6 Jun

When You Assume...

runners at Southampton Marathon

I heard the term assumed fitness this week and it chimed with me (writes Chris Broadbent). Even as an experienced runner now, I am still vulnerable to this dangerous mindset. Ironically, it is probably directly because of my running experience that I have and can fall victim to it.

It is that over-confidence in your head that can lead you to thinking you are fitter than you actually are. The missed sessions get filed away and forgotten, and the memories of miles banked in the recent and not so recent past cloud your thinking.

Ahead of my third marathon, another dangerous phrase was passed my way - 'residual miles'. So, the thinking went that because I have ran a couple of marathons in the preceding 12 months, I was still hanging on to a solid level of fitness. How wrong, how naïve, yes, how arrogant!

It was my worst marathon by a solid 20 minutes. Ouch! It is a different sport – and a whole different level (or 10) above - but I wondered if this same mindset played a part in the big heavyweight boxing shock last week.

When Anthony Joshua looked into the mirror and saw a Greek God looking back at him, was there a danger his 'assumed fitness' led him into a mindset that he would have more than enough against a man who looked more familiar with a Greek kebab? Quite probably.

Of course, the opposite is true. In my early forays into the road race scene, I remember being paranoid over some of the chiselled, muscled figures I saw limbering at a 10k startline. Of course, I soon learned that my leaner, running honed race-fit frame was much better equipped than these gym dwellers. But it still was a healthier mindset.

Never assume your fitness, make sure of your fitness.