"There's only one hard and fast rule in running: sometimes you have to run one hard and fast."

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Steve vs. the Experts #6: Daws

This will be brief, as I can't find my copy of Daws' book, "Running Your Best" (1985), nor can I find one locally I can peruse at will. Daws was a local runner, who made the US Olympic team in the marathon. He was not gifted with a high maximal oxygen uptake, but made up for that by training exceptionally long and hard, to be able to run at 95% of his maximal heart rate for more than two hours. This is not unlike Derek Clayton, who lowered the marathon world record from 2:12 to 2:08 (which stayed the record for almost a generation) and who was also known to train very long and very hard.

My recollection of this training manual was that it was very specific as to the workouts, advocated high mileage and had a great deal of very hard running. It is worth mentioning as an alternative method, but not one I could recommend.

I should also point out, to be fair, that I knew Daws and we didn't like each other. I believe it started when I beat him in a race (I was a rapidly-improving teenager, he was more than a decade past his prime - and it was a short race) and afterward, when he told someone, "Give me a guy who's running 120 miles per week and I'll do the rest (to make him a champion)" and I retorted, "Yeah, tie him to a chair for a couple of days, because he's overtrained."

I've grown up a bit since then and appreciate the hard work he did and his willingness to encourage others.


Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

Wait. You came out against over-training?

'Scue me, sir, could you please point me in the direction of SteveQ's blog? Because that Google Reader link somehow brought me to this blog by mistake.

DCS said...

Daws' methods were a re-write of Lydiard. In the late 70s-early 80s I trained with some of Daws proteges (Steve Hoag, Phil Jenni) and tried to adopt the methods as best I could to my own meager abilities. It worked, insofar as I ran all my PRs between 1980-1982. In 1982 I started a family and a pretty time consuming occupation, pushing training more to the back burner. In a few years the aging process took care of any more PRs.
One interesting anecdote: eventual Olympian Lorraine Moller arrived in the Twin Cities at that time and I ran with her and a bunch of Daws trained runners on a 20 miler one spring day along River Road and over to the lakes. During the entire run she never once ran anywhere but in front. It became, as a lot of those runs would, more of a race. When Moller had her breakthrough 2:29 at Grandma's in 1981 I was part of the pack of male runners hoping to stay in front of her. I did, but only by about a minute.

SteveQ said...

@DCS: I ran with Lorraine a bit before she (briefly) married Daws, but I'd completely forgotten Jenni! Whatever happened to him?

I ran with Bob Paxton, Perry Bach, Ken Wurl, etc. in 1986-7 and they noted that I always did our 10 Milers in racing flats - MPLS chain of lakes in 58 minutes, usually.

DCS said...

Last time I saw Phil was at Daws' memorial service in 1992--ironically days after Lorraine had won the bronze in Barcelona. Phil wasn't doing much running then. I saw him on a KCTA show one time--I can't for the life of me remember what he was up to.Maybe somebody else knows.