Just Not Good Enough.

The other training group, a great bunch of decathletes and heptathletes.

The weeks are sure starting to fly by quick, another week gone, another week closer, another week less to realise my dreams.

Training did not go as well this week, I pushed it hard but I felt that the fatigue from the first week has just rolled on to the second. I’m just not recovering fast enough.

Truth be told, it’s pretty clear that if I keep going on like this I will be nowhere near where I need to be by the end of the season in 2012. And as this is probably my final season, if I don’t make it then all the work I’ve put in for the past 3-6 years of my life would have counted for nothing.

Yes I’m pushing myself hard, but it’s just not good enough.

You see the picture of the other guys above? Well they’re a great bunch of multi-eventers (the decathletes there all scoring past 7k) and even they are struggling to make it to the Olympics.

Watching them train made me realise exactly how hard everyone is working now. I did my 1min grass runs which left me absolutely wrecked, but they were doing circuit work with 200m sprints and they were pushing hard all the way.

All these years I’ve always struggled to keep up with the level of training compared to these guys, I push as hard as I could but physically I just never was able to keep up. I would push hard for a couple of weeks and then get injured.

I feel like I’m trapped by the Red Queen theory (which refers to the Red Queen from Alice in Wonderland), because the world is moving ahead, to stay still I have to run. I can’t stop because I’ll just go backwards but to get to anywhere I have to run twice as fast.

I’m running out of ideas on how to run any faster.

But maybe the key isn’t about figuring out how to run any faster, for that may be too abstract a concept.

Maybe it’s just about running every single damn stride right.

I reflected on myself and the hard truth is that no, this is not my absolute best and not everything that I give to make this one last shot count.

There are all those small little things, like not preparing my recovery meal beforehand and ending up eating rubbish due to the lack of time before my lectures start; missing a stretching session at night because of too much nonsense I do on the computer before I sleep; or not filming my throws because I forgot to put the SD card in my camera. I have to get all these small little things right.

Time is a premium this year, between the Masters program, the training and trying to make some money to pay the bills, there isn’t much room for error.

I have to follow every lead, chase down every prospect.

I have to keep my mind clear, focused and work till something sticks.

It’s a brand new week tomorrow, let’s not waste it.

Got to get my left leg fixed.


  1. Samuel Goldberg says:

    I see a an interesting contradiction in your recent blog, perhaps you can enlighten me, if you have the time. For example your comment:
    “I have to follow every lead, chase down every prospect.”.

    Although you started a bit ahead of me ( I did 3550-1st decathlon I ended up at 7276) and I offed to help you several months ago(see my earlier blog reply)…….yet even though you can not find another decathlete who remotely models our same beginnings or my success(I have unofficial world decathlon NET points world record(net points are difference between first and best decathlon scores-and not one decathlete in history has exceeded 3000 net points my record is 3600+ net points-not to mention I ended up running all-time world decathlon bests (8th fastest all-time 400m 58.9 to 48.4 (1967) and 13th fastest all-time 100m.(12.3 to 10.7(1967)).you said no thanks, saying you didn’t know me and I only found you via the internet. How interesting. Take a look at the outdoor progression of Winatho Wassana while I was her coach during the 2007, I was Thailand’s head coach Heptathlon-Decathlon. Notice not one coach whether Thai or foreign has taken her past the 5 individual event PB’s and all-time highest Heptathlon score she posted since our 2007 season together. I really wonder about this. Please enlighten me as I am always willing to learn. Coach Sam Goldberg(retired decathlete)

    • Yong Sheng says:

      Hello Coach Sam,

      I do wonder what kind of enlightenment you are looking for from me.
      Why I said no to your help? Oh no don’t get me wrong I’m interested in all kinds of ideas you might have. But every single coach, including the Olympic coaches, that I have worked with are all happy to share and learn the different training philosophies and techniques around. I intend to pass everything I learnt on to the rest of the community back home in Singapore so that I can help move the sports scene along some day. You on the other hand offered your ‘secret technique’ to lower my 100 timing in your mail to me and you wanted me to promise that I would not share this with the rest and no I can’t do that. So as to keep to my word and not disappoint you, I choose not to. Besides, put yourself in my shoes, would you work with a group of people who know what they are doing around you, or would you work with someone who knows what they are doing half way around the world?

