“Athletics would be improved generally by less theorizing drivel instead of getting on with it.”

Tony Weeks-Pearson

  • Emil Zatopek won the 1952 Olympic 5000m off a daily diet of 200m and 400m repeats.
  • Vladimir Kuts won the 1956 Olympic 5000m off a combination of gymnastics, intervals and cross-country fartleks.
  • Murray Halberg won the 1960 Olympic 5000m off a progression of base-building, hill sprints, then time trials.
  • Bob Schul won the 1964 Olympic 5000m off of two-hour continuous interval sessions run twice a day, every day.
  • Kip Keino won silver at the 1968 Olympic 5000m (and won gold in the 1500m) at altitude off of simply running to work every day.

There is no sure-fire formula for a gold medal. No road-map to success. What one coach preaches as gospel another will disprove years later. One athlete’s victory might not be due to their training at all but an accident (a car struck Emil Zatopek before the 1948 Olympics, forcing him to take some probably much needed rest. He went on to win one gold and one silver medal).

I’ve read every athlete biography I’ve come across; I’ve pored over every training treatise I can find. I’ve trained straight out of books; I’ve trained under Olympians. The difference between everyone’s training is simply nuance, and boils down to this:

  • Run every day, unless you’re very tired.
  • Run hard at least one day a week, sometimes two, maybe three.
  • Run long one day a week.
  • Race often but not too often.
  • Run with people, whenever possible.
  • If something works, keep doing it.

I have spent countless Mondays sitting at my desk toiling in a notebook, trying to tease out the perfect training plan and without fail will end up running sixty minutes with strides.

Put on your shoes, get out the door, and go to work.

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