Longer easy runs at “very” easy pace...

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Re: Longer easy runs at “very” easy pace...

Post by Tinman » Fri Jan 16, 2015 11:45 am

Back in 2004 and 2005, I had several email conversations with Knut Kvalheim, who I consider a friend, from Norway. He was a world class distance runner in the 1970s, as was he brother. Both ran for Bowerman at the University of Oregon and were very good. Knut ran 3:40 under Bowerman for 1500m. He stayed in Eugene, Oregon to finish his degree after his eligibility to compete for the University was done. He lived in the same vicinity as Prefontaine. Knut lived in student housing and Pre was nearby in a trailer. Anyway, Knut trained with Pre and several other very good runners on Sundays. Pre and the others ran 12 miles, typically, for their "long" run, starting at Hayward Field (the track complex), where they met. Knut ran 3 miles to the Field, ran 12 miles with the others, and then ran 3 miles back home, for a total of 18 miles. Pre would drive past Knut and yell to him, "Marathoner!" and speed off. Knut shrugged it off and kept putting in his long runs and higher mileage. That year, Knut ran faster than Pre in all distances. Knut ran faster than Prefontaine over 3000m, 5000m, and 10000m on the track.

Below is a link to read. Knut told me that he traveled Europe the previous summer and ran in some racers. He met John Walker, Dick Quax, and Rod Dixon, all who were from New Zealand and medalists in the Olympic Games (1500m, 5,000m, and 1500m). They extolled the value of runniing mileage, both in a "base" phase and still doing plenty of distance running and long runs during the racing season. Knut admired those guys, so he decided to follow their advice. During the autumn, Knut ran upward of 120 miles per week, doing a weekly tempo run (of course, back then it wasn't called a tempo, just a 3/4th effort 10 mile run, which for Knut dropped in pace from 5:20 to 5:00 over the weeks). He ran a weekly long interval session, after 10 weeks of "base" mileage, and the intervals were not fast at all. They were more like threshold pace. And, He gradually increased the quality over the winter months. The next spring and summer he was faster than Pre. Knut ended up being 9th in the Olympic Games 5,000m in Montreal.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knut_Kvalheim
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Re: Longer easy runs at “very” easy pace...

Post by Gabe1 » Fri Jan 16, 2015 12:03 pm

In 2014 we only had 1 Swedish guy under 2:20 in the marathon, the somali-born Mustafa Muhammed who ran 2:19:29. And we only had a tiny handful of guys that broke 30 min 10k. Swedish distance running is just in an awful state at the moment. If I were prime minister here, I would hire Tom to coach every talent we have in Sweden :)

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Re: Longer easy runs at “very” easy pace...

Post by Gabe1 » Fri Jan 16, 2015 12:08 pm

It's a shame because we used to have guys like Kjell-Erik Ståhl who was just crushing it, running 2:10. And even more impressive, he ran 14 marathons in 1 year, all under 2:16!

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Re: Longer easy runs at “very” easy pace...

Post by dilluh » Fri Jan 16, 2015 1:30 pm

What I am taking away from this excellent discussion is that it’s not necessarily about LSD, it’s about running within yourself (a Tinman philosophy). It’s about maintaining a solid long run no matter what event you train for (again, a Tinman philosophy). It’s about consistently getting in a good volume of running (part of “keeping the ball rolling”). It’s about performing workouts that don’t break you down but rather invigorate you (another part of “keeping the ball rolling”). It’s about “train don’t strain.”

I could imagine a hybrid approach that meshes Henderson’s ideas of gentle running and volume with Tinman’s ideas of appropriate twice weekly stamina workouts, but really, this doesn't seem far from Tinman’s approach anyway. =]

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Re: Longer easy runs at “very” easy pace...

Post by Spider Man » Fri Jan 16, 2015 1:52 pm

Quote: "What I am taking away from this excellent discussion is that it’s not necessarily about LSD, it’s about running within yourself (a Tinman philosophy). It’s about maintaining a solid long run no matter what event you train for (again, a Tinman philosophy). It’s about consistently getting in a good volume of running (part of “keeping the ball rolling”). It’s about performing workouts that don’t break you down but rather invigorate you (another part of “keeping the ball rolling”). It’s about “train don’t strain.”

Yes, that just about sums it up ...

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Re: Longer easy runs at “very” easy pace...