      As I said I do not doubt your achievements or skills, but what I’m facing is a very different set of problems that yourself. What I’m running out of is space, time and money, and unfortunately I already realised that only I can solve those problems. And no I’m not getting injured frequently because of my weights program, it’s because once upon a time I did my best to serve my country.

      I said I didn’t know you and you only found me via the internet when you wanted me to recommend you to my association back home. I’ll ask you this, would you recommend someone to your employer and vouch for him if you got completely no idea who he was? It’s as simple as that.

      And I’ll give an honest advice, people have asked me about you back home because you seem to be really active on the internet contacting the people in South-East Asian track and field circle, and perhaps you don’t realise it but sometimes doing too much makes you seem like an internet troll. As I told you before you achievements are grand and if your qualifications and skills match the needs of these associations they will get you a position. If not perhaps you need to ask yourself is there really a market for someone like you here. Realistically the funding for sports in this region is very low and thus paid foreign coaches are a rarity.

      I hope you understand I harbour no ill feelings, I hope the floods in Thailand hasn’t affected you much and I wish you the best in life.

  2. Samuel Goldberg says:

    Hello and thank you for taking the time to clairify your thoughts.

    Please allow me respond to your concerns. First, I hope you would agree an athlete or a coach can and should only be defined by what they have accomplished, which unfortunatley is currently not in vogue in Singapore. Perhaps when you were asked about me by anyone involved in our sport in Singapre, the proper answer was simply- look at what he accomplished, compare this to others seeking or holding the same position and judge him on that.

    The IAAF official athlete’s bio website (see her outdoor progression and dates of her PB’s)shows what happened to Winatho Wassana during the short season I was Thailand’s head Heptathlon/Decathlon in 2007. 5 individual event PB’s and her all-time hightest heptathlon score. And, these were set while she already had been a top rated and experience competitor, not a beginner where improvement comes rather easily. Next consider that not one of these PB’s has been surpassed by any coach Thai or foreign since. That’s 4 years under many types of “experts” What else can a coach do? What else would any athlete or nation require?

    I began the same as you with a 12.3 100m and finished with the 13th fastest all-time world decathlon best time (10.7)(1967). Consider our similar first official decathlon 400m times. I turned my 58.9 into the 8th fastest all-time world decathlon 400m time (48.4)(1967). How about our 110MH times. I turned my pathetic 19.4,110mh, into a victory over the UK’s Alan Pascoe, europe’s greatest all-around hurdler(Olympic Silver medalist 4x400m relay, Munich 1972; 4th in the Munich 400mh finals. He also had a 13.5110h as the photo I sent you shows (60yd HH all-comers meet at the US National Decathlon training Center, while I was our running and hurdles head coach and several UK and foreign national athletes came there for training stints). In prep for the 1973 USA-Russian Indoor Meet, I ran 7.4(60yard HH) the fastest time posted by any decathlete in the US(1973).

    Now, consider our shot put marks. I turned my 28(feet) into 45 feet while standing 6’/158 lbs. As an ardent anti-steroid athlete I reduced my weight to 158lbs, to show my commitment to the highest ideals of amateur sportsmanship while many of my fellow competitors like the 1968 Olympic decathlon champion Bill Toomey and former world decathlon recordholder Russ Hodge(1964), who later became world decathlon shot putt recordhold (62ft) opted for steroid use. Interestingly, as my sport resume to you also showed, based on an objective pound for pound analysis conducted by Dr. Evans head of the San Francisco State University Kinesology/Exercise Physiology Department confirmed, my shott PB based on hight and weight and distance thrown with the Olmpic weighted 16 pound shott, placed me 1st as the all-time best US decathlon shot putter and substancially ahead of the steroid using world decathlon shot putt record holder Mr. Hodge (62feet) who finished 2nd (see my face book posting for more on this).

    As a serious and dedicated decathlete, you above all others should be intimately familiar with what such improvements must entail, after all you have been trying for how long. 4,5,6 years? How does your improvement compare? How does it compare to any of your fellows you have been aware of over that same period? How would you consider yourself, if you had those same accomplishments as of today? Certainly you would not feel another Singaporean or foreign coach would be better suited to recreate such improvement in others would you? Such words as grand etc. pale before the momentus tasks such accomplishments required. Yet, even you seem unable to embrase what such an effort must have required and the price in pain and dissapoint to overcome in order to sustain the effort in isolation and without the support of fellow competitors who saw the task as unreachable and even mental.

