Hotlanta -- congrats on a fine Waitarua run. I had the pleasaure of meeting HRE and Nobby last April at Boston, and if you're in Boston this year I'm sure it's a swell party.
I've been a little banged up recovering from a posterior tibial shin splint (my first injury in a while, go figure), and at my age I heal a bit slow. Some observations/comments:
On calf muscles and such: I think the comment about Kenyans and skinny calves also comes up in the Chi Running book. The Chi folks focus on posture and running with core and thigh muscles, with a relaxed calf, and they assert the Kenyans run this way. I've been trying their method a bit because of my calf/shin injury. Not to divert to thread into a Chi discussion, but I think their insights on posture and balance have some validity. But if one is born with exceptionally strong leg muscles (Snell, Seko), I can't imagine one is penalized for using them.
The largest runners: point for Jack Bachelor who was something like 6'6". Walker, Clayton, van Damme also come to mind.
I indulged myself and bought Ron Daws book a bit ago (Self Made Olympian, used of course). For those unfamiliar, Daws asserts that he had fairly minimal talent, but squeezed onto the '68 Olympic Marathon team through Lydiard training methods and taking advantage of every preparation and racing tactic possible to outrun better runners at the trials. It's a terrific book, mainly because most of us can identify better with a guy who had more persistence than talent, no money, and had to learn how to run smart. It includes a very good description of Lydiard systems (. . . and helps put in perspective what it was likein the 60's when all this coaching information wasn't readily available). On the topic of shoes, Daws on shoes is a hoot and a revelation: he actually describes razor-blading and disassambling shoes to make them lighter; even tells you what kinds of glue to buy. He also puts in a plug for a particular JC Penney model that he says was cheaper and better than Adidas (now THAT's old school).
One last thought tying together tall runners, skinny calves, and old school: one of the central running questions I'd like to have answered someday is about Lasse Viren. How was it that Viren someone managed to run sub-4:30 pace (e.g. a 10k finals) and look like he was just walking out to get the paper. He hardly seems to exert any effort. And I'd especially like to know because Viren and I are almost the same size (I think I'm an inch taller, being over 40 I'm sure I'm a good bit heavier, sadly).
Thx for all the posts. Nobby, I think you have a couple books in you.
Hotlanta -- congrats on a fine Waitarua run. I had the pleasaure of meeting HRE and Nobby last April at Boston, and if you're in Boston this year I'm sure it's a swell party.
Most heavy and fast runner: Vladimir Kuts 13.35 and 28.30 weight is 72kg on a 1.72m high body, very muscular and strong runner built like a male gymnasist.
Trained alomost only intervals Zatopek style in the winter but also 1000m reps but then much faster in the summer/spring. I will guess lack of longrun will make a runner more heavy built both in fat and muscle
Oooh, I can feel it coming. I've got to fight it! It's the urge to start a thread called "van Aaken or Lydiard." Seems like a natural.
On this note, van Aaken made occasional references to a polish coach whose methods van Aaken saw as similar to his own. It's a long shot, but has anyone ever heard of a guy called Jan Mulak?
I shouldn't have even mentioned... It's interesting for HRE to mention Jan Mulak. The only place I saw this name is in van Aaken's book. Would be interesting to check out his training method...
This and the name Kuts got me curious and open up some old books. Yes, Kuts was definitely one of the stockiest "great" runners in history. But then again, I guess he used to box as well. His training, it seems, was an extension of Zatopek's. As Bill Baillie once told me that people thought, of Zatopek's training, "Why run 80 quarters in 80 seconds when you can run 20 of them in 65 seconds? That's so much more close to the actual race distance and speed..." Kuts' training seems to have reflected that philosophy. He did seem also to have done some 90~110 minutes fartlek type continuous varied paced running as well. Kuts improved Zatopek's record by about 20 seconds in both 5k and 10k. Dr. Aaken stated that "the improvement of the 5000m world record from 14:20 in 1936 to 13:13 in 1972 must be credited almost entirely to the increase in moderate-pace training mileage..." I'm sure some people will argue with that though.
HRE: can you share basic outline of Jan Mulak's training? I'd be curious...
I'd say Ron Clarke was one of the stockiest "great" runners in history. I don't know the exact measurement of his but he "looks" big! Or perhaps Henry Rono when he beat Salazar in 27:30 in Eugene in 1983 with his belly sticking out! Of course, Lydiard said "compare the nine-stone Halberg with the twelve-stone Snell as milers of equivalent ability..." So what the heck is "stones", Kim? Pounds and ounces are bad enough...! Why can't you people stick with the metoric system!?
I was in the beginning of my career and got to watch Kuts in Melbourne -- most impressive. Even ran a couple miles with Zatopek on the training track one day, but a real treat was being able to run a max test on Ron Clarke on the UCLA track one summer day in 68. Man, he sure could run, and was certainly no little guy. By the way, I was speaking at a runing camp with Lydiard one time and we had a chance to go for a run together. Interestingly, he offered some advice about uphill running that I often think of to this day. Always willing to help at any time, always teaching.
A stone is 14 pounds. All I can guess is that some Englishman had a bunch of 14 pound stones and used them to weigh things.
