 1000 song library that I’ve accumulated over the years.

Certainly it felt a little different adjusting to listening to natural surroundings rather than a song released in the 1970’s. Of course early in the mornings there’s a reduction in traffic so I don’t hear as many vehicles passing by. Being a Sunday afternoon run the buzz of lawnmowers often penetrated the air as I negotiated the few side streets I used. There was the odd chirp of birds that I sometimes try to concentrate on hearing during magpie breeding season (usually between August and October which makes training for events like the Melbourne Marathon trickier. It’s NOT a good idea to pass through a magpie infested area unless you are willing to slow down and maintain eye contact with the bird). But apart from that the running didn’t seem all that different.

Thinking that a lack of music may see me target a reduced pace didn’t exactly come to fruition. It seemed that the time checks from the geographical landmarks were comparable to the times I was running during the regular morning sessions, notwithstanding a slight increase in distance and the lack of short speed bursts that have worked their way into the training run rotation for 2014. The general pace only saw a reduction as the anticipated target time edged closer, for yesterday was the first time I was able to hit what I was targeting in terms of time for the week. Not forgetting the fact that I had spent a full work shift from 6AM that morning meaning that I certainly wasn’t feeling 100%, but thankfully there are no injuries to report.

I guess a valid question now is that following this experience, would I dare to repeat running without the music for a TRAINING run, as opposed to a race run which are always tune free zones. At this stage the answer is almost certainly not, familiarity seems to reign supreme. I understand just why so many experts are against the use of music players given many are trying to adapt methods from the past to today’s generation. But for me like so many others, I feel my concentration is enhanced, particularly with the early morning sessions.

There was a mention earlier of the Twilight Run in Brisbane ( has all the details, you can even enter on the day) which I have decided to enter in a month’s time. Entering such an event is in line with my thinking that to prepare properly for a big race, then the best practice and training you can get is by actually entering a race. Unlike most other runs I won’t be focusing on a particular time, this will be a genuine training run. Plus given I’ll have football commitments on the Saturday a few hours north of Brisbane in the town of Bundaberg it seemed a logical fit to do an event that weekend, and with the event being in the afternoon as opposed to the normal morning time slot, it all seems to fit perfectly. Related bookings will be made in 2 weeks time, for this week the focus away from the roads and training routes will be on booking Canberra accommodation.



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