Base Training for the 800 m Runner

Base Training for the 800 m Runner
A study of elite 800 m runners

http://www.facebook.com/plugins/like.php?href=http%3A%2F%2Fforums.glenhuntly-athletics.com%2Findex.php%3Fshowtopic%3D432&layout=standard&show_faces=true&width=450&action=like&font=trebuchet+ms&colorscheme=light&height=80

To follow is the reported base training for some of the greatest 800 m runners ever. The athletes are Olympic Champions, World Champions, World Record holders and other medalists at the world championship level. Others have just run very fast and close to the world best time for their era.
Runner’s World:
That basic conditioning – running high mileages – is the foundation of your success with Snell, Halberg and the athletes you’ve influenced through the years, but doesn’t it seem that the tide is turning more in the other direction, with more athletes and coaches, emphasising quality over quantity? How do you account for Seb Coe, who is primarily sprint trained?
Arthur Lydiard:
Let’s face it, if he’s telling the truth and runs only 50 miles per week, which I very much doubt… I can’t see that he does that on 50 miles of fast running. Our athletes trained near their aerobic capacity. What he’s saying is that he runs 50 miles a week anaerobically and I don’t believe it. That’s what they did years ago, and that’s why my athletes beat everyone. You can’t put the clock back. So I don’t think he’s telling the truth. That’s my opinion.Runner’s World:
Are you saying the effects of doing too much anaerobic work are irreversible?
Arthur Lydiard:
They can undermine your health and retard your potential development, if that’s what you mean. We know this to be physiologically true. You have to do anaerobic work to get optimum results. But it only takes four to five weeks, not months, to develop your anaerobic capacity to its maximum. And the coach and athlete must know in what intensity it must be used, and when to stop. I believe many of America’s potentially great runners have never seen optimal results because of the lack of understanding of the physiological effects of anaerobic training.
Runner’s World – February 1981Peter Snell: And Sebastian Coe, I think there’s been some misinformation about what he actually did, too.
Source An Interview with Three-Times Olympic Gold Medalist Peter Snell – with Rich EnglehartBelow is a link/quotation to a scientific study on steady state and interval training – good read
I am convinced that our focus must be on longer bouts of exercise as the foundation of our training program. This is easily understood by you marathoners, but may be surprising news to you 1000 meter rowers, middle distance runners and, pursuit cyclists.
Part One
Part Two
Part Three

Base Training for the 800 m Runner
A study of elite 800 m runnersTo follow is the reported base training for some of the greatest 800 m runners ever. The athletes are Olympic Champions, World Champions, World Record holders and other medalists at the world championship level. Others have just run very fast and close to the world best time for their era.

Runner’s World:
That basic conditioning – running high mileages – is the foundation of your success with Snell, Halberg and the athletes you’ve influenced through the years, but doesn’t it seem that the tide is turning more in the other direction, with more athletes and coaches, emphasising quality over quantity? How do you account for Seb Coe, who is primarily sprint trained?
Arthur Lydiard:
Let’s face it, if he’s telling the truth and runs only 50 miles per week, which I very much doubt… I can’t see that he does that on 50 miles of fast running. Our athletes trained near their aerobic capacity. What he’s saying is that he runs 50 miles a week anaerobically and I don’t believe it. That’s what they did years ago, and that’s why my athletes beat everyone. You can’t put the clock back. So I don’t think he’s telling the truth. That’s my opinion.

Runner’s World:
Are you saying the effects of doing too much anaerobic work are irreversible?
Arthur Lydiard:
They can undermine your health and retard your potential development, if that’s what you mean. We know this to be physiologically true. You have to do anaerobic work to get optimum results. But it only takes four to five weeks, not months, to develop your anaerobic capacity to its maximum. And the coach and athlete must know in what intensity it must be used, and when to stop. I believe many of America’s potentially great runners have never seen optimal results because of the lack of understanding of the physiological effects of anaerobic training.
Runner’s World – February 1981

Below is a link/quotation to a scientific study on steady state and interval training – read every word!
I am convinced that our focus must be on longer bouts of exercise as the foundation of our training program. This is easily understood by you marathoners, but may be surprising news to you 1000 meter rowers, middle distance runners and, pursuit cyclists.

