Been listening to a few podcasts with Frank Shorter. It sounds like he pretty religiously ran 2 track workouts (3xmile @ 5k, and 400s at 60-62), often raced, and 20 miles “easy”, but might touch the slow end of marathon pace, just for a bit. He also ran tons of mileage.
It sounds like he ran a tempo maybe once per month. And no, it doesn’t sound like he just did this and called it something else, it sounds like he almost never touched 4:40-4:45 pace year round, unless racing.
Anyone else have success leaving out tempos, or have thoughts on if this is viable?
The idea of tempo runs really did not exist when Shorter was at his peak. You won't find diary entries from those years with many entries describing a tempo run. But you might have a ten mile run where you ran the first half in 34 and the second in 27 that would turn up in your diary just shows up as a 61 minute ten mile run with nothing indicating any kind of tempo.
What Frank's been saying recently about how slowly he did his distance runs is different from what we were hearing and reading from when he was in his prime. Those reports had him running faster, rarely slower than about 6:00, than he's now saying he did. So I wouldn't be surprised if there were some 35-25 ten mile runs. But maybe there weren't. But there were a lot of people in those days who didn't do tempos. Ron Hill did a lot of easy running with two days of timed reps, e.g 10 x 70 seconds or so, a 20, and a weekly race. It didn't go too badly.