I've been thinking - if we were to put the best runners at the starting line wearing the same basic running shoes, how would it turn out? I was taking my bike out for a ride when a fellow cyclist saw the bike and commented that how it's now obsolete (my bike is a ten speed, reminiscence of 1970's). His is a bike of a good brand. Then we started talking about technology versus training. What makes a better athlete? The technology or the training of that athlete?
It reminded me of this article I read about the F1 Drivers. Michael Schumacher was reigning the race track at that time, as were other hopefuls such as Montoya and Jacques Villenueve. The article reasoned that although there is no doubt that Schuey is a talented driver, his top-notch racing car and support helped made him number one. What if, suggested the author, they were to put all these drivers in the same basic F1 car and had them pit out against each other?
When I was running in races, one of my favorite things to do is to look at runners' shoes. I used to deduce newbies as those with non-cushioned or supportive shoes, and 'seasoned' runners with proper running shoes. But when I went back home and ran with my dad and his running buddies (they're called the Nilai Impian running club! haha) most of them were wearing Power and one even in the black canvas 'Boy Scouts' shoes. My dad was the only one who was wearing a running shoe, an Adidas I bought for him even as he resisted and complained about the unnecessity. And these uncles were good strong runners. Some smoked me like a gun.
I'm not saying that buying all these technology and brand name is foolhardy. My point lies in the fact that it's actually our brain and not the technology that is making us a better runner, cyclist, swimmer, etc. When we buy these high-technology stuff and we use them, in our mind we are already stronger. And that mentality is translated to a better performance. This is called the Placebo effect.
Imagine if the marketing team behind Asics brand revealing that there's nothing in the shoes except some common rubber and stuffing, but thanks to their claims of using some sort gel technologies, had most people running faster and better than they think they could.
Maybe it is already true.
Been going back to my long time favorite sports lately: karate. I dropped after uni, but thinking of getting serious about it. It's a sport of total art and strength, just like swimming :) I've done about 3-4 sessions already and loving it. Other than that I've been doing various bike ride (most recent was with an Ironman contestant! ya rabbi patutla dier annoyed aku slow gila), swimming, and some in-line skating (yesterday did 12km and my thighs burnnnnned). I'm actually quite enjoying my fitness life without any races to train for.