Wishful Thinking understood what I was trying to say. I was just asking a question. I definitely wasn’t implying that I had run to my FULL potential -- I’m nowhere near smart enough to know how to induce such a result (my modest knowledge of aerobic/anaerobic systems is one of many things that would tip you off to that).
However, I do know a couple little things:
1. I worked very hard in high school and my first couple years of college. I also have reason to believe I had strong coaching. As a high schooler, I competed at a National level. At Northeastern U, both Nedeau and Schlapak flourished under the same program in which I was enrolled. This implies that I probably ran closer to my potential than not.
2. If you believe age-graded calculators, last summer’s 1:56.2 equates to a 1:49.8 lifetime PR. Yet, I only ran 1:52.3. So, even though I was never a great runner, we can still infer that something enabled me to run faster at 40 than I theoretically should have.
Of course, I’d much prefer to possess a comprehensive scientific study on the best way to train for an 800/1500. But if that existed, every question about middle-distance training would simply provide a link to that source. I can only conclude that the world’s best runners/coaches keep their secrets tight to the vest.
3. I have detailed logs and have analyzed them repeatedly with a fine-toothed comb (I’m an OCD stock analyst by trade). I can’t call anything I did scientifically significant, but there were plenty of things that stood out. When replicated, they elicited a similar result in many of my training partners. If anyone cares, great. If not, that’s fine too :^)
For 2 ½ years, I practiced every single day. Every night I spent hours reading books, message boards, and physiological studies. I also studied up on legends like Lydiard/Snell and Coe (along with less intuitive folks like Kiprotich, Bompa, Nurmi, and Zatopek). I even read Tim Noakes 900-page Lore of Running cover to cover.
All I wanted was the ideal training program to run as close to respectable as possible. I still do. Point me in the right direction and you’ll have my eternal thanks -- I’ll never have to experiment on myself again! So far, I haven’t had any luck. Everyone seems to have different opinions on what works and what doesn’t.
If I can offer any shred of value, it’s the following:
1. My performances only dipped markedly below 2:00 when I made strength / speed / explosiveness the primary objective in my training. Everything else had to fit into my schedule as best as it could.
2. Focusing on s/s/e every other day made it virtually impossible to run on the roads -- I just couldn’t recover fast enough. Thus, I turned to things like biking and elliptical machines for endurance.
I viewed the elliptical as a poor man’s Alter-G, which wasn’t produced until the Nike Oregon Project received a prototype in 2006. I wonder how Lydiard’s philosophy would have differed if he had access to that technology. Would Snell have run 100% of his 100 weekly base-training miles on the road if Alter-Gs were around back then?
FWIW, my lifetime 10K PR (31:08, decent for a half-miler) came during a summer when most of my “mileage” was done on a bike.
3. S/E every other day + non-impact aerobic work on recovery days led to the most swift / dramatic improvements for me…and more importantly, my fastest times. There were many other discussable factors involved, but this is what it came down to on a simplistic level.
If none of this is of value to you, I won’t be surprised -- there are a lot smarter people on these boards than I am. That being said, many people have made the same changes I did and experienced similarly sharp performance improvements. Thus, no matter how little I might have learned, there are at least some people benefiting from it.
To me, that’s plenty. I don’t know many runners who wouldn’t like to earn a greater reward for their hard work.
So, if anyone has any more questions, ask away…and if anyone has insight I can use, I’m happy to hear it.