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

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Steve vs the Experts #12: Various

Before I finish the series with Brad Hudson, I want to do a quick mention of some others.

Hal Higdon's been selling training plans for middle- to back-of-the-pack runners for decades. I have nothing to say about them, but if one searches for race schedules, his name comes up quickly and he had to be mentioned.

Kevin Beck was the editor of a book on strength training for runners, but he also came up with a training plan that was published in the July/August 1999 issue of "Running Times." It is reproduced here. I mention it because it has a lot of features that show up in my own thoughts. Every three weeks, there is a long run at marathon pace (20K, 25K, 30K, then marathon). There are a couple of hard interval workouts (4-6x1 mile @5K pace; 8x800m faster than 5K pace), which are not unreasonable, the second being similar to the workout made famous by Bart Yasso. There's a long run of up to marathon length each three weeks (on a Thursday, which, combined with the 3 week cycle, makes me think he's familiar with the Dellinger schedule I cited earlier in the series). The mileage is 60-65 miles per week on average, regardless of goal time, which is about what I suggest for a 3:00 finish - it's enough to get to the finish, if not comfortably. It's only 5 hard workouts in each three weeks, but the marathon pace runs are extremely hard. It's minimalist; it's as specific to the marathon as any schedule yet published; it's biggest drawbacks are that it's only 12 weeks long and it assumes one can do a lot of miles at marathon pace immediately.

Tim Noakes' "The Lore of Running" (1986, 1989, 1991, 2002) has many profiles of marathoners and information about how they trained, going in depth for some, such as Ron Hill and (Minnesotan!) Buddy Edelen. It also has some short discussion of Derek Clayton and his 170(plus) miles per week and Grete Waitz and her change from track specialist to 5-time marathon record setter. There's only so much one can glean from a "typical week" training schedule, as most of these are (and the early ones are all from Fred Wilt's books), but there's one that I want to point out for special attention: Steve Jones. Jones' mileage (in kilometers, so... "kilometerage?") immediately before running 2:07:13 was 160, 134, 114, 114, 160, 152, 154 and 92, for an average of under 90 miles per week. His typical week was listed as 135-180K and reads as follows:

M am 12-16K @ 3:07/km.
M pm 10-16K
T am 11K w/ 4x5:00 hard
T pm x-country or track race
W am 11K
W pm 10-16K
Th am 10 hills
Th pm 8-30K (maybe that's 20K, can't read my own writing)
F am 10-12K
F pm Race or 6x1:00 or 10x2:00 or 16-24x0:45
Sa am (off)
Sa pm (off)
S am 24-32K @ 3:45/km.
S pm 19K @ 3:07/km.

His having a long run Sunday morning AND a rather long marathon pace run the same day is interesting. He follows it with more marathon pace the next day and both intervals and a race the next day. That's a lot of hard running day after day! All the elements of all the other training schedules are present, just compressed into as few miles as possible. It's not easy to see how that schedule could be pared down for slower runners.

One more expert before I move on to my own thoughts on the subject!


Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

Wait. There's an actual guy named Higdon? I thought "Higdon" was short for "Higgs boson" and hence came here under false pretenses, thinking you were gonna discuss the God Particle and maybe how fast it can run.

One of these days, I hope to qualify for the Boson Marathon - no thanks to you if I ever do!

So ... Higdon "had to be mentioned" but, so far, no Speedy Gonzales? Ees not so bueno, Señor Pussy Gato.

Just kidding! You're not a Gato.

But I stand by the rest of my characterization.

Anonymous said...

This is a great series of articles, Mr. Quick!

Colin said...

I agree with Anonymous; this is good stuff! I can't wait for "Steve vs Hudson", and then it should really get good with "Steve vs Steve"!