Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Who Needs Tracks?

Lasse Viren, surely everyone knows who he is,right? For those who don't, he won gold in the 5,000 and 10,000 meter races at the 1972 and 1976 Olympics. Now take a moment and consider the magnitude of that accomplishment. It would not be an exaggeration to say what Viren did will probably never be repeated.How he trained was heavily influenced by Arthur Lydiard. Obviously Viren knew how to train because he was a master at being able to peak for the big races. That ability,as Arthur always said,was the true indicator of whether a person knew how to train. Lasse,like Herb Elliott(see July entry, Why I Believe in Fartlek), is proof that excellence can be achieved without hammering out intervals on the track. Kenny Moore wrote the following in an article he did on Viren:"Most of his speed work is not done on the track but on the forest trails or soft roads,and in races. He only went on the track three times all that summer (before the '72 Munich Olympics)." Some would say that this speedwork is what they call fartlek. For those who are uncertain as to what that is,at the end of this post I have a link to a site that gives a fairly good description. So,if you haven't already,consider moving your intervals and speedwork to more natural surroundings. It will make things alot more interesting and minimize your chances for injury. As an aside, Viren did one of the most surreal and unique running videos I have ever seen, it's entitled, Running is Your Life. I would highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for something other than the slick sports bios that seem to be the norm these days. Here's the fartlek link:http://www.coolrunning.com.au/expert/1997c002.shtml

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