This I Believe (second draft)

The following the newsletter that I sent out to subscribers a month ago.  I shared the first three parts of it here and I thought I would be appropriate to share the rest of it.  I hope you enjoy it.  You can join the newsletter at the bottom of this post.

There is a project called “This I Believe” – http://thisibelieve.org/ – that is based off of the same series done by Edward R. Murrow.  Here is my list as it applies to training.  It is not a comprehensive list, but it’s close.

I believe if an athlete wants to run faster, they need to run.  The Law of Specificity for a runner means that you have to spend a significant amount of time running to get better at running.  Now, the ratio of running to non-running work may (and probably should) change throughout the life of a given athlete.  Early in a career, when the athlete doesn’t have a very good aerobic foundation, more running needs to occur.  When the athlete is in their late thirties and beyond, a bit more general strength (potentially weight room work) and a bit less running is probably the best recipe for success.  But the bottom line is that if you want to improve as a runner then you have to run.

I believe that the long run is the key workout for developing the aerobic metabolism (though many would argue that threshold training is better). [Read more…]

Stop undervaluing the Long Run

It’s easy to blow off the weekly long run when you hear that running at your threshold pace is the best way to develop the aerobic metabolism.  There are numerous studies that show this to be true.  But the long run is part of the recipe for all elite runners and should be a part of the recipe for all serious runners.  The long run isn’t sexy – you just go out and run for a long time, perhaps speeding up a bit at the end – but it’s crucial for your long term aerobic development.  You have to do the long run if you’re going to become a better runner and if you want to improve your fitness.  Getting athletes to buy into the importance of the long run is often my primary job in the first few months working with an athlete.  But once they PR, they see the direct connection between both the length and intensity of the long run and their new level of fitness.  Value the long run and you’ll race faster.