Post by Tinman » Fri Jan 16, 2015 3:52 pm

Some more insight:

Knut coached Susanne Wigene, who broke several Norwegian national records for track distances, and she was one of the top ranked women runners in the world. I helped Knut with workout design. He commented about how my ideas worked and he enjoyed being able to share those ideas with others. However, although Knut was asked to speek at coaching clinics, his advice was largely ignored. I found it very odd that the man who had the top runner in the country was being ignored. Knut said over and over the the key is to build endurance through mileage, stamina through CV type workouts, and use small doses of anaerobic training for short durations of time. In fact, one significant change he made was from my suggestion, which I borrowed from Arthur Lydiard.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Susanne_Wigene

Rather than running 200m reps at a quick speed with short recoveries, I recommended jogging a full 200m between reps. I said that Susanne would become faster and have more power with the longer jog recoveries without the loss of aerobic endurance and stamina that so often happens with short-recovery, fast paced reps. After following that advice, Knut commented that the change made a big difference for Susanne; she had speed at the end of races, more than ever, and did not fade. In the past, she'd get blown away by the Kenyan women, but no longer was that true. Yet, once again, other coaches in Norway refused to follow that recommendation. They loved Seb / Peter Coe - the low mileage, high intensity mantra pervaded the culture in Norway.

In fact, Knut said he tried the Coe method with the runners he coached, and Knut discovered after 2-3 years that the method was bogus, in his opinion. People got in shape fast, but they could not race well for more than a week or two, and it was very hard to peak them to run well when it mattered most. I shared with Knut that Coe was not the low mileage runner that his father claimed. It was a disguise, intended to make everyone else think they could get away with low mileage and high intensity as the be-all, end-all answer. Seb was running 5 miles every morning on top of the training shown. Seb often ran a 11-14 miles at a solid pace on the weekend, too.

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Re: Longer easy runs at “very” easy pace...

Post by shug » Sun Jan 18, 2015 12:48 pm

This is a great thread!

Here are a few thoughts I've pondered...

I speculate that part of the success mentioned with predominantly EZ - VEZ running is attributed to running in thin soled shoes (common back in that era). It would be less likely for these runners to develop sloppy strides with heavy heal striking. Plus, I'd be willing to bet that these guys didn't have the muscle imbalances common in many of today's runners wearing high drop and think shoes.

As I'm sure others can attest, when I do most of my training in big clunkers (i.e., Brooks Ghost / Nike Pegasus), I notice significant muscle imbalances occurring between my upper leg muscles and lower leg muscles. Furthermore, when I drop down to racing flats for a 5k or 10k, the only muscle groups sore the next day are my calf / soleus area. Note, this happens even with wearing racing flats during quality effort training.

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Re: Longer easy runs at “very” easy pace...

Post by infini » Mon Jan 19, 2015 3:43 am

Just want to say, very interesting topic! A lot of food for thought. Thank you all ;D

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Re: Longer easy runs at “very” easy pace...

Post by Gabe1 » Mon Jan 19, 2015 4:30 am

To continue the discussion, no everything is not totally dark in Swedish distance running. We actually do have 1 guy that is running pretty well. Although he had some injury problems in 2014. His name is Mikael Ekvall, and he set a new national best in the half marathon with 1:02:28, not long ago. So how come Mikael is running pretty well, when all others seem to fail so hard? Take a wild guess....

Mikael has searched himself over seas and now he is training in Australia with Nic Bideau, who is of course the husband of Sonia O'Sullivan which most of us here know was coached by Tinman for a period. When you listen to Nic in interviews, his philosophy is very close to Tinman's. A wild guess from my side is that Nic and Sonia adapted quite a few of Tom's ideas.

And more, Nic has publicly critized Swedish distance running and training. This is my translation from a part of a Swedish interview with Nic:

"Question:
Are you in agreement with Jama Aden when he says that there might be a "systematic error" in the Swedish middle- and long distance organization?

Nic:
I have seen Ulf Friberg's (the coach of most of the Swedish top runners) group train very hard, but without reaching results.....for example I saw his guys running 10x1000m in training, and I can promise you that Collis (Collis Birmingham, one of Nic's guys that have run 7:35 3000m) would have had a tough time keeping up with them. Not so long after that, I saw them in a cross country race in Holland were they did not run as well as I would have thought, after seeing them train. It was a race that I'm sure Collis would have won.

Most of the people that come to train with me are surprised that we don't train harder. The key is that my runners can repeat the training for weeks and months."

And this is what Mikael Ekvall himself has to say about the training that sets him apart from the rest of the Swedish guys:

"Before I used to do 12-15x1000m repeats. I don't do that anymore. I do 8x1000m. I stopped running myself into the ground so that I can't train properly the next day. When I am in Australia, the training is basically the same every week: intervalls, treshold, hills and long runs. Instead of periodization between weeks, we train consistently at an even level. "

Sound pretty familiar, doesn't it.....

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Re: Longer easy runs at “very” easy pace...

