Highly recommended: Emil Zátopek: The greatest Olympian vanished from public life after he defied Russian tanks in 1968 | The Independent.
As a kid I saw a documentary on Zatopek and was in awe of how dominant a runner he was. Anyone looking for inspiration in athletics can find that in many places: I found mine watching Zatopek and Abibi Bikila (running barefoot in Rome) excel at the Olympics.
The legendary Canadian runner Ed Whitlock has died. (Source: Masters Marathon Legend Ed Whitlock Dies at 86 | Runner’s World). There are so many things to say about Ed, but the article in Runner’s World gives you a sense of just how amazing he was. From his simple running routine to the records he broke, he was a great and unique individual. R.I.P., Ed.
(Photo: linked to in article, by K.C. Armstrong)
If you are planning to run a marathon or half-marathon this year, then one of the first questions you will ask yourself is: do I have enough time to train for it? Two things that can help you answer this question are here: blm849/Bernie-s-Race-Scheduling-Spreadsheets: My Race Schedule Spreadsheets to plan out my training runs.
With my spreadsheets, you enter a date, and it will give you a 16-20 week schedule you need to follow to get ready for a marathon or a half-marathon (or a 21K, as I like to call it).
Since they are spreadsheets, you can adjust them in any way you see fit. Add weeks, change the mileage, etc. If you have any other changes you would like to see, let me know.
Nike seems to think so, based on this: Nike Wants Athletes to Run a Marathon in Under Two Hours, So It’s Rebuilding the Race. And the Runners | WIRED
While it’s a bad idea to say it can’t happen, Runner’s World has a long list of reasons why it will be a difficult thing to accomplish: What Will It Take to Run A 2-Hour Marathon
Perhaps the two hour marathon will be like the four minute mile: once insurmountable, then broken, then broken often. If and when that happens, I think it will not be a near term event.
In the meantime, read the articles, especially the one from Runner’s World: it’s a fascinating study into biomechanics and running, as well as some fine infographics.
The marathon is great race, and if you are aiming to run your first in the new year, it is a great thing to accomplish.
That said, you can also get a great sense of accomplishment out of running races less than 42.2 kilometers. To see what I mean, I highly recommend these two articles that praise the 5K:
- The 5K, Not The Marathon, Is The Ideal Race | FiveThirtyEight
- 10 Reasons the 5K is Freaking Awesome | Runner’s World
After reading them, I had a much greater appreciation of that race. (I think the same argument could be made for the 10K.)
As for me, I am a fan of the half-marathon. The only thing I don’t like about it is the name: it implies you haven’t done something great, when you have. Perhaps it needs to get rebranded as a 20K: not half a marathon, but twice a 10K!
Regardless of the distance you run, and how often you run it, enjoy your athleticism and take pride in it.
(Chart is a link to the image from the FiveThirtyEight article)
Here’s the story behind the photo, above. Andre De Grasse, the up and coming runner from Canada, was going against the legend from Jamaica, Usain Bolt, in the 200 meter race at the Olympics. Rather than just concede to Bolt, De Grasse and team came up with a plan to beat him. It’s was a smart plan, and the story of it is equally good. Read it here: De Grasse’s plan was to beat Bolt by making him run faster. It almost worked. Here’s why – The Globe and Mail
While it didn’t work, it was likely the best way to beat Bolt (assuming he was beatable). And the confidence to think he could beat the Jamaican legend is one of the reasons we’ll be reading about the success of Andre De Grasse for some time to come.
This piece, During Rule 40 Blackout, Emma Coburn Showcases New Balance on Olympic Stage, FloTrack, has a good run down of Rule 40 and how Emma Coburn cleverly circumvented it. In short, Rule 40 prevents all but official brands and whom they sponsor from promoting them during an blackout period of time surrounding the time of the Olympics. For example, US athletes using Nike can promote the Nike brand, but US athletes using other brands like New Balance cannot.
How did Coburn circumvent this? According to that article,
After crossing the finish line in third behind Ruth Jebet and Hyvin Jepkemoi, respectively, Coburn immediately removed her New Balance spikes and draped them over her shoulder before carrying the American flag. As a result of the bold move, thousands of photos snapped during her victory lap included her sponsor, New Balance, which otherwise would not have been featured. It’s more than likely that Coburn, who is vocal about sponsorship rights, did this intentionally to spotlight New Balance in the middle of the Rule 40 “blackout period” and circumvent Nike’s exclusive sponsorship rights with USATF.
One thing to note is that there are different rules for different athletic federations, it seems. The US swim team has more latitude than the track and field athletes.
As always, this is about money. Whatever else the Olympics are about — and obviously they are about many good things — money is one of the big aspects of these games.