7 July 2014


As I continue my running streak which now sits at 19, I ask myself, am I getting any better, stronger or even faster? Run of the week would have to have been my 4.21 min/km paced 10K on Saturday. I backed that up on the Sunday with a 4.41 min/km that felt so easy which kind of surprised me. It made me convinced that no doubt about it, day in and day out running does build performance. More than that, I get the feeling that I’m far far better at recovering from one day to the next. No more aches and pains first thing in the morning from the night before. Is the ability to recover the most important attribute of a ‘good’ runner? And where in the equation do talent and hard work fit?

Steve Way is one talented son of a .... on left back in 2007 and today

In 2007 sleep became a real problem for Steve Way and he attributed this to weighing around 105kg and smoking a pack of ciggies a day. Alarmed at where this might lead, Steve decided to get fit and setting himself a goal of finishing a marathon seemed like a good idea. Next month a new Steve Way will turn 40 and be one of the oldest competitors at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. That’s right Steve will represent England in the marathon after qualifying at the London Marathon in a time of 2.16.27. All in the space of just 7 years. Talented … you bet he is. 

As I pound the streets EVERY night I reflect on whether I’m better today than I was yesterday.  I also ponder the following … is this game more about the talent I have or the hard work I can put in? 

In respect of the marathon my thoughts are that no matter what your talent, hard work mixed in equal amounts of determination can and should get you across the finishing line in under 3 hours given at least 4 to 5 years of consistent training. A sub 2.30 time on the other hand is something entirely different. Those gifted guys and girls that achieve this have a talent that only they were born with. Something that no amount of blood sweat and tears can make up for. In a way accepting that is kind of liberating. What’s wrong with occasionally sitting back on the couch to marvel at their incredible human endeavor and feel good about it too?

Now on the subject of raw talent, what about these guys ...

What runner wouldn't envy the tempo this guy has?
And this guy demonstrates his talents at stretching 
that nasty psoas muscle to perfection

Forever the performer

Simply awesome


  1. Nice continuation of the streak Mark. You need to give it time - there will be good and not so good days. I remember Nate Jenkins said of his first year trying to get to 100 mile weeks that he felt terrible a lot of the time and wasn't running any better than previous years until all of a sudden he had a big jump in performance.

    Yeah, Steve Way is certainly talented. Funny, but I know a bloke who PB'd at 2:24 claimed he wasn't talented. I think there are many aspects to running talent (body type, natural VO2Max, muscle fibre mix, durability, basic speed etc) and we all have a % talent of each. I'd be 25% on basic speed and 85% on durability for example. Then you have the 'training bucket' - how much consistent good training you can complete. Steve Way would be about 95% in this bucket. Add the training and talent buckets together and that's how you end up racing.

    Thanks for the clips - Denzel and Gene, fantastic. But I'd give everything to have the talent to put on my dacks no handed!

  2. Like that notion of a 'training bucket' a lot. It gives purpose to even the simplest of training sessions done well. I might have marked you higher in speed given your previous PBs but think you got it spot on with durability. You Aussies and your slang! I reckon I'd have buckley's chance of getting those dacks on too.

    1. The 'before' version of Steve Way wouldn't have got 'em on!
      My good PBs had more to do with youth and hard training than speed. A 50% on basic speed young runner would do 55s for 400m whereas I was 62s. I realised this was a weakness that was holding me back and used to run sessions like 10x100m almost flat-out. Thinking about it now, don't think that was sensible training!