Training Sensationalized — Todd Williams

One of my close friends sent me this article last week and wanted to talk about the training details in it…which is fun and exciting. I love reading articles discussing what the elites did…how they trained, the results that came from that training, etc.

But, I think that in most cases the training is sensationalized…and I think within the scope of an article, where they point out one or two components of a short training cycle we miss the forest for the tree.

What am I talking about?

In the article linked above, it talks about how Todd Williams never ran more than 11-12 miles. He didn’t have a standard long run…and maybe that’s what we are doing wrong in American training.

But there are a few things wrong with this idea.

The first is that it’s only a 10-week snapshot of what he did leading into this great performance. I don’t know that you need to go very long in the last 10-weeks of a training segment if you aren’t racing over 15km; especially since his weekly mileage was still very high….he was running 100+ miles per week…why would he need a mega-long run leading into a 15km, with that kind of mileage?

The next point is that it’s only taking into account the 10 weeks leading into this race. What did he do the 10 weeks prior to that? And the 10 weeks prior to that? A lot of times these articles focus on a very short period of time in a training segment…and we overlook what led the athlete there.

And finally…my last point is that simply what works for one, might not work for the other. If you know anything about Todd Williams you know that he was a tremendous talent and tough as nails. I can’t follow the 10 week segment that he did leading into the 15km record and equal his record. It just doesn’t work that way.

I’m not going to go into the taper question…or the fact that fast miles replaces long miles…the article is sensationalizing a great performance and only focusing on such a short window of time for a distance runner’s training…the last 10 weeks leading into a race…

Are these articles fun? Sure, but I am not sure you can learn a lot from them.


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