Post by Schebo » Mon Jan 19, 2015 5:00 am

Gabe1 wrote:To continue the discussion, no everything is not totally dark in Swedish distance running. We actually do have 1 guy that is running pretty well. Although he had some injury problems in 2014. His name is Mikael Ekvall, and he set a new national best in the half marathon with 1:02:28, not long ago. So how come Mikael is running pretty well, when all others seem to fail so hard? Take a wild guess....

Mikael has searched himself over seas and now he is training in Australia with Nic Bideau, who is of course the husband of Sonia O'Sullivan which most of us here know was coached by Tinman for a period. When you listen to Nic in interviews, his philosophy is very close to Tinman's. A wild guess from my side is that Nic and Sonia adapted quite a few of Tom's ideas.

And more, Nic has publicly critized Swedish distance running and training. This is my translation from a part of a Swedish interview with Nic:

"Question:
Are you in agreement with Jama Aden when he says that there might be a "systematic error" in the Swedish middle- and long distance organization?

Nic:
I have seen Ulf Friberg's (the coach of most of the Swedish top runners) group train very hard, but without reaching results.....for example I saw his guys running 10x1000m in training, and I can promise you that Collis (Collis Birmingham, one of Nic's guys that have run 7:35 3000m) would have had a tough time keeping up with them. Not so long after that, I saw them in a cross country race in Holland were they did not run as well as I would have thought, after seeing them train. It was a race that I'm sure Collis would have won.

Most of the people that come to train with me are surprised that we don't train harder. The key is that my runners can repeat the training for weeks and months."

And this is what Mikael Ekvall himself has to say about the training that sets him apart from the rest of the Swedish guys:

"Before I used to do 12-15x1000m repeats. I don't do that anymore. I do 8x1000m. I stopped running myself into the ground so that I can't train properly the next day. When I am in Australia, the training is basically the same every week: intervalls, treshold, hills and long runs. Instead of periodization between weeks, we train consistently at an even level. "

Sound pretty familiar, doesn't it.....
Well, Friberg has coached Mustafa Mohamed and Meraf Bahta with some success...

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Re: Longer easy runs at “very” easy pace...

Post by Gabe1 » Mon Jan 19, 2015 5:31 am

Schebo wrote:
Gabe1 wrote:To continue the discussion, no everything is not totally dark in Swedish distance running. We actually do have 1 guy that is running pretty well. Although he had some injury problems in 2014. His name is Mikael Ekvall, and he set a new national best in the half marathon with 1:02:28, not long ago. So how come Mikael is running pretty well, when all others seem to fail so hard? Take a wild guess....

Mikael has searched himself over seas and now he is training in Australia with Nic Bideau, who is of course the husband of Sonia O'Sullivan which most of us here know was coached by Tinman for a period. When you listen to Nic in interviews, his philosophy is very close to Tinman's. A wild guess from my side is that Nic and Sonia adapted quite a few of Tom's ideas.

And more, Nic has publicly critized Swedish distance running and training. This is my translation from a part of a Swedish interview with Nic:

"Question:
Are you in agreement with Jama Aden when he says that there might be a "systematic error" in the Swedish middle- and long distance organization?

Nic:
I have seen Ulf Friberg's (the coach of most of the Swedish top runners) group train very hard, but without reaching results.....for example I saw his guys running 10x1000m in training, and I can promise you that Collis (Collis Birmingham, one of Nic's guys that have run 7:35 3000m) would have had a tough time keeping up with them. Not so long after that, I saw them in a cross country race in Holland were they did not run as well as I would have thought, after seeing them train. It was a race that I'm sure Collis would have won.

Most of the people that come to train with me are surprised that we don't train harder. The key is that my runners can repeat the training for weeks and months."

And this is what Mikael Ekvall himself has to say about the training that sets him apart from the rest of the Swedish guys:

"Before I used to do 12-15x1000m repeats. I don't do that anymore. I do 8x1000m. I stopped running myself into the ground so that I can't train properly the next day. When I am in Australia, the training is basically the same every week: intervalls, treshold, hills and long runs. Instead of periodization between weeks, we train consistently at an even level. "

Sound pretty familiar, doesn't it.....
Well, Friberg has coached Mustafa Mohamed and Meraf Bahta with some success...
Absolutely, but the point is that if you have top talent you will be able to handle very hard training. This is the same system as they use in Kenya. Put a lot of talented runners together and make them train super hard and a few of them will succeed. But most of them will burn out and fade away. Mustafa Mohammed and Meraf Bahta are east africans with great talent. But the majority of the Swedish runners are not able to handle hard training as well as they are. Mikael Ekvall was not running that well at all, until he joined Nic's group. And now he has run faster than Mustafa Mohammed in 5000m, 10000m, and HM. I don't think he could have done that if he had trained with Friberg. But that is what I think.

