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A Good Lesson for Endurance Athletes

Written on November 8, 2007 at 11:25 am, by Eric Cressey

I’ve spoken on many occasions about how you need to get fit to run, not run to get fit. This is applicable not only to staying healthy as an endurance athlete, but also to performing at a high level. You don’t have to look any further than the results of this past weekend’s U.S. Olympic Trials in the marathon.

For those that missed it, Ryan Hall not only broke the Olympic Trials record with a 2:09:02 finish, but also bested his nearest competitor by over two minutes. This adds to a celebrated list of accomplishments for the former Stanford standout; this list includes the American marathon debut record and American record in the half-marathon (59:43).

The most impressive part?

Hall started as a miler – and didn’t even do his first marathon until April of 2007. Everything else was 1500m, 1,600m, 4,000m, and 5,000m – nothing that involved running for more than an hour.

So, the next time you’re told that the secret to “breaking” into the running world is to simply up your mileage, think of Ryan Hall…running fast.

One Response to “A Good Lesson for Endurance Athletes”

  1. Ken Says:

    Ryan Hall was running 80-100 mile weeks in high school and university. He was and is over 100 miles a week for his marathon training. He did quite high mileage when he was a middle distance runner. The best distance runners in the world do high mileage (90-140/week), sure there is a small percentage (very small) that run less mileage. Arthur Lydiard developed this many years ago and to this day mileage is the backbone of any elite distance runner. Obviously your average hobby jogger should not be pounding 100 mile weeks ever in their life but they need to keep increasing their weekly/yearly volume to stimulate improvement. I am a big believer in strength training for the distance runner for all abilities, your website and books/dvd’s are a wealth of knowledge in that area. For the distance runner volume (easy runs, threshold, race pace and speed) is the primary work and strength training although necessary is secondary. I do believe that strength training will help the distance runner get to their optimal level but do not believe in reducing weekly volume of running and adding strength work is the way to go. Increasing weekly running volume gradually over time and added strength work is the key. Training is about adding not taking away.

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