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Running Research News And Events
April 23, 2006
Six Days, Three Different Races, Three Prs For Rrn's DanVery recently, one of the runners being coached by Owen Anderson, Ph. D. (the editor of Running Research News), enjoyed a very special week. Dan, an experienced New-England Master's runner (pictured at left), competed in three different races in six days - and PRed in each one!
Dan began his indoor-track season on Saturday, December 31 by clocking 4:54.28 for the mile on the Boston-University oval. Just six days later at Dartmouth, Dan doubled in the 1500 and 3K, scorching the first event in 4:33.38 and returning - one hour later - to cruise through 3K in just 10:08.77.
Dan's mile performance was his Master's PR, and his 1500 and 3-K performances were lifetime PRs. Not bad for a 46-year-old runner! Not bad, also, for a harrier who seldom runs more than 32 miles in a week and who usually takes two full, weekly rest days.
As is the case with all of the runners coached by Owen, Dan's training focuses on high quality, with strong emphases on improving vVO2max, lactate-threshold speed, running economy at intense paces, and maximal running speed. There is also a very strong training bias toward specificity, specificity, and then more specificity.
During the week leading up to his outstanding mile, for example, Dan completed a workout consisting of 400s at 74 pace (almost the exact tempo for his mile PR). During the five days between his mile performance and the 1500-3000 double, Dan finished two workouts in which he ran relentlessly at 73 to 73.5 pace. The first session, carried out two days after the mile competition, featured a first set of 4 X 400 in 73.5 each, with 40-second jog recoveries after the first three 400s and a three-minute recovery prior to the second set, which included 3 X 400 in 73.5, with 40-second jog recoveries and a one-mile cool-down.
Dan followed this up two days later (and two days before the 1500/3000 double) with an explosive warm-up and then 3 X 400 in 73 each (planned pace for the 1500), with 73 recoveries after the first two intervals and a one-mile cool-down after the third. On his second race day, Dan was completely ready to run with confidence and great economy in the 1500 at 73 tempo. He then used his high fitness (spiked vVO2max and lofty lactate threshold) to hang very tough in the subsequent 3000.
Dan loves to run the 1500 and mile. As he put it, "The first quarter of the mile feels so incredibly easy as I soar along. Real work begins in the second lap, and I have to dig even deeper in the third. The fourth lap, of course, is no problem, as I always trust that I can run with maximal effort for at least 70 seconds." He added, laughing, "Fortunately, the pain is over very quickly in the 1500 and mile."
Dan also likes to run the marathon, an attraction which some might consider quixotic for a middle-distance competitor. However, the coupling of the mile and marathon is actually a perfect match for Dan, who is a physician. In the marathon, he can progress as he does in his life's calling, working moderately and steadily, parceling out energy in conservative doses, making careful decisions about pace and sports-drink intake, and constantly monitoring his condition to ensure that nothing is out of equilibrium. In the mile, on the other hand, Dan can use his body like a sword, without reservations or tight controls, and that is an exciting contrast to his marathon conservatism. Fortunately for Dan, his mile training is great for his marathoning. His intense mile work makes it certain that his max running speed, lactate-threshold velocity, and vVO2max will all be as high as possible, and those are great predictors of marathon success (much-better predictors, in fact, than a log book which has recorded lots of long, moderately paced runs).
To what does Dan attribute his success? "The keys have been consistency with training, remaining injury-free, and finding the kind of training which really works for me. Historically, I have been a very injury-prone runner, and I found myself becoming even-more susceptible to injury as a Master's runner. However, working with Owen has allowed me to build up a solid base of injury-free training and reach my performance goals with considerably less time investment than before."
Dan adds, "With Owen and the training techniques outlined in Running Research News, I always benefit from an integrated, consistent, and cutting-edge approach to training. Other running books and publications may provide good training methods, but the information is always incomplete, and many sources of training information are hodge-podges of conflicting techniques and viewpoints. In contrast, when I follow an Owen-RRN training program I am confident that I am doing everything I can to maximize my potential."
Dan also says, "Despite having many previous years of painstaking training under my belt, starting on day one with Owen I have experienced a continuous transformation as a runner. You can bet that I am counting on more PRs!"
At RRN, we expect nothing less from Dan. He is the kind of individual who is not afraid to empty his cup completely on the track; Dan pours his huge heart into everything he does. As a result, his patients love him - and his Master's competitors are beginning to fear him.