sdfsadfs
Base Training for the 800 m Runner
A study of elite 800 m runnersTo follow is the reported base training for some of the greatest 800 m runners ever. The athletes are Olympic Champions, World Champions, World Record holders and other medalists at the world championship level. Others have just run very fast and close to the world best time for their era.
Runner’s World:
That basic conditioning – running high mileages – is the foundation of your success with Snell, Halberg and the athletes you’ve influenced through the years, but doesn’t it seem that the tide is turning more in the other direction, with more athletes and coaches, emphasising quality over quantity? How do you account for Seb Coe, who is primarily sprint trained?
Arthur Lydiard:
Let’s face it, if he’s telling the truth and runs only 50 miles per week, which I very much doubt… I can’t see that he does that on 50 miles of fast running. Our athletes trained near their aerobic capacity. What he’s saying is that he runs 50 miles a week anaerobically and I don’t believe it. That’s what they did years ago, and that’s why my athletes beat everyone. You can’t put the clock back. So I don’t think he’s telling the truth. That’s my opinion.Runner’s World:
Are you saying the effects of doing too much anaerobic work are irreversible?
Arthur Lydiard:
They can undermine your health and retard your potential development, if that’s what you mean. We know this to be physiologically true. You have to do anaerobic work to get optimum results. But it only takes four to five weeks, not months, to develop your anaerobic capacity to its maximum. And the coach and athlete must know in what intensity it must be used, and when to stop. I believe many of America’s potentially great runners have never seen optimal results because of the lack of understanding of the physiological effects of anaerobic training.
Runner’s World – February 1981Below is a link/quotation to a scientific study on steady state and interval training – read every word!
I am convinced that our focus must be on longer bouts of exercise as the foundation of our training program. This is easily understood by you marathoners, but may be surprising news to you 1000 meter rowers, middle distance runners and, pursuit cyclists.

Steve Ovett
Major Achievements 800 m
1980 Olympic Games Gold Medal
1974 European Championships Silver Medal
1978 European Championships Silver Medal
Made 3 Olympic Finals over 800 m
Personal Best
1.44.1 (1978) Age – 22
Base Training
Reportedly 80 to 100 miles per week (or more).”Harry Wilson’s (Ovett’s coach) training ideas included a very long, 24 week, base period where aerobic development was stressed. During this period aerobic runs were done that were either easy (recovery), medium, or fast “steady-state” runs. By looking at other sources, it can be seen that easy steady-state runs were done at 7minute pace, medium paced aerobic runs were probably done at 5:45-6min pace, and hard aerobic efforts done at around 5:20-5:30 pace. These paces are based on 5mi and 10mi runs recorded by one of Ovett’s training partner (35min for 5mi, 58/60min for 10mi, 52-55min for 10mi).In addition to this aerobic training during the base period, a small amount of anaerobic training and pure speed is done. This is done to “keep the fast-twitch muscle fitness ticking” and to “remind your body of the other energy process.”The mileage during this period for a runner such as Steve Ovett was reported to run an average of 100mpw with a high of 120.”
Source Harry Wilson’s TrainingA TYPICAL WINTER WEEK’S TRAINING
NOV-MAR 1979/80

Sun
a.m. 10 miles road – 57/60 mins
p.m. 10 miles road – 54/55 mins
Mon
a.m. 5 miles road – Easy 35 mins
p.m. 10 miles road – Fast/steady 52/53 mins
Tue
a.m. 10 miles road – Hard on road 4 x 300m approx with fast jog rec then across another very steep hill, 4 x 400m approx jog rec.
Wed
a.m. 10 miles road – 58/60 mins
p.m. 10 miles – Plus technique work at Crystal Palace
Thu
a.m. 5 miles road – Easy 35 mins
p.m. 10 miles road – Steady 55/58 mins continuous
Fri
a.m. 5 miles road – Easy 35 mins
p.m. 5 miles road – Easy 35 mins
Sat
a.m. 5 miles road – Easy 35 mins
p.m. 6 x 1000m park – Hard with 30 secs 1 min rec (in spikes)

Source British Milers Club

Arthur Lydiard: Ovett, of course, admits he does big mileages. But if you think anyone is going to succeed on what Coe says – 50 miles per week of anaerobic running – well, I’m sorry, I just don’t believe it.
Source Runner’s World February 1981

In a program Harry Wilson wrote for a 1.56 (800) 4.04 (1500) man – the total is 73 miles per week
Source Complete Guide to Running by Wilson, Alford, Holmes and Hill

“The only hard anaerobic work you may need to do in the base period are cross country races.” – Harry Wilson
Source I know I read it somewhere – will track it down one day. Found it – Running Dialogue P.31 published 1982 by Harry Wilson

Video
1980 800 m Olympic Final – 6 min 04 secs
Steve pumps out a controlled 50.6 last lap – must have been in 1.43 shape that day.

1981 – Setting a new mile world record – 58 secs
[B]

Steve Cram
Major Achievements 800 m
1986 Commonwealth Games Gold Medal
1986 European Championship Bronze Medal
Personal Best
1.42.88 (1985) Age – 24
Base Training
After an initial 2-3 week build-up in mileage during October, Steve would gradually approach a maximum weekly mileage of 80 miles, although the average during this 22 week period may approximate to 60-70 miles per week.
Typical Training week in October
Mon-Thur: am 4-5 miles, pm 5-8 miles group road run
Fri: Rest or 5-8 miles easy
Sat: Competition or 8-10 miles competitive group session
Sun: 10-14 miles
At no stage in the 22 week endurance period did Cram train on a track.
Source british milers club news
Steve Cram:
“Despite what some coaches might say, the majority of past successes were built on a sound endurance background forged by most on the mud and hills of strength-building cross-country events. Bypass this as an integral part of a competitive foundation and you automatically reduce the chances of sustained success on the track from 800m up to the marathon.”
Video
1985 Zurich 800 m. Clash with Joachim Cruz – 4 min 24 secs
What an amazing year Steve Cram had in 1985