    Let me end with a candid rely about coaching. How many of Singapore’s coaches and especially how many employed Singaporean or foreign coaches have produced equal or better records with Singapore’s “mature” senior athletes , or even your UK fellows, as compared to my work in Thailand over one short season? None save Steve Yeo, pole vault can find their way onto such a list. One might mention Singapore’s russian coach Mr. Valeri Obidko, of the SSS, yet he only deals with young children who naturally grow and develop rather quickly, so much of what he accomplished had that momentum behind him as an additional aide to boost his intellectual assistance. And he been there since 2004. How many senior level champions has he produced in 7+ seasons. Consider Mr. Melvin Tan, arguably Singapore’s best sprint coach who has been coaching your top 100 and 200m sprinters for several seasons. As the record shows all of them came to him already running in the 10.5 ranges and none, not one from Elfe to Calvin or Gary have posted new PB’s since their postings back in the 2007/2008/2009 seasons. In fact, every one of them has progressively run slower since they recorded their PB’s and even as of September/2011 they are struggling to recapture what they once could do. If Mr. Tan, who I believe is a good coach and a dedicated and good soul were a corporate CEO based on results, I think it is fair to say his shareholders would be looking for a replacement. Of course, this has been overlooked, by the highly regarded new Singaporean 4x100m relay records with Singapore’s first sub-40sec time he has produce.

    Unfortunately, from my analysis the truth is this is this. Singapore, like Thailand have resolved, they cannot improve on what its top sprinting athletes bring to them, based on their own god given talents, and in the face of the historical failures of all its local and foreign experts to create new PB’s for any of your top sprinters since 2008 and even before that, have resolved their only hope for national pride is to focus their success on the 4x100m relay as their only hope for gold in the sprints, since slower sprinters with superior handoffs can beat faster sprinters with poor baton techniques.

    While I offered the SAA to coach on a voluntary basis and be paid on a merit based contract base on payment only for results, they opted to say there was no place in Singapore’s SAA program for me. And yet the SAA saw it in Singapore’s best interests to consult and pay for Japan’s top sprinting coach, Prof. Hirokazu Kobayashi, director of Japan’s National Training Center to conduct seminars in cooperation with the SSS. It was interesting to me to note, an objective analysis of Japan’s sprint program since 2007 showed almost exactly the same results produced by Mr. Tan over the same 4 year period.

    As the IAAF’s athlete bio’s and outdoor progression record will show, over the last 4 years, Japan’s sprint program under Prof. Kobayashi’s leadership has not been able to improve the 100m speed in “any” of its national relay team members. The exact same results produced by Mr. Tan. And, over the last 2 years Prof. Kobayashi, has only caused a .08sec and a .05 sec improvement respectively in Japan’s other 2 top open 100m sprinters. I will be happy to send you the IAAF athlete’s bios and outdoor progression records if you like.

    Regarding my use of the internet to contact the 2 or 3 national athletics organizations I felt might be interested in my level of expertise. Unfortunately, I lack the friendships to aide my introduction so I simply contacted 3 or 4 athletic bodies and 2 or 3 athletes who the internet showed were without current coaches to introduce both myself and my achievements. For example, Rachel Yang was reproted to be leaving Singapore for China due to dissagrements with the SAA, so I was considering coming to Singapore on my own to help her if she wanted. However, this report was apparently inaccurate and she told me she was now with Mr. Yeo, who seem to be a very good vault coach. I also fail to see how such efforts to contact you to offer assistance to a fellow decathlete or offer my resume to countries I feel represent a challenge I feel more than qualified to conquer are or were appropriate. After all, why do you publish your blog and why did you provide the means to reply?

  3. Samuel Goldberg says:

    Please note typo in final paragraph, it should read:

    I also fail to see how such efforts to contact you to offer assistance to a fellow decathlete or offer my resume to countries I feel represent a challenge I feel more than qualified to conquer are or were NOT appropriate. After all, why do you publish your blog and why did you provide the means to reply?

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