Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Training Advice from Jack Daniels

1. Do the least training you can to get the best results you can. One of Jack's favorite lines: "If I could get you to a 5-minute mile with 30 miles a week, or with 60 miles a week, which would you choose? (And if you choose 60, c'mon over to my house and I'll give you 20 hours of yard work at $5/hour instead of five hours at $20.)"

2. Know the purpose of every run. Long runs are mostly meant to be slow, so run them at a comfortably slow pace, usually about 65 to 70 percent of your max heart rate. For no more than 2.5 hours. Occasionally do 4 to 10 miles of your long run at marathon pace.

3. Run your tempo runs for 20 to 30 minutes. If you run them much longer than that, it's not a tempo run, it's a race.

4. Learn your seasonal limits. Don't try to do more than you can in one season.

5. Consider an alternative to the "10 percent rule." That's the rule that says you should increase total mileage by no more than 10% from one week to the next. Instead, Daniels says, let your body adapt for several weeks. Hold your training steady for three or four weeks, and then increase your mileage by the number of days you're running per week (e.g., four days = four miles).

6. Get your stride frequency up to 180 strides a minute to improve your mechanics and efficiency, and maybe decrease injuries. Pretend you are running on eggs that you don't want to crack.

7. Follow a hard/easy/easy workout ratio. Long runs count as hard days. But sometimes, when your schedule dictates it, you can run hard/hard (interval day, tempo run day) because your delayed onset muscle soreness isn't going to peak until day three in this sequence.

8. Use a run-walk routine for your long runs if you're not fit enough for all running, or don't want a lot of soreness. [Two years ago, Daniels, then 75, was surprised to learn that one of his daughters was going to run the Dublin Marathon. He decided to do a 26.2-mile run in Flagstaff, Arizona, on the same day. His longest run in the previous five years was three miles, but he says he easily completed the 26.2 in 6:15 and wasn't the least bit sore the next day. His routine: Run 100 strides, walk 50. "It kept me occupied to fight off the boredom," he half-joked. To Daniels, the run-walk approach has no moral or other components. It's simply the smartest way to cover long distances if you're not in racing shape. He believes in smart running ... and walking.

: Daniels has been around for decades and is a knowledgeable, well-respected distance coach. He offers online training advice at The Run SMART Project.

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