Peter Snell
Major Achievements 800 m
1960 Olympic Games Gold Medal
1964 Olympic Games Gold Medal – Olympic Record
1962 Commonwealth Games Gold Medal
World Record (on grass)
Personal Best
1.44.3 (1962) Age – 23
Base Training
“… Stamina was going to be the key in Tokyo.
I began running twice per day – half an hour in the morning and an hour and a half at night – aiming to reach 100 miles as soon as possible. I made it after two weeks, training mostly with Barry McGee…
I could never run more than three consecutive weeks of 100 miles but over 10 weeks I logged a total of 1012 miles – the greatest amount of distance running I have ever done. And whatever my progress during the week, I made absolutely certain that I covered the 22 mile Waitarua circuit every Sunday right through the 10 week period. That was one part of the training I couldn’t afford to miss.
I approached the distance build up carefully, studiously avoiding any speed running… I don’t think I ever ran faster than six minute miles.”
Snell won two Gold Medals in Tokyo (1964 Olympic Games).
Source No Bugles No Drums – Snell’s autobiography.
Snell used to also include short sharp sprints in the form of a fartlek on the Wednesday afternoon.Video
1960 800 m Olympic Final – 63 secs
Three from three – unparalleled success.Video
Peter Snell’s place in history.

Nixon Kiprotich
Major Achievements 800 m
1992 Olympic Games Sliver Medal
Ranked No.1 in the world over 800m in 1993
Personal Best
1.43.31 (1993) Age – 21
Base Training
“…throughout December and January I’ll train Monday through Friday, running about 15 kilometres at 10 a.m. and another eight kilometres at about 5 p.m. each day. It’s all easy, aerobic running – at about four minutes per kilometre -with no speed work at all. Saturday and Sunday are rest days.”
” I’ve found through trial and error that if I don’t do my base work and build up my aerobic capacity properly, I have a very hard time maintaining my fitness during the competitive season. Without the base, I just can’t sustain fast times for very long; I lose my ‘peak’ quickly”
(Train Hard Win Easy – The Kenyan Way by Toby Tanser suggests Kiprotich ran 140 km during the base period)
Training for juniors
“The high school and college kids should be patient and wait for their time to come. If they try to train the way I do now, they will definitely get injured. When high school runners come to me and ask what to do, I tell them ‘Just do two difficult workouts per week. Do not attempt to train hard every day.’ I recommend moderate workouts -30 minutes of relatively easy fartlek running, 300-metre intervals in 45 seconds or so, hill workouts with 10 repetitions, etc. Young 800-metre runners should avoid the temptation to try to progress too fast.”
Source Peak Performance – www.pponline.co.uk
Video
1992 800 m Olympic Final – 7 min 52 secs
Olympic Gold Medalist William Tanui was wavering between the 800 and 1500 before 1992.

Yuriy Borzakovskiy
Major Achievements 800 m
2004 Olympic Games Gold Medal
Ranked No.1 in the world over 800m in 2001
Personal Best
1:42.47 (2001) Age – 20
Base Training
Borza’s coach says Borza was doing 110 km a week with a max of 12-14 km runs, but also said “Although he (Borzakovskiy) was telling me about how he liked to do longer runs a lot. 20, sometimes even 30 kilometers around the village.”
Conflicting stories there.
Also, although he said they don’t chase volume and don’t count the kms, he did say that “during the preparatory period, we try to get 16-18 kilometers and up to 20 km when he (Yuriy) trains twice a day”
(That is roughly 126 km (7×18) or 78 miles per week and that total doesn’t include any 30 km runs.)
Source Trackchat Forum
Video
2004 800 m Olympic Final – 5 min 46 secs

Dave Wottle
Major Achievements 800 m
1972 Olympic Games Gold Medal
Equal World Record
Personal Best
1.44.3 (1972) Age – 22
Base Training
“While he admits that he was mostly just blessed with really good speed (an understatement), he did run 70-80 miles a week for the most part when his training was going well.
An interesting side note is that Dave actually considered himself a 1500m runner. He only ran the 800m at the Olympic trials b/c the 800m happened to fall on the same day that he was supposed to do a speed workout. His coach told him to run it and if he made it into the final, he’d continue. If not, he would just do more for his workout. Of course, when he made the final and then won the trials while tying the world record, the 800m quickly became his focus.”
Source Forum on Dave Wottle – letsrun.com
Video
1972 800 m Olympic Final – 4 min 47 secs

