Planning Training for Distance Running: Part Three

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Part Three:  Internet Study

Systems of Distance Running (The dates shown are ballpark figures)

Distance Racing - Late 1800s  Great Britain

Before there were any track meets there were professional races of all types including walking, distance running, and sprinting.  The distance runs were generally done over great distances like for 1000 miles or 24 hours. 

Horse Racing Training - USA  1908-1912

This was mixing fast repetitions with slow ones followed by significant recovery walks as in horse racing.  Athletes included James Lightbody, and Melvin Shepard.  This type of training enabled America to dominate the early Olympics.

Periodization - Finland  1912-1928  The Flying Fins

The introduction of seasons by coach Lauri Pihkala who coached Paavo Nurmi, Hannes Kolemainen, Ville Ritola, Volmari Iso-Hollo, Taisto Maki.

The Interval Method - Germany 1936-1960 also called Gershler Interval Training

Professor of physical Education Woldemar Gerschler and Herbert Reindell (or Rein Dell)

Originally it was the speed of the run that was most important, they wanted the athlete to get the heart rate up to 180 and the next repeat would occur at 120 bpm.  Later the speed of the repeat was a little less and the recoveries shortened.  Some call that the New Interval Method.  Traditionally all of this occurs with standing between fast runs.  Athletes included Rudolph Harbig - 400-800 and Emil Zatopek of Czechoslovakia - 5K to the marathon.

Fartlek Method - Sweden  1937 also called Speedplay

This was first developed by Gosta Holmer, and later Gosta Olander added Quantity to the runs.

There have been many variations added to what the Swedes originally did, but it's basically alternating a fast run with a slower run.  Many different speeds, distances, and intervals are employed.  The original athletes associated were Gunder Hagg, and Arne Anderson.

Arthur Lydiard - New Zealand  1950 - 2004

Long runs/fartlek/speed development/hill training.  Lydiard coached all over the world but his most impressive work might have happened in Finland where they had been stuck on interval training for many decades.  They turned out Lasse Viren, Pekka Vasala, and Olavi Suomalainen.  Cerutty, Igloi, Nurmi, and Lydiard are often thought of as having collaborated on a lot of ideas.

Mihaly Igloi - Hungary  1950-1970

The method Igloi used was mostly based on short runs of various speed between 50-400 meters with very short jogs between.  He never timed his runners and workouts varied quite a bit from day to day.  Volume was very high and long runs were employed every week.  This method produced 49 world records, some at distances no longer raced.  Athletes included:  Lazlo Tabori, Istvan Rozsavogi, Sandor Ilharos of Hungary.  Then the 1956 Hungarian Revolution took place and Igloi left Hungary.  It's possible this might have been the best training method in the world, but it lost momentum with the war.  Other athletes who employed this method:  Bob Schul, Vladimir Kuts, and Jim Beatty.  Paul Geis used this method in high school.

Australian Approach - Australia 1950s/1960s  Stotan Philosophy of Percy Cerutty

Cerutty was probably influenced by several coaches but most especially Lydiard.  He was very famous for having his athletes run hilly sand dunes. He increased the intensity and volumes as the athlete could handle it.  Athletes included Herb Elliot, Ron Clarke, John Landy, Dave Stephens, Les Perry, and Betty Cuthbert.

Oregon System - USA  1960s/1970s  Hard/Easy  Bill Bowerman/Bill Dellinger

They are very famous for the 30/40 200 meter run drill.  You run 200 meters in 30 seconds/recover with one in 40 seconds/repeat until you can't do any more.  Steve Prefontaine held the record at one point at 18.  Other athletes:  Alberto Salazar, Rudy Chapa, Steve Bence, Paul Geis, Galen Rupp, Lisa Martin, Joaquim Cruz, Jordan Hasay.

Peter Coe/Dr. David Martin - 1980s Great Britain

Popularized the Tempo run and advertized Indoor Circuit Training

Sebastian Coe was supposed to have run only 50 mile weeks but they did not count his warm ups.  Steve Cram and Steve Ovett advertised higher training volumes.

Jack Daniels Training Formula - 1998 USA

Daniels helped coach Jim Ryun to a silver medal in the 1500 altitude in the 1968 Mexico City Olympic games.  Daniels plan in it's current form is meant to optimize training so that the athlete does not have to run more or harder than necessary.  This plan also has complex formulas to follow based on your current training level.  Daniels got his periodization plan from Lydiard.

The Kenyan Way - Kenya  Current  Coaches Mike Kosgei, Brother Colm O' Connell, Albert Masai, Danny Kibet, Amos Korir.

Culture and Expectations seem to be behind the domination by this country.  At this point most scientific studies cannot find any physiological reasons.  Running at altitude and long hills helps but there are other countries that have these things, even parts of the USA.

Athletes:  Wilson Kiprugut, Kip Keino, Mike Boit, Henry Rono, William Sigei, Yobes Ondieki, Tegla Loroupe, Edna Kiplagat, Emily Rotich, and Esther Kiplagat.

No one asks why a local college or high school wins year after year.  Maybe it's the culture and expectations!

Ethiopian Era - Ethiopia   Current Coaches Sentayehu Eshetu, Melaku Deresse Biratu 

Ethiopians more than any other nation are historically known for their finishing speed. Perhaps it is here that Lydiard's training methods have had the most modern effect.

Lydiard's New Zealand runners were known to be able to rip off a 47 second quarter mile according to Paul Geis.  New Zealand ran lots of hills in training as a rule but more importantly they did running drills on hills and often finished practices with fast strides.

No Ethiopian training session ends without doing some sprint drills.  They also run an incredible amount of short hills (100 meters) fast!  The hills they run are gradual and they run them with good form.

Runners:  Miruts "Yifter the Shifter" Yifter was able to finish 10,000 meter runs with a last 52 second 400, Haile Gebrselassie, once finished a 27:10 10K with a 200 in 25.2!, Kenenisa Bekela, Deratu Tulu, Gete Wami, Meserat Defar, Turinesh Dibaba, Fatuma Roba.

"African runners tend to be much happier and joyful about running. This is a generalization, but they thoroughly enjoy what they do."
-Paddy O'Door
"Part of the reason the US in not producing large numbers of great distance runners is simply that the culture at large doesn't care about distance running-not like we do about basketball and football."
-Jack Dawkins

Additional Interesting runners you might google
Mary Decker SlaneyRick WohlhuterJohnny Gray
Lorraine MollerDave WottlePatti Sue Plumer
Lynn JenningsFrancie Larrieu-SmithDoris Brown-Heritage
Joan SamuelsonRuth WysockiVicki Huber
Craig MasbackMarty LiquoriRoger Bannister
Joetta ClarkAlberta JauntorenaKara (Wheeler) Goucher
Jordan HasayShalane FlanaganMolly Huddle
Claudette GroenendaalMeredeth Rainey

It is important to note that Steve Prefontaine is missing from this list - had he not died in a car crash in 1975, he may have been the best runner in USA history!

* Physical educators know that the easiest thing to gain in training is raw muscle strength.  The next easiest is building endurance.  The most difficult thing to do is to build speed.

** A final note:  Sports are not the most important thing in a person's life.  They are a way to make things more interesting and fun.  You have a lot going on in your life, especially during the senior year with Prom, senior trips, and etc.  It seems as if many seniors get injured.  So it's important to have fun along the way to that state title.  That is another reason to run long my friend!