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Re: Longer easy runs at “very” easy pace...

Post by Spider Man » Mon Jan 19, 2015 8:43 am

Basically ...

* There's the "science" of coaching, where athletes often train to targets predetermined by vVo2 max / LT etc. etc. ...
&
* There's the "art" of coaching, where athletes tend to train to personal sensations of effort ...

Coaches like Lydiard, Bideau, Tinman etc. are adept in the "art" (as well as the "science") of coaching ...

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Re: Longer easy runs at “very” easy pace...

Post by Tinman » Mon Jan 19, 2015 11:07 am

Back in 2004-2005, Nic emailed often, and we had some good communication about training. Nic credited his coaching success to learning from four coaches prior to reading my posts on letsrun.com and asking me questions (so I think he enjoyed learning from me too). Those coaches were Lydiard (New Zealand), Pat Clohessy (New Zealand), Chris Wardlad (a protege of Clohessy), and Allen Storey (England). One think Nic talked about was doing training that kept runners from breaking down. He learned a lot of that from Clohessy, who coached (and still does) numerous top runners and young, developing runners in Australia. Pat was and still is a believe in blending Lydiard's various ideas in a simple weekly schedule. The key, Nic said and I already knew, in Clohessy's mind to build a runner from many angles, yet focus on endurance as strength as the primary means to achieve sustained success over many years. It's not a get-rich quick scheme, that's for sure.

Nic was one who had his own setbacks as a runner, and he was more or less an average runner who felt that he fell short of his potential. Upon self-reflection, Nic decided that he should learn more, plan better, understand what works for the long-term, not the short-term so much, and so on. Later, he utilized the Australian Institute of Sports facilities, physiological testing for his athletes, like Mottram, Fitzgerald, and others to discover how the training they did influenced results. And, he learned to give his athletes heart rate monitors and match up the data from the lab's test results with practical training. In my view, that was a big breakthrough for Nic's runners. For example, if the lab results said that the optimal "easy" range for heart rate was 140-150 for Mottram, he'd run in that range for many kilometers, and when he went up to the mountains (Falls Creek) to train, he'd adjust his pace to match that range, rather than push too hard. On tempo days, Mottram and others ran right at the heart rate specified by the lab results.

I have to get to work, so I will close now. Maybe more later. Regardless, Nic has a good head on his shoulders, and he's got good common sense. He learns from others, doesn't go with the crowd, and that's made a big difference for the runners whom he has coached.
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Re: Longer easy runs at “very” easy pace...

Post by dilluh » Mon Jan 19, 2015 1:22 pm

Tinman wrote: Pat was and still is a believe in blending Lydiard's various ideas in a simple weekly schedule. The key, Nic said and I already knew, in Clohessy's mind to build a runner from many angles, yet focus on endurance as strength as the primary means to achieve sustained success over many years. It's not a get-rich quick scheme, that's for sure.
Good to see that what I think Lydiard referred to as the "complex" training system is still in use. From my understanding it was a balanced schedule but it deviated slightly from Lydiard in that many of the components or speeds were blended into the weeks worth of running (plenty of short fartleks for speed and hills for power along with stamina workouts and long run) rather than the focus on peaking/sharpening. Hence the term "complex." The athlete does a blend of many different speeds but the underlying focus on good endurance and workouts that don't break you down is still there (again, this is sounding familiar: Tinman). It's appealing to those who like repeatability throughout training but also variety within a week.

I came across Chris Wardlaw's "complex" training program many years ago in pdf form. If you are interested in this system, message me and I can send it to you.

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Re: Longer easy runs at “very” easy pace...

Post by qrkid » Mon Jan 19, 2015 3:35 pm

dilluh wrote: Good to see that what I think Lydiard referred to as the "complex" training system is still in use. From my understanding it was a balanced schedule but it deviated slightly from Lydiard in that many of the components or speeds were blended into the weeks worth of running (plenty of short fartleks for speed and hills for power along with stamina workouts and long run) rather than the focus on peaking/sharpening. Hence the term "complex." The athlete does a blend of many different speeds but the underlying focus on good endurance and workouts that don't break you down is still there (again, this is sounding familiar: Tinman). It's appealing to those who like repeatability throughout training but also variety within a week.

I came across Chris Wardlaw's "complex" training program many years ago in pdf form. If you are interested in this system, message me and I can send it to you.

Not that it matter, but would be interesting to now the actual history.
I have always thought that Clohesey learned from Lydiard and then changed things up to come up with what he termed The Aussie Complex system. Would be interested to know if the complex system was a Lydiard thing or if it was a Clohesey termed thing. Chris Wardlaw then learned under Pat and continues with the Compelx system. Wardlaw even has some canned plans in the complex system vain for triathletes.

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