Alberto Juantorena
Major Achievements 800 m
1976 Olympic Games Gold Medal
World Record
Personal Best
1.43.5 (1976) Age – 26
Base Training
Juantorena used the periodization method, brought to Cuba by Zabierzowski and foreign coaches after the revolution. What Juantorena calls his “General Training”, from October through February, was designed to build up his overall stamina. He says the training was tough. “We used to train on sand hills, two times day, up to 25 kilometers a day; 15 km in morning, 10 km in evening.”
After several months of this stamina work , Juantorena began specific training.
Source Running With Legends“My coach started me running that season with the distance runners. Suddenly, I’m doing 15 kilometre runs, which I was surprised I found so easy, as after some physiological testing he was convinced that I could run the 800m in Montreal, too, and because of my speed and strength win it. I wasn’t so sure.”Video
1976 400 m and 800 m Olympic Finals – 3 min 44 secs

Joaquim Cruz
Major Achievements 800 m
1984 Olympic Games Gold Medal – Olympic Record
1988 Olympic Games Silver Medal
Personal Best
1.41.77 (1984) Age – 21
Base Training
For two months – Re adaption Period
Week 1: three miles every other day
Week 2: five miles every other day
Week 3: four miles every day
Week 4: six miles every day (68 km per week)
Week 5-8: six miles every other day, plus 1.5 – 2.0 hours easy running and gymnastics every other day
Then Cruz did three months of Basic Preparation where he ran no more than 55 miles (88 km) per week
SourceRunner’s World, December 1984 – page 93The follwoing supports the reported training for weeks 5-8 above
In the fall, de Oliveira had him begin with two-hour sessions of constant running interspersed with jumping and gymnastics. In the winter he did long-distance runs, weightlifting, mountain running, intervals, fartlek, uphills, speed drills, tempo runs and circuit training“I spent a couple of hours talking in person with Joaquim Cruz on his training. He was very gracious, open, and down to earth.
During his base phase he ran 10-11 miles a day in singles 7 days a week. Oliveira told him to run 10, but he usually ran 11. He ran lots of his base at 5:20/mile and only run slower if he was particularly tired. As he approached the pre-competitive period he would often run 4:40 every other mile. So, he was a moderate mileage runner during his base phase at 70-80 miles a week with lots and lots of LT work.”
Source letsrun forum- how reliable is this? You be the judge.Video
1984 800 m Olympic Final – 5 min 17 secs

Ralph Doubell
Major Achievements 800 m
1968 Olympic Games Gold Medal – Equal World Record
Personal Best
1:44.3 (1968) Age – 23
Base Training
Franz Stampfl – coach of Doubell.
“It (long distance running) has always been enormously important. Long distance running provides an essential basis before going onto interval training. My distance athletes at the present time would do 7-10 miles a day in addition to interval workouts”
and
“There was a chap who wanted to make an athletic comeback. I sent him out on twenty mile runs every day and I was way ahead of Lydiard with this straight out long running” (for a three mile runner)
Source An interview in 1983 by Brian Lenton in Through the Tape
Doubell also states in R4YL magazine that he did a big base and said Australian 800 m runners today aren’t doing one.Attached Image
Attached Image

Vebjørn Rodal
Major Achievements 800 m
1996 Olympic Games Gold Medal – Olympic Record
1995 World Championships Bronze Medal
Personal Best
1.42.59 (1996) Age – 23
Base Training
Three longs runs per week – with one up to 2 hours.
I presume those easy long runs were a lot longer than 30 mins as Rodal has differentiated between “30 mins” and “long”. Can we assume one hour?
Monday 30 min jog and flexibility
Tuesday Easy long run
Thursday Easy long run
Saturday 1h 30 min Aerobic long run
Example week from basic training from November-March
Monday 1) 30min aerobic run 2) long intervals aerobic ex 10×400+2×200
Thursday 1)30min aerobic run 2)Springy (like described earlier)
Wednesday 1) 30min aerobic run 2) Anaerobic quality ex 3x600m, rest 10-12min
Thursday 1) Cirkel strength (traditional exercises) 2) Long intervals aerobic like Monday
Friday 1) Rest 2) Anaerobic sprint 3x150m + 3x120m + 3x100m, rest 3-5min
Saturday 1) Strength work (like described earlier) 2) Rest
Sunday 1) Long run 45-60min in spring an 2 hours in autumn. 2) Rest
Notes
The morning run of 30min is done like this 10 fast 10 slow 10 fast.
You see it is very much quality year round every element is always present
Source Trackchat Forum
Video
1996 800 m Olympic Final – 8 min 17 secs

