I have a bit of backtracking to do. I was looking at Minnesota track records and the best mile by a man 45-49 is 4:29.5 by Ron Daws. The Ron Daws 25K is coming up this weekend. I've said some things about Ron Daws from personal experience (we didn't like each other - I was a hotheaded youth about the time of that fast mile of his), but it had been decades since I'd read his book "Run Your Best." It seemed the time to track down a copy and give it a reread.
It's much better than I remember. Some have said it's just watered-down Lydiard training, and in a way it is, but he has some interesting points to make along the way and he made the Lydiard system more practical and easy to understand; it's always hard to refute Lydiard, because he uses terms differently than everyone else and you have to think like him to understand what he says.
Tht said, there's never going to be a reissue of that book. Only a few people are going to care what he had to say about training.
The Beck System
I got asked, after my last post about training, if there was any simple plan for marathoning that I actually like. Well, with the caveats that first-time marathoners need only worry about doing long runs (if you can do 20 comfortably in training, you can do 26.2 uncomfortably) and that runners planning on running 3:30 or slower should work on increasing mileage for aerobic support until they average 75 minutes per day, there is one method that I find interesting for those looking to run 3:00 or better. It was created by Kevin Beck and I first saw it in the July/August 1999 Running Times. It's never become popular for some unknown reason. The only place I've found it online is at http://at.srichinmoyraces.org/training/mtraining_1_en
It seems to have all the essentials in about the proper amounts. There are four three-week cycles and in each cycle, there's one long run of 22-26 miles at moderate effort, two interval workouts (4-6x 1 mile @ 5K pace; 8x800m @ 5K minus 3-5 seconds) and two marathon pace runs. One of the marathon pace runs is 10-15K, the other increases in each cycle from 20K to 25K to 30K to the marathon race. The number of miles per week averages about 65, with an average of about 12 miles per week at marathon pace or faster; this is about what I recommend for 3:00 marathoners.
There is one major problem with the plan. For me - and I expect for many if not most runners - 20K or more at marathon pace is approaching racing and a 20K race takes about two weeks of recovery, 30K as much as three weeks. If I were to attempt this, I'd probably be looking for long races in which to attempt the long marathon pace runs and end up running them too fast, or I'd try to do them on my own and fall way short of my goals and come up with excuses (weather's always a good one).
I haven't heard of anyone who's ever tried it, much less succeeded with it, but for a plan one can write in a few sentences, it's as good as I've seen.
RIP Steve Wilkinson
2 days ago