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.
Hadd: I am young finnish runner and that reindeer milk-storie is just a joke, Lasse told that often just by joking!
He hadn´t anything secret but reporters asked and asked
and he gave them that "secret"... He was a talented guy with good head and coach. Viren´s coach, Haikkola, has written a new book about Lasse´s training and it would be come out this month, in finnish language.
Hadd, shame on you. You've fallen into the same trap many novices do - that is, you add the total mileage for the year divide by 52, come up with a number and declare "ah ha! see low mileage". Learn how to read training logs. Average miles per year is a meaningless stat. It's not uncommon for distance runners to drop their mileage for extended periods. Average miles during base building means something. It's clear that viren built a firm foundation with the two month stretch where he averaged 130 miles per week. Hardly in line with your contention that "yet this training volume was not shared by all elites (meaning Viren)" Viren put down the training volume, for sure.
Posting his logs from his first year of running - where he hardly ran at all during the winter - is not illuminating at all.
Yeah thats a good point. Also, could Viren have supplemented his training during those light periods with nordic skiing, therefore maintaining something of an aerobic base? From everything I've read, he did a good deal as a youngster (probably a helpful ingredient in his development), but I haven't read anything mentioning him doing it as an adult. Just a thought.
he blood doped
Don't fall in the trap like everyone else on this website which is "if I can't do that, that person must be doping." There is no evidence that Viren ever doped. Also, medical testing has proven that blood doping have little if any effect. Many scientists actually think it is determential to running.
Malmo is correct. Lydiard's runners such as Maurry Halberg and Snell averaged 70 mpw over the year. In the base period he averaged 100 miles per week.
Also note that Viren's coach was trained by Lydiard in the late 60s.
I know the "reindeer milk" was a joke. I thought everyone knew that. Maybe I should've put a little "smiley" at the end just so as you'd know that I knew. I look forward to Haikkola's book (hopefully it'll be translated into some European language other than Finnish).
Don't be so quick to criticise now. I gave two examples of Viren's training.
His early years as a 20-year old, when he was "just" a 13.55 runner and totalled 2927km for the 12 months. This was low mileage for him, true. But he still ran 13.55, which many who currently train year round fail to achieve. An example perhaps that, while high(er) mileage made him an Olympic champion, he was still capable of useful times as a young man off low-volume training.
But I also gave his Olympic gold year of 1972. Hardly his "first year of running". When he ran 7,348km for the year. This was high mileage (for him). When he went higher (in 1973-75, to 8,130km) he got injured. And he even went lower (6,486km) before his repeat victories in Montreal.
Neither am I in the stat business. I am very aware that annual mileage divided by 52 gives no picture at all of what's been going on.
Therefore I went to the trouble of showing Viren's mileage per month so everyone could see that there were highs (of 844km/month) and lows (of 392km/month) in the same year (and I would have expected you, at least, to realise/understand why I did so).
This explanation of the annual pattern of mileage will maybe let young runners see that it is not high mileage all the time (which can lead to injury). Just high mileage at the right time.
The breakdown per month also, hopefully, let's people see how he racked up the mileage (to peaks in Feb/Mar) for his peak performances which were not expected to come till July/Aug. Which (I had hoped) would offer an example (from an Olympic champion) of how to build a yearly program.
Sorry if it did not suit your taste, malmo, but I still believe there much that is interesting in my first post.
Re: Malmo's response to the original post. I respect the accomplishments of Malmo, Hodge et al., and I acknowledge the benefits of high mileage. But does anyone else get the feeling there is simply no evidence of success by mid-range mileage runners they won't try to qualify somehow? I am getting a bit skeptical of the notion that if we just counted Coe's/Krummenaker's/Lagat's/Bannister's/Cruz's mileage walking to and from brushing their teeth and going to the loo, then we would prove they were triple-digit mileage guys. Now evidence of Viren's more reasonable mileage in his monstrously successful years is dismissed. I think the success of anaerobic-focused training, especially for middle distance guys, deserves more serious consideration than that.
Don't be overly sensitive Hadd. I see by your response that you understand what's really behind the numbers, only that one leading sentence suggested otherwise. It's true that some runners see "JK and 150 mile weeks" and assume it means 150 miles every week. It does not. Others read the published account of Steve Jones' last six weeks before his world record in the marathon and use that example "Jones trained only 80 miles a week" for the marathon, and by extension, "therefore so can I". Facts are that Jones trained, by his own account, one hundred miles per week - no more no less. There is a difference between training or base weeks and racing or travel weeks. All runners should know this. Many novices can be excused for not knowing the difference.