Andre Bucher
Major Achievements 800 m
2001 World Championships Gold Medal
Personal Best
1.42.55 (2001) Age – 24
Base Training
Ran 1:56.40 at 16 and 1:48.32 at 17. Personal bests of 22.18w for 200, 46.32 at 400, 1:42.55 at 800, 2:15.63 at 1000, 3:38.44 at 1500, 8:16.9 at 3000, 14:06.9 at 5000, 30:40.5 at 10000 and 9: 09.73 for the steeplechase.
Note his 10 km time!
Bucher also states this when asked about his winter training
“For years, I always started by trying to set a good basic training in autumn (long runs,basic weight training, endurance, . . .).”
Training for Juniors
“The best advice is not to set yourself any limits. Trying various events as a young runner makes you run better in your main event (to be a good 800m runner, you need to have a good speed=>400m, but also you need to have a good endurance =>cross country, 5000m, 3000st., . . . Never specialise too early and always try to have some fun in checking out new distances.”
Source british milers club newsRenato Canova: “Bucher was, for example, in Switzerland, the best junior in 10,000 meters, 5,000 meters, steeple and reigning in junior cross country, then becomes a specialist in 1,500, then after 1,500, 800.”
Source Renato Canova Interview

Alan Webb
Major Achievements 800 m
Running a 2 second pb to record a 1.43 a year after running a 27:34 10 000 m
Personal Best
1.43.85 (2007) Age – 24
Base Training
Raczko (coach) says, “Everything has been part of a master plan. Of course we’ve had to re-focus and re-adjust along the way, like everyone does, but there has always been a plan. [Years] 2005 and 2006 were all about training for 2007 and 2008. The last couple of years, we were trying to build up the strength he needs to win championship medals in the 1,500.”
Through much of ’05 and ’06, in addition to high volume training on land, Webb also did extensive water running (in a buoyant vest). “That enabled him to keep the life in his body, while still getting an strong aerobic base,” says Raczko. “Alan built up a very high level of aerobic strength.”
Source The Fast and The Furious by Tim Layden
Video
2007 800 m – 2 min 34 secs

Sebastian Coe
Major Achievements 800 m
2 World Records
1980 Olympic Games Silver Medal
1984 Olympic Games Silver Medal
1978 European Championships Bronze Medal
1982 European Championships Silver Medal
1986 European Championships Gold Medal
Personal Best
1.41.73 (1981) Age – 24
Base Training
Coach Peter’s advice to a fun runner about to enter a three mile fun run;
“Rule1: Play it cool – don’t even tell your son what you’re at. Act nonchalantly and don’t let the enemy know what you’re doing.”
Source Running for Fitness by Sebastian and Peter Coe p.104How does one count mileage?The Case For Low Mileage
“For the five weeks leading up to the Los Angeles Olympics, Coe’s weekly mileage totaled 38, 36, 31, 24 and 17 miles.”
Source Running with the Legends by Michael SandrockUnlike Elliott and Snell, Coe rearely ran over 50 miles per week, saying, “I’ve always felt that long, slow distance produces long, slow runners.”
Source Runner’s World August 1996 p. 92A general belief held by athletic followers that Coe ran around 40 miles per week – typified in this forum.

…and here too.

Peter: “The quality of what you do is much more important than the quantity. Why pound the life out of a young runner when you can develop it with quality.”
Source Documentary Sebastian Coe – Born To Run

A claim Coe never ran more than 90 km per week and used 5000 m training to develop aerobic capacity.

“Coe’s maximum training mileage is no more than about 80 km per week. He says, ‘I’ve never run more than 7 miles in training and that was 6 miles too long.’”
Source Running Out of Time by T. Dwyer and K.F. Dyer

“He (Peter) was not an advocate of high mileage, believing the 800 was mostly a ‘sustained sprint’. He estimated the proportion of anaerobic and aerobic energy production for the half mile to be 70-30(%), and not the 55-45 proposed by sports scientists and other coaches”
Source Peak Performance by John Hawley and Louise Bourke.
However;
According to this study the 800 m is 70-30. But 70% AEROBIC and 30% ANAEROBIC and not the other way around as estimated by Peter.
Quoting Ingrid Kristiansen’s website , “The reason is that the old test method, the Oxygen Debt method, has very large inaccuracies. Newer research have provided a more accurate method, the Accumulated Oxygen Deficit (AOD). The consequence of this is that the aerobic work content has been underrated up until now.”

In Harry Wilson’s “The Complete Middle Distance Runner” he lists the 800 m as 66.6% Anaerobic and 33.3% Aerobic.

“Peter took a different approach from the emphasis on long-distance work favoured by many.”
Source Running with the Legends by Michael Sandrock

Seb Coe:
Arthur Lydiard, the New Zealander who coached Peter Snell to three Olympic middle-distance gold medals in the 1960s, always advocated that his runners complete 100 miles a week. Seb says: “My dad took this idea apart. He insisted that slow running produces slow runners.”

The Case For High Mileage

I started daily training at the age of 14. When I was 16 years old I was running twice a day.

