February 15th 2017
Today my lunchtime run was slightly faster than usual. I went out with all of the fast people in my running club, and I had to work hard to keep up. We ran this route that has a long, steady incline. By the time I got to the start of the hill, they’d all pulled away ahead of me slightly.
At which point, I was faced with two options.
Blast it up the hill and coast down the other side, or take it steady up the hill and fly down the other side. See, that’s the one redeeming factor about hills – that if you have to go up one, then by definition you get to go down one as well.
I mean, I say hill, but this is a pretty measly gradient. Either way, I usually decide on the former option and blast it up the hill. Better to get the pain over sooner rather than later, right?
On this occasion, I chose the latter.
I feel like there’s a deeper, more philosophical question in here somewhere. Is it better to work hard until you reach the top, and then coast? Or take a steady ascent to the top and then start flying when you get there?
It sounds like an Aesop fable, but in reality it’s just Maths. It’s just two average speeds over two distances, and one of them comes out as faster.
Bearing in mind that I was struggling to keep up at 5:00 min/km at the start of the run, by the end I was flying downhill at less than 4:00 min/km. And it’s because I’d taken a steady journey to the top of the hill that I was able to do that.
I think it’s relative to life, and success. Do you take the slow, steady path to the top and then really kick on? Or do you work your ass off to get to the top and then decelerate when you get there?
In an ideal world you’d work your ass off to get to the top, and then keep flying when you get there.
In my eyes, in an ideal world there is no ‘top’. You keep climbing and climbing, because downwards is downwards whether you’re coasting or flying.
Until tomorrow, we aren’t talking about running any more.