In Winter runners analyse their personal bests and reset their goals for the next season. In the novel Time is Gold author Martin Knox shows how a runner’s performance time depends on the neuroscience of her mental engagement, by analogy with Einstein’s Special Relativity, a tested theory. This new theory explains some extraordinary performances in athletics and behaviours of wild animals which have evolved in their own time, without constraint by clocks. Everyone can learn that their time is their own from this story about Maxi exploring theories of endurance, in love with physicist Jack and competing for Olympic Gold.
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Maxi Fleet is a marathon champion able to stretch her time, called time dilation, following Einstein’s Special Relativity theory, applied to neuroscience. In the novel ‘Time is Gold’, author Martin Knox explains the science of ‘flow’, the psychological condition optimal achievement, or ‘in the zone’. The story follows her career as she trains for an attempt on the world record in a future Olympics. Her story will keep you on the edge of your seat.
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I compare my novel Time is Gold (2019) with a book I love, Robert Persig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (1974), reputed to be the most popular philosophy book ever written, selling over 5 million copies.
Time is Gold is fiction with a similar philosophical underpinning.
The genre of Persig’s novel is a roman-a’-clef, in which real people or events appear with invented names, in much more than a travel story. Time is Gold is a coming-of-age epic adventure thriller.
Both books are steeped in Zen philosophy applied to adventuring.
Robert Persig cared for his motorbike, often taking it to pieces and reassembling it, the way people care for their horses. In his book The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance he demonstrates his Zen philosophy of ‘quality’ living, with care as a compromise between mechanical classicism and romantic spirituality. His son, Chris, goes with him as pillion passenger on a long journey and learns his philosophy of ‘quality’.
In Time is Gold, Maxi is a schoolgirl with running talent whose training is taken over by a team of expert coaches from whom she learns ‘extreme flow’, a philosophy of optimal performance time. Jack Cram is a university research student who helps his girlfriend Maxi to combine, physiology, physics, psychology and neuroscience and Zen in her training. Her story is punctuated with marathon race reports in high level competition.
Maxi tunes up her body for marathon running like a complex technology, in the Zen way, with her attention on goals and processes but not outcomes. Maxi balances physical and mental demands as she approaches Zen mastery.
The protagonists’ journeys are seldom downhill. Phaedrus, Persig’s autobiographer, contends with the aftermath of an earlier nervous breakdown. Jack’s career in industry gets off to a rocky start. These experiences open them to radical experimentation to achieve their personal needs. They have successes, becoming euphoric, with some poetic descriptions.
Maxi’s racing is punctuated by coaching dialogues, whereas Persig’s protagonist Phaedrus reflects between adventures.
Readers interested in endurance and resilience in any field of performance or problem solving will be enlightened by Time is Gold. Why do athletes inspire us so much?
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The Tokyo Olympics will start on 3rd July 2021. My book Time is Gold tells the fiction story of a marathon runner who trains to win at the 2032 Olympics in world record time. Maxi’s coaching at the Institute of Sport is advised by a group of friends, experts in physics, physiology, neuroscience and Zen. Her friend Jack’s PhD tests a new technique Extreme Flow, with goal focus, mental engagement, skill automaticity and time dilation. It is a futuristic adventure in endurance running with action on every page. It is a read that will tune you into the excitement of Tokyo. https://martinknox.com