I was there for that workout, among all others....I was injured when Jerry showed up, so I shadowed and helped and got a lot of the backstories and rationale for each of the sessions. Jerry was certainly "old school" but with sound physiological fundamentals. But, his psychological coaching was second to none. He got into your head…and made you believe. If he told you laying in traffic would make your faster, you wouldn’t question it. More coaches need to learn this….
It is important to put this workout (named, "200 Pride" – as it was your pride at stake to outlast your teammates) into the right context. It was NOT done several times per year (which would be insane), but once per year at the end of cross-country season and before Christmas break (hence the story about Max King flopping onto the tables, as the indoor track was set-up with tables for exams). After this workout, all athletes had a serious down/recovery phase during exams and Christmas break. Athletes were instructed NOT to wear spikes, but normal running shoes or flats. To my knowledge no athlete got injured per se from this workout, except massive blisters (running that many 200’s on an indoor track can be hell on the feet). In fact, I remember at the end, when Max pulled off his running flats his entire foot was bloody, and it was starting to soak through his shoe…..another story towards the legend of Max.
Someone else mentioned going to the golf course or arboretum and Jerry apparently making up the workout on the fly. This is not actually true, but would've seemed like the case. He would have 4 or 5 groups and watches going simultaneously. What he understood was that there is a lot of ways to skin a cat, and he had pre-determined quality minutes for each group in his mind, and certain zones of rest. So the A group might target 50min of quality in 3 to 6min intervals over 90min session, while C group (800m runners ) might have been 20min of quality in 1 to 3min pieces over 1 hour of running. He then blended the workout into the terrain of the environment….really like a conductor of an orchestra capturing the art of coaching over the science. (Trust me, 90min would go by so quickly, and it was so much more fun to work hard in workouts like this, than doing the standard mile repeats on the golf course every week etc., which he also would do, but periodically).
Why did Jerry not succeed at Cornell? I think it was probably more an issue of recruiting. He was called “Scary Jerry” for a reason ;)….and to some young high-schooler he probably looked a 1000 years old, and a bit crazy. (picture “Blue” from the movie Old School: http://24.media.tumblr.com/2ckjK1WHpkrf2a7sRhPkycBJo1_400.jpg ). He probably just did not resonate that well with kids he was trying to recruit….
Anyways, some perspective from someone who was there….