My column of two weeks ago created some debate why race standards at club level have dropped off during the last two to three decades despite an upturn in the amount of people now participating in the sport.
Lots of people commented and everyone who did was more than qualified to have an expert opinion.
Most seemed to suggest that people don’t train as hard as in the past or indeed there aren’t enough running groups training together regularly enough.
Well, I do know there are lots of groups that have some brilliant local coaches overseeing the sessions and I do also know that clubs also have leaders who are doing their very best to encourage people of all abilities to have a go at running.
From my perspective, I don’t think as many people train to the same levels anymore by way of quantity and perhaps intensity.
However, this is probably more to do that back in the day it was normal to do 20-mile training runs every Sunday or indeed run 100 miles every week with specific sessions added to the mix whereby running well under five minute miles was also the norm.
I also think back then it really was just a case of getting on with it. Today there is a lot of planning that goes into making a perfect runner i.e. style, technique and other types of training to make us stronger and more efficient.
I don’t necessarily disagree with any of this and having had a really good chat with running expert Chas Allen, this is something I would like to go into more depth about another time.
One of the other things pointed out was that we now rely on far too much technology and look for short cuts.
Possibly so, for which we may have all come to expect far more from less with everything being more accessible nowadays.
The running market is blinded by science, be it through gels and potions to help boost energy levels or the latest shoes on the market which will give you the edge for which I really do believe it is just a question of time before shoes really do help us run quicker.
I have a huge passion for running and I most certainly love the sciences that go with it – I have a huge library on just about every aspect of running.
However, and whilst my extensive range of books covers the very latest research and thoughts by all the experts, my coaching manuals and autobiographies of the greats also go back many decades. Sometimes the most basic and obvious answers can be found in them!