5 reasons why I have been able to set 60 records

1.  I have had years and years of consistent, uninterrupted training and racing – my last incapacitating running injury was in 2001.  This has allowed me to step it up and step it up, year after year, whilst continuing to avoid injury or breakdown and most importantly, to remain healthy.

2. I have studied my sport and its history. I have really learnt all about my events – past, present and future.  I have followed the current science with regard to psychology, training, racing, nutrition and recovery.  I try things out in training, if possible.  I take on board things that work for me and reject the rest.

I have been open minded and innovative in order to stimulate positive changes.

I have paid attention to details and I have a voracious appetite for continued improvement – always looking for that extra few percent in everything I do.  I have applied the “aggregation of marginal gains” philosophy as expounded by British Cycling’s Performance Director, Dave Brailsford.

3.  I have worked with a support team.  I listen to feedback from my coaching advisor of 15 years, Dave Murrie.  I talk nutrition with Rebecca Dent.  My crew, Alan Young and Tim Rainey, provide honest feedback from races and my training advisor and masseur/physical therapist, Shaun Brassfield-Thorpe, attends two of my non-running sessions every week to oversee my training and provides constant monitoring of everything I’m doing.  My wife and family provide quiet support and encouragement.

4.  I have suffered hardships.  When I first moved to my Orkney Island home – a ruined croft on the remote island ofSanday – in 1982, I experienced 10 very hard years, physically, emotionally and financially.  This undoubtedly ‘toughened me up’ in a way that is unusual nowadays. Furthermore, in 1997 I underwent surgery and radiotherapy for testicular cancer. This experience left me with a greater emotional depth than I had before.

5.  I needed to be frightened, scared or really concerned to make necessary changes sometimes.  To keep improving and challenging oneself over a long period of time is very difficult but is, nevertheless, essential if progress is to be maintained especially when one reaches veteran/super-veteran status!   The body and mind need to be confused and disturbed on a regular basis to encourage continued adaptation – if you train the same, you stay the same.