Where Your Dreams Become Reality
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Subject: RE: Eddie Hellebuyck "'Yeah,' he says, 'I did it.'"
Jon Brown was your classic marathon, road distance running specialist - and his 10,000 time (27.18) is remarkable because it is far better than his 5000 best (13.19?) which is equivalent to 27.38. But Jon scored max points on running economy and getting ready for big races. He is highly intelligent in the way he prepared for races.
He even showed great form in Euro type cross country races, where he could exploit his rhythm and form. You are right that altitude helped him, and he continued right up to Athens, when using Whistler, the ski place, in British Columbia, as a base.
Altitude helps, but I think there are Kenyans and Ethiopians who could still run well without altitude. It certainly gives them a psychological advantage as well, and that factor is not negligible.
How about Tadesse from Eritrea? Their capital is located at a modest altitude (just above 1000m) and yet he is at the very top. And he does most of his training in Madrid situated around 800m above sea level.
Altitude really only 'kicks in' at 1600m and higher, so, technically, Tadesse is not altitude trained, which is interesting. Altitude helps, but it is not the only factor for success.
Have things changed from 30 - 40 years ago? Both Ron Hill and Tim Johnstone thought that altitude was a double edged sword, and for Hill it turned out bad in his preparation for Munich (72) when he was all set to win, but had to settle for 6th, blaming altitude for his contra performance. Lismont (Belgium) the double Olympic marathon medallist, was another who did not use altitude much or at all in his major preparations. Lismont also showed good form in world cross, and even dipped under 28 for 10,000 track, without altitude in the 70s and early 80s. His longevity was extraordinary. There is also a theory that too much intense training at altitude is bad for health.
Ghost in Saudi, www.kfupm.edu.sa
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