When determining the "correct mileage" for training many runners will choose the number that reinforces their preconceived beliefs and then cite examples of runners who have been very successful with similar training. I say the best way to determine proper training mileages is to mimic the average schedules of the best runners and then to work outwards from there to determine your own personal sweet spot. With almost one hundred percent certainty I believe this is the correct approach. One size has never fit all. Just don't count on being one the outliers on the probability curve. Statistically, you are most likely not the anomaly. You are not Cruz and you are not Krumm. If you were, you would have shown it already. What they do is not the starting point. Likewise, you are not Gerry Lindgren. To use Lindgren's training as a starting point is equally foolish.
It seems axiomic to me that if you, the athlete, are not getting the job done then you should probably adjust your plan to some degree. Maybe big adjustments are in order. Makes any sense to you? On the contrary, what I've seen over the years, is hundreds of stubborn runners, who have it all figured out and are unwilling to adjust, and as a result they never improve. It's not a coincidence.
Dontnomuch, I think you didn't understand what I said. I said that taking a runners yearly total and dividing it by 52 does not give a true reading what is going on. Virens training for the 5 and 10 seems normal to me and I am certainly not dismissing it by any means. The fact that gets overlooked is that Viren DID put in the basework.
Maybe there's another thing that you young bucks should take note of: Virin's racing schedule - over 40 races in a year. Today's American runners seem to race a lot less than today's Kenyans or yesterday's Americans. I'm not sure what the theory is behind it I believe the best way to prepare to race is to race.
The training before his WR first marathon (2:08:05) -- of 70 to 100 miles per week -- was very typical and, if anything, was higher in mileage than what he usually did. He had run 20 miles only once in his life before that marathon. A personal quote after his 2:07:13 (2:05:00 pace at 20 miles) the next year is that he was running LESS mileage than he had the year before.
Regarding Lasse Viren, I have his book, "Lasse Viren, Olympic Champion" (1978), by Antero Raevuori and Rolf Haikkola, Viren's Coach, first published in Finland with the title Kullatut Piikkarit (1977).
In 1970 he averaged 44 miles a week, 64 in 1971, and 87 in 1972. However, he ran his mileage in blocks during certain periods and did not run the same distance each week.
During a visit to Bogota, Columbia in early 1976 he ran 87, 124, and 140 miles in the three weeks. Later at Thompson Falls, Kenya he ran 112, 130, and 155 miles for the three weeks.
Once the mileage phase was ended, then he focused on very hard lung searing repetions consisting mostly of 50, 100, and 200 meters and mileage was lower.
Two weeks in June/July, 1976, consisting of a 10000m in 27:42.95 and the following week races of 1500, 5000, and 1500m, with totals of 59 and 61 miles for the weeks.
Bullshit my ass. I think you'd better check with Jones. I did.
Of interest is the page in Mike Sandrock's "Running with The Legends" detailing a week of Viren's training. It is the only written reference I've seen for his training. For those that haven't seen it, it's a "typical week leading up to the Olympics" (author's words). Total volume: 251K, or roughly 155 miles; 2-a-days all 7 days, with 3 workouts on Monday, Tuesday, and Friday. A week of base training, I'm sure, but hardly low mileage. What caught my eye was the lack of any one single long run (the longest shown was 25K) and the unusually low heart rates listed on some of the road runs (12k with an 84 HR, 15 k fartlek with a 90 HR, Etc.). Some workouts (8x600 hills, 2x10x200) are listed at 172 and 180HRs. Obviously, on his easy runs (most of which seem to come out around 7:00 pace), he ran easy, as you would expect from someone running 150 a week. It seems remarkable to me that even jogging (for him) at 7:00 pace, and with his obviously low resting HR, he could still keep his HR THAT low on a run. A remarkable talent.
Yes that is typical of the blocks in the base phase.
I noticed that in Sandrock's book too. In another article it was mentioned they had someone take Viren's pulse at the end of his 200m repeats, meaning he didn't have a HR monitor. They just took it by hand. Not very accurate, and depending on the effort his pulse likely came down very quickly.
Regarding Jones, he was running less than 70 to 100 miles a week to run 2:07:13, and 2:05:00 pace to 20 miles.
He may well have run 100 mile weeks consistently afterwards or at other times, but that higher mileage didn't give him the same quality results.
Thanks very much for the fascinating data on Viren's training. I've been hoping to find some specifics on his training for a while. Thinking back to that Munich 5,000, he just seemed so much stronger aerobically than Pre (and everyone else). It's made me wonder whether Pre might have similarly benefitted from some periods of high-mileage, low intensity training, instead of training for the cross-country and indoor track races he always seemed to be running.
True, Viren obviously had an innate gift for metabolizing O2, as evidenced by his 13:55 at age 20 on moderate mileage (a time that seems to me far superior to his 3:52 1500 at that age). But so did Pre -- I believe ran around the same time (13:55) in the summer after his senior year of high school.
