Run Like a Girl (A Guide to Optimal Pacing at the Comrades Marathon)

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I like to run and I like to run the numbers. There is nothing quite like getting a really big dataset in one’s hands and playing around with the numbers. Once a year I allow myself this self-indulgence. Night after night, glass of red wine after glass of red wine, after everyone else in the household has gone to bed, I sit alone and pound away at my keyboard.

The Comrades data is quite predictable, every year the same patterns emerge. Most people start too fast and finish much slower, there is the Christmas tree finisher pattern where more people finish in the last 15 minutes of each medal cut-off than in any of the previous 15 minute segments.

This Christmas tree, pagoda pattern where more runners finish in the last 15 minutes of each medal cut-off occurs predictably every year.

Every year I come up with a few new ideas to add to the list of graphs and analysis I undertake – and if the findings are interesting enough I work this into conversations, corporate training materials and conference talks whenever I get the opportunity. I’ve run a lot of marathons and I’ve run a lot of data. However, this article covers the most surprising statistic I’ve found.

Continue reading “Run Like a Girl (A Guide to Optimal Pacing at the Comrades Marathon)”
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Life Lessons from the Road: It’s a Jog, not a Sprint

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Business agility has recently become a big buzzword in the corporate world. If you work for a large corporate there’s a good chance that you are currently part of a ‘business agility transformation‘. These are characterised by consultants throwing Japanese words around like ninja stars in a pot-noodle eastern* and lots of talk about sprinting and scrumming.

* as opposed to a spaghetti western.

The good news is that sprinting is really easy – even if the last time you did any running was in PE class at school when you were forced to. Everyone can manage a sprint: It’s a short burst of energy, after which you’re doubled over gasping for breath and can’t run any more. Continue reading “Life Lessons from the Road: It’s a Jog, not a Sprint”

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