Tuesday, April 16, 2024 – Aspiring to average (Adam Nicklin)

Hi Everyone!


Huge congrats to all our Boston Marathoners yesterday! It was a sudden hot day which took a lot of adjusting and cost a fair bit of time for most. That’s how it is. So proud of everyone who persevered! Boston is one to celebrate being in the top percent of people who grow through doing hard things – it is not a PB course. Congrats to Jason Jacobs, Amy Hayes, Roz Salter, Carol McFarlane, Carolyn Steele Gray, Jordan Stewart. Y’all are incredible.


Guest post this week by Adam Nicklin: (thank-you and others please follow suit!)


What I’ve been thinking about recently is aspiring to average; a concept that used to feel alien to me but is becoming, if not entirely comfortable, somewhat inevitable.


I can recall times in my own life where I had the luxury to ‘lean in’ on a particular passion, usually vocational, artistic, or both. When I was younger, many hours were dedicated to work with little regard for matters not central to my own specific goals. We’ve all been there I’m sure. This was of little consequence – I mean, no-one cared except me or those that stood to benefit – and I really didn’t need to be that accountable to anyone else. Into my late thirties this ramped up as I took on the challenge of starting my own firm from scratch. The accompanying uncertainty had me focusing intensely on the success of the studio, with the alternative – failure – looking like a long, long way to fall. So this increasingly narrow focus was justified as a survival tactic, as an increasingly shaky balance was struck with life’s other responsibilities and commitments.


I started running in my late forties, enjoying the expanded sense of community it offered, all sharing a humble, common purpose. In time, I started to consider being able to tackle an occasional triathlon. Not being a triathlete you understand – but doing a triathlon. One morning during a Wednesday run, I was opining to a fellow LES’er that while I was a decent runner, I was also a pretty so-so biker, and a pretty bad swimmer, and therefore potentially a pretty crappy triathlete. Not so, he said. If you can be an average runner, mediocre biker and so-so swimmer then you are an awesome triathlete. The trick is just not failing too badly at any one thing, and resisting the temptation to get too concerned about any one of them. Armed with his new insight, I set out with the goal of being average! No huge problem with running, but biking took some work. And swimming – wow! Average took some serious effort. And along the way, I think I had more fun training to be average than in anything in life I may have felt I could truly excel in. In fact, the most rewarding time I can recall of any activity I have pursued has been that steep learning curve, reaching for the ‘anonymity of average’, finding that everyone will genuinely want to help you along the way. Something I must remember to reciprocate whenever I can…


So, this truism in sport comes back to haunt us in life. Fast forward, and here we all are with multiple things to balance and never enough bandwidth to cope. Suddenly, average across all of life’s ‘disciplines’ seems like the crest of a hill you will never reach, with the sleep you lose worrying you will never attain it making your chances ever more diminished. Therefore, instead of training to achieve average, we train ourselves to accept it. To be clear, this doesn’t mean submission – quite the opposite. Rather, a distinct and thoughtful process of editing your life to only those things that can support your goal of being (at least) average in everything that counts, and for everyone that needs you to be. And, as Seanna will remind us, keeping something in there for our own peace of mind, which will ultimately benefit those around us. Besides, I’d say these days we’re harder on ourselves than we ever were, and frankly average to us is likely more than adequate to those around us. And maybe that is success or, at least, a comfortable margin above failure we should all feel at peace with.



On to tomorrow’s workout: Lakeshore and Leslie – 6:05 Drills, 6:15 GO!


  1. 6 x 600 w 1 min rest. Starting tempo-ish – the 1 min rest should keep these not too hot. We did 10 of these in early Dec, so reference the pace you did there. 2-3 min set rest, then 2-4 x 600 faster w 2 min. These can get close to 5K pace. Learning to find that extra gear with some volume already on our legs.


  1. London Marathoners: GOOD LUCK!!! (Amanda, Annick, Meagan, Fran) And taper workout: 1 mile @ MP, 2 min rest, 2 x 600m a lil quicker w 2 min.


That is all – see you in the am!