DIARY: Irish Runner

A brown envelope dumped through my door today with a yellow post-it on it: “thanks for all the contributions – Colum”. About a month ago, I had been ask to write various article proposals for a new series called “Hit the off-road” in Irish Runner and also partook in a photo-shoot on a gorgeous morning in Glendalough to go with it.

I rewrote my piece on the Devil’s Glen which made it in as the article “Heavenly trail” and a short concise primer I tried to put together called “Freedom trails” (I had titled it more boringly “off-road running”, never being a man for the headlines) also featured along with one of several side-bars I wrote so the editors had some different options to work with. The most verbose piece “The Skill of Off-road running” as well as some sample training weeks did not make the cut this time, so if they don’t in the future, hopefully I’ll be able to publish it online at some stage.

Best marks go to the photographer (Donal Glackin) whose double-page panorama shot of me running down close to the Miner’s Village in Glendalough is a stunning shot. I’m hoping to get my hands on some of the others he shot that day. I’m irrevocably damaged by my association with Tony, however, as the first thing I thought when I saw the photo was “that’s a great landing, especially on the uphill, but uhhh I don’t like that straight knee!”

Can I have that unfiltered please?

An old school teacher of mine greeted me back at the festival in Denmark a few weeks back and excitedly told me stories about how I had been 30 years ago as a 3 year old. “Amazing glue brain” she called me reciting stories of weird facts I’d memorise. If I’m a sponge then knowledge is my water, the hunger for more just is never sated. This has been a great boon to me over the years but of course it can also make you an irritating know-it-all.

Another side-effects is that I have stopped enjoying running magazines as much as I should and dismiss most new running publications after reading the excerpt on Amazon. This is mainly down to Tony Riddle, Keith Livingstone and the Lydiard Foundation. After learning from them, I find most literature is still trying to catch up and some won’t because they are move speedily along down the wrong paradigm until they eventually hit a dead-end and come back the right direction.

I now prefer the “story articles” because the moment I read a training article or an article about science or injury prevention my mind is constantly interjecting “that’s not right", “that’s reductionism again”, “that exercise is all wrong”, “none of those shoes are appropriate” and so on and so forth. I often wonder if I became an outspoken atheist because I already, as a young child, took an almost personal level of offense against incorrect our outmoded views being presented as facts. The trick, of course, is to take a deep breath and remember the dictum: “don’t judge, educate”. But even this is not without it’s risks, even when you position someone else’s theories as untrue politely, it invariably causes offense. But it has to be done or else knowledge can never move on.

The learning never stops

I have given up a ton of cherished and long held beliefs in my lifetime and I expect this will continue to be so although I expect it will be less in the future because when you keep rejecting fallacies eventually you narrow yourself down closer to the truth.

Anyway, it’s great to see an article of yours in print. I don’t like to get bogged down into long debates for the sake of it but being a coach means being an educator and hopefully I’ll have more chances to expound my views to a wider public because I believe there’s plenty of important information to get out there which is not yet widely known or even acknowledged.