From LORE OF RUNNING Tim Noakes & RUNNING with the LEGENDS Sandrock:
In his first complete marathon, Jones ran 2:08:05. In the 8 weeks leading up to the marathon Jones covered the following weekly distances: 160,134,114,114,160,152,154, and 92km, respectively.
Typical training week:
24-32km @ 3:45/km a.m.
19km @ 3:07/km p.m.
12-16km @ 3:07/km a.m.
11km including 4x5min. hard
XC or Track race p.m.
Hills 10 reps. a.m.
track sesion or race p.m.(16x1min. or 10x2min. or 16-24x45 secs.)
Jones weekly AVERAGE 80-90 miles per week.
Jones training was not radically different from any other marathon runner in his class. (not many there at the time) Deek for example AVERAGED 208km/week. The higher mileage as compared to Jones was due to his long runs, some of which were double what Jones would do.
Many more similarities than differences.
So, Hodgie, you just repeated what I already said.
Converting the miles to km doesn't make it any farther.
There's a major difference between Jones running 70 to 100 miles a week and Castella running 130 to 150.
Plus Jones ran his miles very quickly.
I don't view the mileage or intensity of their training as very different. Not trying to tell anyone else how to view it. Just presenting a bit of info. from Noake's book. Draw your own conclusion.
Profile of Deek in LORE OF RUNNING:
Jones listed as 135-180k/wk.
Their track sessions were similar:
Deek: 12x200m Tue. & 8x400m 63-64 secs. 45 secs rec. on Thur.
The pace of their runs was not all that different in my view. Both ran Avg. close to 6:00 pace per mile.
Minor Difference was the long ones.
Deek 29k hilly on Wed. 1:50:00
Sun. 33-36k 2:15-2:40.a.m. 8k 31:00 p.m.
Jones long run. Sun. 24-32k a.m. 19k @ 3:07/k p.m.
They both ran doubles daily.
Noakes got his info from an article in the U.S. running magazine, "The Runner". I have the article, which is much more in detail, but would have to find the original to find the reference. Anyway, Noakes doesn't do a very good job of identifying the references in his book.
The eight weeks prior to Jones' 2:08:05 WR, according to the conversion from Noakes back to miles: 100/84/72/72/100/95/96/57.
The eight weeks prior to Jones' 2:08:05 WR, according to the original article: "my training mileages for the five weeks leading up to October 1 were: 100/84/71/71 and 100. Here are the final three weeks of preparation before the WR marathon, with training dairy comments:"
The mileage from both references is the same, and they are both 70 to 100 miles a week.
Some other quotes from Jones from the article, "I seem to have the ability to go out and run hard in every session".
"I tend to treat a training session the same way meentally as a race and can put 100 percent effort into it."
"On Monday I take two steady runs of, say, ten and twelve miles, or eight and twelve miles, at just over five minute pace. I just go out the door and right into it, and there is no easy running at all during the week, no plodding or jogging."
Now some quotes from Jones from "The Runner", January 86, p28-35, just prior to his running away from the field in 2:07:13 (2:05:01 pace [1:35:22] at 20 miles), which also includes his and Joan Benoit's splits for the race.
"If anything, I think I'm probably a little fitter this year"
De Castella, after the race, "I was pretty surprised he (Jones) was able to keep going. In the clinic yesterday Steve was telling everybody how he hadn't been doing as much mileage this year, hadn't been doing his long runs, and I thought, 'Oh, good, he'll really struggle over those last few miles'"
I have Noakes book, and like it, but consider Sandrock's "Running with the Legends" to be a better source of De Castella's training, since they both lived in Boulder and often ran together.
Some quotes: "For over ten years, Deek averaged 120 miles a week."
"Deek ran his off days at whatever pace he needed to recover. The regular 10 mile recovery was run in a quick 62 to 63 minutes, but at times he would slow down to a 7 minute mile pace."
"One of the keys to de Castella's training was that he often left workouts 'feeling like I could have done more'."
"Track workouts started with a 25 minute warm up at a relaxed pace, around 6:30 per mile."
"Runs were sometimes between a 6:00 and 6:20 pace but other days... they were easy enough that high school runners could keep up."
Compare with Rosa Mota, "Many of her runs were at 5:45 pace." Castalla remarked, only half jokingly, "We're going to have to bump her off because she is pushing the pace too hard."
More quotes about Jones from Sandrock's book:
Prior to his 2:08:05 WR, "Jones had run farther than 20 miles only once in his life".
"I remember the first time I (Sandrock) did a workout with Steve and Rob... and we did a hill workout. After the first one there was Steve, hunched over at the top of the hill, vomiting. I looked over at Rob and said, "Is he all right?" "Oh yeah, that's just Jonesy," Deek said. And after each hill, Steve was there vomiting. He just runs so hard."