Seb: “Even when I eventually got back to training I could never run more than about six miles for fear of bringing on the injury again; so as far as endurance was concerned, I was in pretty bad shape.” Leading into the 1982 track season. This suggest that runs of significantly longer than six miles was the norm.
Source: Running For Fitness by Sebastian and Peter Coe p. 142

Seb Coe (April 2008):
“The same was the case if you dropped down to middle distance. Steve Ovett finished second in the “nationals” and raced internationally. Steve Cram ran in a world junior cross-country championship, and four months before my Olympic campaign in 1980 I slugged it out in an international field in Italy…. I am convinced that unless the right endurance grounding is in place by the time the aspiring middle-distance or distance runner graduates from junior to senior ranks -and that certainly includes cross-country running – the athlete will always be at a disadvantage, particularly when lining up against Africa’s best.”
Source: Distance Runners Need Some Country Air

November through to March/April – according to David Martin.
Rather than running 100 to 120 miles a week like many runners, Coe would run 60 to 75 miles (96 to 120 km) a week of basework. It was hard hard work
In May there was a gradual changeover to anaerobic work.
Cutting back to 60 miles per week and then to 30 miles a week.
Source Running with the Legends by Michael Sandrock

Seb: “I hadn’t trained for 10 years mile upon mile in some of the harshest northern winters, I hadn’t lifted hundreds and hundreds of weights, to go home empty-handed.”
Source Still in the Running

Seb: “I could do mile upon mile on hills and on peak path” (just outside of Shefield) – describing how the terrain assisted his athletic development.
Source Interview Sebastian Coe on ‘Sporting Greats’

A claim Coe got up to 100 miles per week

… and 90 miles per week here.

David Martin (co author with Peter Coe) to Keith Livingstone
“Don’t worry, he did the work!”

Arthur Lydiard: “I believe he’s doing more mileage… You can take my advice or listen to what Coe says.”
Source Runner’s World February 1981

Pre Moscow
“Two days later Sebastian and guest (Kenny Moore) did a 14.4 mile (23 km +) training run up the Derwent Valley, west of… Peter Drove behind… It was a hard effort, 5:30 pace in wet track suits and slickers. The wind and rain howled out of the Pennies…
During the last 6 miles the guest fell behind. Soon the car came even with him. Peter rolled the window down. “I don’t know what you’re listening to out there, but I’ve got Schubert in here.”
Source US Olympic Marathoner Kenny Moore’s from his book “Best Efforts”.

Coe goes for a 10 or 11 mile run in “under the hour” the day after he lost the 800 m in Moscow (and obviously before the 1500)
Source Running Free – Autobiography

Peter Coe: “Seb was trained in an orthodox fashion using known methods.”
Source Coming Back, Coe’s autobiography written post Los Angeles.
but Seb says,
“That was gratifying confirmation of something I already knew – that my old man was 20 years ahead of his time as a coach.”
Source The Times – Great British Olympians

Peter Coe: “The great conditioner is 5,000 m training. I find it essential for the late winter/early spring phase.” This suggests Seb was doing other work in early winter.
Source Coming Back, Coe’s autobiography written post Los Angeles.

The schedules given in Peter Coe’s book (written with Dr David Martin) peak at 80 miles per week for a middle distance runner with 16 weeks of averaging just over 70 miles per week
Source Better Training for Distance Runners, 2nd ed,Human Kinetics 1997
Similar training was suggested for a “runner like Seb” in Running for Fitness by Sebastian and Peter Coe published in 1982

“We concentrated on both speed and endurance”

“Everywhere from my front door was effectively up, and there was a run we used to do often that was uphill for 10 miles,” he remembers. “We’d be out in all weathers…”

“Often he would have music on and once in a storm of swirling snow and hail, when I had 14 miles on the road to do, he said, ‘I don’t know what you’ve got out there, but I’ve got Wagner in here’.
Source The Times – Great British Olympians

Interview: Renato Canova …his father Peter says now that he doesn’t believe in long run. That is not true, because Sebastian ran all his life very long… Because you can build not your speed, but your speed endurance when you have a very, very big aerobic base, aerobic background, that now these people don’t have. This is the problem.

Steve Scott: “I read portions of Seb’s book Running Free but it went into his family life and talked about his sister, pet dog and other ridiculous things. You come down to the fact: ‘What can you believe about what they’re saying anyway?”
Source An interview in 1983 by Brian Lenton in Through the Tape

Seb continues to run 15 miles every Sunday
Source buzzle.com

My Verdict
Peter’s joke about, “I don’t know what you’re listening to out there, but I’ve got Schubert in here.” – not that funny.

I think the last poster here may not be far off the mark. An average of 70 miles – 112 km – at the least.
One of my favourite running books was written by Peter Coe in 1983. In it, it suggests training for “someone like Seb”. “… Starting at 40 miles per week in November and working up to 65-80 miles per week by March”.
Later, Peter says, “if the mileages are high (so they got high!) or there are additional repetition sessions, circuit training may be omitted.”
This is consistent with this
“The schedules given in Peter Coe’s book (written with Dr David Martin) peak at 80 miles per week for a middle distance runner with 16 weeks of averaging just over 70 miles per week”
from “Better Training for Distance Runners”

Once again
Arthur Lydiard: “I believe he’s doing more mileage… You can take my advice or listen to what Coe says.”

Those hard 14 mile runs make you wonder!

