This is offered in the same spirit as the recent info on Cruz's coach De Oliveira. (BTW, if I was a HS/college middle-distance coach in the US, I would make every effort to go the next time De Oliveira gives a clinic on 800m training. I was shocked to hear that only 10 bothered to show up in Boston recently... although some did say they were not aware it was on, and would have gone had they known).
Not too much is generally known of Viren's training (aside from "reindeer milk"). However there was once a 200-page study on the training of Finland's long distance runners (1968-1980) written by a guy called Lippo Juvala. Juvala's study looked at the training volumes and individual typical training weeks during the different yearly training periods at the start of specific training and at the time of peak performance of each athlete.
The period covered by Juvala's study represented a fruitful phase of Finnish distance running. During these 12 years the Finns collected 5 Olympic gold, one silver and two bronze medals. Three athletes set five new world records in addition to four European Championship victories and a world cross-country title.
A common question on this board is, why can today's US runner not even repeat what the top guys did in the 1980s?
Juvala considers that the success of the Finns from 1968-80 was based on.
- The emergence of many talented runners
- general enthusiasm and motivation
- good coaches
- 7-8 years of specific training following excellent many-sided physical preparation
- suitable training volume during the years of peak performances (long distance runners: 8,000-10,000 km per year)
- appropriate share of aerobic training (81-83% of total volume)
Yet this training volume was not shared by all elites. Four-time Olympic champion Lasse Viren, with 7348km had a smaller total annual mileage than the others. His share of aerobic training (76.5%) was also lower. It is interesting here to note that Viren raised his mileage to 8,130km during 1973-74. This resulted in injuries and only a third place in the European Championship 5,000m. In contrast, his total volume prior to winning two golds at the Montreal Olympics was only 6,486 km (approx: 77 mpw)
The following really should be in chart form, but I cannot post one. So here is the raw data.
Lasse Viren: 1968-69. Start of specialized training (20 yrs) ? 1500m 3.52: 5,000m 13.55
Total annual volume: ?2,927km (as follows)
Total annual training sessions ? 284 (see in brackets)
Total races in year ? 20 (see in brackets)
Aerobic share of total volume ? 95.1% (see in brackets)
Oct 68: (78k in 10 training sessions ? 100% aer) Nov (80k in 10 sessions ? 100% aer) Dec (265k in 25 ? 100% aer) Jan 69 (262k in 25 ? 95% aer) Feb (290k in 28 ? 95% aer) Mar (354k in 31 ? 95% aer) Apr (437k in 40 ? 92% aer) May (359k in 32 ? 92% aer + 3 races) Jun (206k in 18 ? 92% aer + 5 races) Jul (243k in 25 ? 90% aer + 6 races) Aug (210k in 20 ? 90% aer + 6 races) Sep (183k in 20 ? 100% aer)
Lasse Viren: 1971-72. Munich Olympics ? gold medals in 5,000m and 10,000m
Total annual volume: ?7,348km (as follows)
Total annual training sessions ? 772 (see in brackets)
Total races in year ? 44 (see in brackets)
Aerobic share of total volume ? 76.5% (see in brackets)
Oct 71: (392k in 60 training sessions ? 71.9% aer) Nov (532k in 62 sessions ? 80.7% aer + 2 races) Dec (739k in 70 ? 74% aer) Jan 72 (636k in 82 ? 69.1% aer + 3 races) Feb (844k in 76 ? 78.2% aer + 2 races) Mar (824k in 66 ? 69.2% aer) Apr (630k in 64 ? 76.4% aer + 2 races) May (589k in 62 ? 75% aer + 4 races) Jun (489k in 55 ? 83% aer + 7 races) Jul (558k in 62 ? 79.9% aer + 7 races) Aug (676k in 61 ? 75.3% aer + 8 races) Sep (439k in 52 ? 85.9% aer + 9 races)
Apart from Viren, other Finnish runners believed in large mileage. Moscow Games 10,000m silver and 5,000m bronze medallist Kaarlo Maanika ran 12,004 km per annum (92.8% aer). 1973 world cross country champion Pekka Paivarinta ran 10,136k (81.2% aer) and 1971 European 10,000m champion Juha Vaatainen covered 10,800k but more intensely (only 69.2% aerobic)
Again, maybe others will have info to contribute.