Even after many years in endurance sports I still have a lot to learn. That's part of the appeal. Last week's Great Ocean Walk 100km served up plenty of lessons. As the ability to move like a normal person has returned I look back on the event and see what I can use to improve.

The best thing I learnt is I can push myself harder than I knew. My mind can be strong and I have the ability to override a lot of my body's defence mechanisms. This can be a double edged sword, and I hope I do temper it with enough wisdom not to do any harm. I believe I can take away an improved ability to get more out of myself in select moments.

It is the muscles and connective tissue that seems to be the most susceptible to fail. While there are plenty of other potential weak points, the muscles can just stop doing what you require of them. Smashing the legs early by going out too fast or running in a style that creates big eccentric loads is a good way to disrupt the muscles. I rediscovered this the hard way. Conditioning plays a big role here and it is probably the biggest risk lower overall training volume can lead to. I failed to caullous the legs enough for the demands of the race.

Knowing how to listen to and understand the information my body is telling me probably saved my race. Making adjustments to my nutrition and hydration throughout seemed to keep that part on point for most of the day. Making the decision to take some extra time at two checkpoints, brought back the ability to run (at least for a while). Of course I missed that bit that feeling easy over the opening kilometres should have really felt very very easy.

Posture, technique and being injury free is under rated. While I may have significantly under done the conditioing going into this race it was certainly counter balanced to some degree by being injury free. Being able to maintain a good posture and some reasonable technique in the latter half kept the pace up higher than I otherwise would have been able hold through just will power. The key for future improvement here is improving conditioning without reducing posture, technique and injury status. That challenge is of course easier said that done, but it is the fun of training.


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