Video
1986 800 m European Championships – 3 min 33 secs

1979 800 m World Record – 2.01

Rudolf Harbig
Major Achievements 800 m
800 m World Record.
Also ran WR 400 m in 46.0
Personal Best
1.46.6 (1939) Age – 26
Base Training
It is not clear. It is stated that his coach, Gerschler, got his athletes to do four months of Cross Country Training – 7 to 13 miles per day.
Then it states that Harbig trained using the Gerschler system. For Basal Conditioning he worked out three times per week. Once in the gym, once on the track and once in the woods.
“Up to three hours every Sunday in the woods with alternate slow and fast running. At the time it was considered extreme training for a runner whose longest training distance was 800 metres.”
Source Running Out of Time by T. Dwyer and K.F. Dyer
and The Complete Middle Distance Runner by Watts, Wilson and HorwillIt is interesting to see the tracks that Harbig had to race on -http://www.hall-of-fame-sport.de/galerie/portrait/13
and
http://www.wissen.de/wde/generator/wissen/…hunk=img_0.htmlRudolph Harbig en route to his 800 m World Record of 1.46.6Attached Image
Attached Image

Rich Kenah
Major Achievements 800 m
1997 World Championships Bronze Medal
Personal Best
1:42.38 (2001) Age – 27
Base Training
There is a strong Lydiard / Snell influnce as evidenced in the source below.
“To be a better middle distance runner you need to lift like a sprinter in the weight room and train like a distance man when running.”
Source Run Strong by Kevin Beck
Also in the same video below is Wilson Kipketer“The training is my secret and if I told you what it was, it wouldn’t be a secret anymore.”
- Wilson KipketerYou can’t argue with logic like that.Video
1997 800 m World Championships – 2 min 21 secsand I had to include this amazing run with the same Gold and Bronze Medalist here – Kipketer and Kenah. Kipketer – so smooth.
1997 800 m World Indoor Championships – 6 min 21 secs. Race ends at 3 min 40 sec

Benson Koech
Major Achievements 800 m
1992 World Junior Champion
World Junior Record 1.44.77
1994 Ranked number 1 in World over 800 m
1995 IAAF Grand Prix 800 m winner
Personal Best
1.43.17 (1994) Age – 20
Base Training
Koech twice won the Junior National and Provincial Cross Country Championships.
2 or 3 sessions per day in the build up. 140 km per week maximum. 100 km per week during the competition period.
Undulating dirt road and dirt track used.
Source Train Hard Win Easy – The Kenyan Way by Toby Tanser

Japhet Kimutai
Major Achievements 800 m
World Junior Champion
1997 World Junior Record 1:43.64
Personal Best
1.42.69 (1999) Age – 20
Base Training
This base training was reported when Japhet was 18 with a personal best of 1.45.63. He was to run 3 seconds quicker, but I don’t have a record of his training at that stage.
110 km per week training twice per day.
“Cross Country build up is very important for me”
Japhet did three months of good cross country training.
From November to March is cross country training with steady running with a longest run of 60 mins.
Source Train Hard Win Easy – The Kenyan Way by Toby Tanser

Pekka Vasala
Major Achievements 800 m
European 800 m Record Holder (0.2 off WR)
Ran final 800 m of Olympic Games 1500 win in Munich in 1.49
Personal Best
1.44.5 (1972) Age – 24
Base Training
Training for the 1972 season, twice a day, seven days a week, 12 months a year, 130 miles a week (maximum). In may 1972, Vasala ran an “easy” 29.06 10 000m. 12 weeks later he became the European 800 metre record holder at 1.44.5.
The longest single run was 37 km which he did twice.
In the year leading up to the 1971 track season he averaged 77 km per week. In the year leading up to the Olympics, he averaged 144 km per week.
Source An article on Pekka Vasala – not sure of the magazine or book it came from. I have it in hardcopy.
Video
1972 1500 m Olympic Final – 1 min 50 secs

