Tuesday, January 03, 2012

The Perfect Mile

Is it just me or is there a lot of free advice being handed out about goals and goal-setting at this time of year?

One thing you don't hear too often is someone outright suggesting a goal for you. With goal-setting being an intrinsically personal thing, I suppose it isn't really appropriate to volunteer goals for others (especially en masse via a blogging platform).

Nevertheless, this is Swimupstream, and we go places where others don't dare to tread so...

In case you haven't selected a goal for 2012 you should consider this one to get you started:

1. Read The Perfect Mile by Neal Bascomb, then

2. Train to run your own "Perfect Mile".

Question: Why this book?

Answer: The Perfect Mile is an awesome read recounting the efforts of three men to be the first to break the four minute mile. Even though most sports fans may know who achieved the milestone first, hearing about the methods, journey and fierce competition that captured the world's attention is inspirational. Plus 90% of people should probably read AND exercise more... so it makes sense to start here.

Question: Why set your own 1 Mile record?

Answer: Well, if you read the book you'll want to run a fast mile for that reason alone. There is a legendary, epic, historic thing about the mile and once you rip through Bascomb's account of Bannister vs. Landy (in Vancouver!) you'll want a little taste of it for yourself. Learning, and working to drop your mile time will positively effect any running you do - you'll likely become more efficient, you'll definitely become more fit, and you will learn how to accept (maybe enjoy) a little pain - skills that will serve you well in any endurance sport activities. Plus it isn't too hard to work a little mile training into your day, or into your current training plan.

Final Note: I read this book (a favourite of mine) for the second time over the holidays and have decided to embark upon my own quest for the "Perfect Mile". It won't be sub-4 minutes (alas) but I am going to have some fun working to make it fast. I plan to drop my 2012 Mile on Feb 29 (dramatic, symbolic date...), if anyone out there is reading and wants to do the same leave a comment... we can compare notes and congratulate each other!

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