Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Shorter on marathon training specificity

Sounds boring already, and I promised. But it's been bugging me. Do we get faster by training longer at marathon pace? Or should we stick to the old formula of running long a minute or two slower than MP, mixing in an interval once a week, and believing it'll all come together on race day?

So I asked Frank Shorter at the Miami Tropical Marathon Expo in February, what's the deal? Shorter definately came down on the side of the old school formula, of slow slow longs, which he explains in his new book. When I mentioned Kalid (and other elites) endorsed up to 15- or 16-mile MP runs, he either frowned or was genuinely surprised. He must not read RW. Shorter was quick to point out that Kalid surely was not divulging his whole training regimen, which I'm sure is true. Still, Kalid says it's a key component. (Frank frowns again.) I'm assuming Shorter was dismissive of long MPs, because they were contrary to the LSDs he recommends in his new book.

Of value, he did say most people run too long in weekly intervals. He kept his intervals at 3 miles/wk when he trained for Olympic Gold in '72. A surprisingly small percentage of his weekly total of 140 miles. (Before he hit it big, we use to see Shorter logging his mileage around Gainesville with the Florida Track Club when we were undergrads at UF.)

Training for Chicag05, Kurt and I are going with Khalid's longer MPs at mid-distances up to 12-13 miles (somewhat of a compromise) and Shorter's shorter intervals.

I won't be buying Shorter's new book, he said there's nothing really new in it anyway (which I'm sure his publisher loves, if he's saying that at Expos across the country). However, I definately will check it out at Books-A-Million, because he said it had lots of pictures in it, mostly of his girlfriend in running shorts, who was standing in the back of the Expo in skintight jeans and spiked heels, a mid-30ish dropdead strawberry-blond with a gold medal stack.

Thirty-three years after Olympic glory, it's still good to be Frank Shorter....

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