Jim Ryun
Major Achievements 800 m
World Record based on 880 yard time
Personal Best
1.44.3 (1966) Age – 19
Base Training
“His training mileage went as high as 120 miles a week.” p.159
“Timmons calculated that Jim had run 4,380 miles in the past year, an average of 12 miles each and every day of the whole year.” p. 71
“Jim and his teammates ran… a distance of 16 miles over many hills, in one hour and 38 minutes.” p.35
“For as long has Jim Ryun has run there has always been the early morning cross country run.” p.205
“Ryun heads for different routes away from Lawrence each morning, and when traveling looks for interesting places to run. It is a way to combat the boredom of endless hours of running.” p.208
SourceThe Jim Ryun Story – autobiography – published prior to the Mexico Olympic GamesAn example of Ryun’ s base work in winter [February 20 to February 26, 1966] 106 miles/week – may be found from the Trackchat Forum
Here it is below
Base Work in Winter [February 20 to February 26, 1966] 106 miles/week
===============================================
February 20 [14.5 miles]
AM 5 miles – strides
PM 20×440
4.5 miles – strides
February 21 [17 miles]
AM 5 miles – strides
PM hill work – 6 times series
1. up 200 yard hill (steep)
2. stride 880 on top, controlled sprint down (gradual incline
down)
3. stride 440 flat
4. sprint 6×50 and 3×220 with strides between each
February 22 [15 miles]
AM 5 miles – strides
PM 5×2 miles (reverse route each time)
February 23 [12.5 miles]
AM 5 miles – strides
PM 10×880 (jog 440 between each)
February 24 [15 miles]
AM 5 miles
PM run golf course – 36 holes worth
February 25 [16 miles]
AM 6 miles
PM run golf course – 10 miles
February 26 [16 miles]
PM 16 miles on roadsRyun ran over 70 miles in the second last week leading up to a mile World Record in 3.51.3
Source The Complete Middle Distance Runner by Watts, Wilson and Horwill
Ryun did a lot of anaerobic work and he and his coach concede that they over did it.
An interesting insight into Ryun’s training with some input from his son.Let’s look at Ryun’s 880 yard World Record
He ran 1.51 in a preliminary heat less than two hours before it.
He wasn’t going for the world record.
He won the race by three seconds
He had not run under 1.50 up until then.
He usually warmed up for an hour but only 15 mins for this race.
The track was asphalt and was run at 4 pm in the heat of the day.
During the race he wanted to save himself for the mile race the next day and ran the first lap comfortably.
His 220 yard splits were – 26.2, 27.1, 26.1, 25.5 (probaby a 1.44.3 800 m)
The last 220 yards was the fastest. 800s just aren’t run this way.
What if he went through in 24.2?
The last 200 should be the slowest not the fastest.
And look at the preparation…
2 weeks of 85-90 mile weeks, then cut it back for two or three weeks (see the link above for the training leading up to that amazing run)
At 300 to go he took off and “kept looking around because I couldn’t believe they were so far back”.
He was very surprised at the time and so was his coach.
He struggled badly in the mile the next day.
Source:The Jim Ryun Story (autobiography)Video
1967 1500 m World Record – 4 min 10 secs

Herb Elliott
Major Achievements 800 m
Although known as a miler, Elliott achieved success over 800 m.
1958 Commonwealth Games Gold Medal
Ran fastest half mile time ever in Europe (to that point), half a second behind Olympic Gold Medalist Tom Courtney’s World Record.
Estimated to be one second off the then 800 m World Record
Personal Best
1.46.7 (1958) Age – 20 (estimated from 880 yard time of 1.47.3)
Base Training
Five months
Long Hard runs usually between 8 to 16 km with the occasional 32 km (say one a month). Fast efforts around a golf course (with fast efforts varying from 100 m to 1500 m). Hill Running and repetitive runs up sand dunes.
60 to 80 miles per week. Training was intense.Source Athletics The Australian Way, and Australian Runner and Athlete – The Cerutty Legend (article)
“In the winter and spring of 1957 I must have run 2500 miles in training and lifted thousands of pounds in weights” p.61
SourceThe Golden Mile – Herb’s autobiographyHere is Herb’s training when he was 18 for the winter
Mon: A ten mile run at any pace I felt like setting, always finishing hard over the last two miles or so
Tue: Six or seven miles in the morning. Weight lifting in the evening
Wed: Ten miles hard against the clock
Thu: same as Tue
Fri: rest
Sat: faster ‘fun’ workout at lunchtime on the track. A hard five miles in the evening
Sun: eight to ten miles in the morning, eight to ten miles hard in the afternoon.
the two weight lifting sessions were presumably low reps heavy weights
Source The Golden Mile p. 147
As the track season approached, Herb would do repetitive runs at race pace over varying distances, and run hard efforts for the hoped for time of his race (three and half minutes) to develop mental toughness.
SourceThe Cerutty Legend – Australian Runner (Magazine) – Forget the page number and year (but I wrote the article)For four days during the work week, resting only on Friday, he had lifted weights and run 10 miles every day through Melbourne’s abundant parks. Now he would run some 50 miles over the weekendThe following is from a letsrun forum and is a good summary of the Cerutty’s training.
“My advice therefore, to anyone wanting to follow Cerutty’s methods would be throw away your heart rate monitor and your Garmin and start getting back in touch with how you really feel when you are running. Abandon your schedule of set hard days and rest days and let your body decide what is best for it each day.
Seek out challenging terrain where you can run freely, surging up and down hills, running flat out on stretches that lend themselves to it, jogging when tired until ready to go again…”
Source Letsrun Forum – Cerutty and Lydiard
and there is some good stuff here too
Video
1960 1500 m Olympic Games – 2 min 37 secs

Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Comments

  • Darion Mortley  On December 22, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    Lord Coe’s trainning is more trust worthy! Especially,when the brilliant athlete,David Rudisha, has based his training on Seb Coe’s trainning!

    • tonywilson  On December 22, 2011 at 9:43 pm

      Of course Coe’s training worked, but what was Coe’s training? What aren’t you happy about?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: