Where Your Dreams Become Reality
"The US Endurance Model"
May 19, 2009 - We received an email this morning from Jim Harvey, the coach of former Providence star and Irish great Mark Carroll since 1996. Under Harvey's tutelage Carroll has set pbs of 3:34, 13:03, and 2:10.
Harvey informed us that he had written an article for Britain's Athletics Weekly encouraging British coaches to have their athletes seek scholarships in the US system. We read the article and found it to be informative and we wrote Athletics Weekly and got their permission to share the article with you.
Athletics Weekly is an amazing publication - sort of like Track and Field News - but it comes out weekly. Subscriptions are available in the US. Obviously, shipping it overseas makes it expensive. The cost is UK£ 187.20 or approximately $290.22 to subscribe in the US. An electronic subscription is therefore probably your best bet. It costs UK£ 76.38 or approximately $118.41 for the digital edition. For more info,see their website and click on "digital editions." You can even try a free digital edition.
Harvey's article entitled, "The US endurance model", is full of useful info. He says the sad current state of Bristih distance running is the result of "too great an emphasis on hard interval training and decried the merits of high mileage."
He also is a big proponent of the #1 training advice of LetsRun.com - get a big base.
"The African distance runners arenít better than their counterparts in the West because they have better basic or acquired speed or because they do more speed work. They are better because of the huge aerobic base they have acquired that allows them to maintain a sustained pace that is alien to Western athletes."
Then there is the line that will make US college coaches very happy, "UK coaches should take their blinkers off, get their heads out of the sand and encourage the best endurance athletes to seek scholarships at select schools in the US."
Harvey is clearly an advocate for a big base (that's why we reprinted the article, if he was advocating low mileage and intervals, we wouldn't put it up). He gives very succinct training advice that would probably accomplish more than 95% of what most people are doing.
"As a general outline for the kind of work to be done in the base conditioning period, I would suggest the following:
A maximum of two workouts per week with each workout containing 10km or more of work at or near current 10km racing pace for reps of 800m and above (reps less than 800m to be based on current 5km pace). If more than two workouts are attempted they will probably contain too little volume or not allow sufficient time for recovery. Every third or fourth session should be a tempo run of between eight and 12 miles using a heart rate monitor.
Total mileage should be 95 to 120 miles per week, including a long run of 18 to 22 miles and a medium-long run of 13 to 15 miles, most of it run at a very easy recovery pace. It is very important that the bulk of the mileage covered is used for recovery. This way very little falls in the grey area that gives little or no development but leaves the athlete too fatigued to consistently perform the required workouts."
Read the full article here. Many thanks to Jim Harvey and Athletics Weekly for sharing it with us.
Jim Harvey is from England but has lived in Rhode Island since 1988.
In addition to coaching Mark Carroll, he also coached Carroll's wife Amy Rudolph from 1999 through 2001.
He can be reached at: