Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Dylan in Berlin

With Dylan incommunicado somewhere in Bohemia at the moment, doing some well deserved sightseeing, I thought I'd offer my own reaction to his Berlin performance in temporary lieu of his own report, which I hope to have sometime soon. If the following article in our local paper is any indication, it should offer some very interesting insights into his first (of many, we hope) full-scale international meet experience:

Whig Standard article

In my view, Dylan's 33rd place/2:18 performance was solid, and certainly consistent both with his training going in and his previous two marathon performances. He finished much closer than the rest of the field to his seed time, meaning that he finished much higher than the simple statistics would have predicted, and he ran an intelligent race in doing so, moving through the middle of the field in the final 12.2kms. In hindsight, his decision to push the pace-- along with team mate Reid Coolsaet-- after the 30k mark may have been something of a mistake; however, calculated risks of this kind are the essence of championship competition, and Dylan and Reid should be lauded for their audacity and courage. Moreover, the lessons they learned from this experiment will add to their arsenal of experience for next time. While we would both obviously have preferred a major breakthrough-- a top 20 finish, for instance-- such one-time leaps are very difficult to summon on-demand, and doubly so in a championship race setting. The next best thing to a big breakthrough-- particularly in marathoning, where the average success rate tends to be much lower than for other events-- is a consistent performance, which is what Dylan produced in Berlin. When I was preparing for the marathon myself back in the '90s, I was told by several informed observers that almost every marathoner experiences a flame-out in at least one of his first 2 attempts (e.g. even the legendary "Boston" Billy Rodgers, who knew that course like the back of his hand, dropped out in his first attempt there.) For Dylan to have produced solid results in each of his first 3 attempts at the distance is testament to the soundness of his preparation and execution. Further improvement would seem to depend simply on continued consistency in training (in addition to careful increases in his training load) and a consequent deepening of his basic conditioning for the event. He will not attempt another marathon this year, but will return to the event-- this time with the main goal of improving in his time down to 2:13-14-- in the spring of 2010.

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