Needless to say, I was overcooked by the time race day rolled around. I felt good, and indeed better and better, throughout the first several weeks of training, but I started to feel lousy around the time I made a cross-country trip to New York City to attend my friend Mike’s wedding a few weeks before the marathon. I went for a run in Central Park with the groom and just felt lousy. As it happened, I had chosen to take Joe Friel’s seminal triathlon training book, The Triathlete’s Training Bible, on the plane. This was the first real training book I had ever read. I learned many things from it, including the importance of training workload modulation. I clearly recall looking up from the book at one point and staring at the back of the seat in front of me, thinking, €œI’m doomed. I was reading Friel’s book at this time because I had been contracted to write a triathlon book of my own. Aware that I was wholly unqualified for this task, I embarked upon a crazily ambitious crash self-education process that entailed reading Friel’s book; every other triathlon book ever written; cycling, triathlon, sports nutrition, and exercise science books; and the entire 18-year archives of Triathlete magazine. Among all this literature, no resource had a more profound effect on me than Daniels’ Running Formula by the great coach and exercise physiologist Jack Daniels. Every true training authority develops a system, but he or she usually begins the process of becoming a training authority by buying into someone else’s system. That’s what I did with Daniels’s formula. At the back of that book is a selection of very logically structured training plans. I followed one of the marathon plans in training for my next marathon, and things went much better. Before long I was creating original training plans based on the Daniels system, both for myself and for the rapidly increasing number of other athletes who came to me for coaching as I prematurely developed my own little reputation as an endurance sports expert. I came to really enjoy writing training plans. It appealed to me as an intellectual challengea game, really, where the object was to produce a particular output (a peak race performance) by selecting just the right inputs (workouts) and arranging them in just the right order. In the case of my own training, no matter how well or poorly the actual training process went, I always derived great intellectual stimulation from comparing the results of my plan’s execution with the predictions encoded in the plan.

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