I did a web search for Jan Mulak and got one result. It was very brief and in Polish. All I know is what you do.
Good; because I was going to curse at you for being so damn knowledgeable! (did I do a good job trying to fit in the letsrun crowd or do I have to use more extreme vocabulary?)
I was going some reading about van Aaken. As HRE would know very well, he seemed to be into, along with walking breaks, running a lot by deviding it into small(er) segments--like 3 or 4 times a day; 10 to 20km each. I found it rather amusing because that's what Kenyans seem to be doing (at least during the training camps); whereas Lydiard was into long "continuous" runs. Of course, to him, you will gain the best capillarization benefit from long continous runs.
Interestingly, he [Lydiard] offered some advice about uphill running that I often think of to this day.
OK, Jack, I'll bite. What did Lydiard say?
Rich beat me to it !. Yes ! 14 lb to the stone. We used that system 30 plus years ago (Hence Arthur using it). Those of us who were bought up with it along with the metric system (used now)can think in both.
Apologies team have been away for a few days.
I'd been looking at some samples of Viren's training and he tended to do it more in the van Aaken model, more likely a 10k run and a 20-24k than 30k all at once, though he had one stretch in 1973 that shows three 30-40k runs in a week or so.
If you want to get into obscure coaches who emphasized endurance, how about Joe Lancaster, a British coach who advised Trevor Wright and Mike Freary?
Have the All Blacks played that Tri NAtions game with Oz yet?
"Stockiness" can be deceiving when compared to other runners. I always looked very broad-chested and thick-legged on my college team, but compared to anyone else on campus I was just plain puny. Film and photos of Arthur with his runners made him look like an ox, but he described himself as a very small man and he certainly was when I met him last year. I'd say the principal difference between his appearance and mine is I have straight hair.
I just got done watching a Bud Greenspan film clip on Snell & co, which showed a few moments of the Waiaturua run (or however the heck you Kiwis spell it). I was struck by the variety of surfaces and grades on that loop. Do you think that variety kept the run from being as stressful on the legs as a flat 22-miler all on pavement (or even all on any one type of surface)?
A part of Greenspan's footage of Snell running, I'm pretty sure, is some bushtrack and not necessarily Waitak--could be, because there IS a bushtrack around Waitak range. The actual Waiatarua 22-mile course, as Hotlanta had the first-hand experience a few weeks ago, mostly pavement. Correct me if I'm wrong, Kim, but I'm not 100% sure how it was in the 60s.
More than the surface, I believe the terrain--undulation--is what makes it so special. When my wife ran her first marathon (it was her second road race ever, by the way), she didn't know much about trainnig at all. I used to take her to either 12 or 15 mile course with lots of hills. She was worried that she wasn't running enough (mileage) but I assured her that, because of all the hills, 12 and 15 would be worth 15 and 18 miles. Any scientific proof? Nah! But hill helps you become fitter overall. HRE mentioned somehwhere about Jack Foster not quite running 100 miles a week but because of all the hills he ran, it was worth more than what it appeared. I remember Lydiard saying, "If you run lots of hills, (it may not necessarily make you faster but) it won't make you slower; put it this way (if you ever talk to him, you know this line)."
Thanks for sharing the site. Coach sent it to me but I couldn't read it--you know, his hand-writing and also I don't think he wrote it right! Have you read it yet? What did you think? You know how fast (or slow) I read...
I have not read the book yet, I hope to have a copy soon. I think his collaboration with Lehane will be the key to making this his best book yet.
I may still have a few cocktail napkins with Squires workouts etched on them, buried in my archives.
Yes, so do I. I think I also have his chicken scribble (who said WE write those?) written on a part of some sort of box. Coach Squires should be awarded by recycling organization...
Watching Boston marathon with him is a treat. You learn so much about what he sees in runners and some actions.
Yes ! . The waitakere's are littered with tracks. Really good ones. However, the tracks were not part of the original Waiatarua.
One of Bill Baillie's favourite long runs was to drive past the top of Waiatarua to where the Cutty Grass and Centenial tracks started and run along and down that to Piha beach, then return to the car. A real tough 2 hour run with at least a 1200ft climb in it.
Problem with the tracks (in the 1960's and 70's) is during winter they became very slippery (clay surface)so became almost unrunnable.
The last time I did the Cutty Grass/Centenial (1972 !!!!)track Bill ran in Adidas Interval Spikes as did quite a few of the others. I ran in normal "road shoes" and slipped and slid all over the place !!
The Waitakere ranges get twice the rainfall of Auckland and yet they are only 10 miles from town !.
I have not run up there in years so cannot comment on current conditions.
The photos in some of Arthur's books etc of the guys running the tracks were genuine Training sessions except for the one in "Run to the Top " where Bill is leading the guys down a track. All are wearing their National uniforms. Bill said that was posed for and when the photographer asked them to run down the hill, Bill jumped to the front and took off. As you can see he is about 5 to 8 m ahead of Halberg !!!
We have mentioned Jack Fosters Training on other threads, but Arthur once said "He does'nt have to run 100 miles a week, just look at the countryside he runs over"
I showed HRE some of the areas he ran. He will vouch for the hills. He ran up on of Jacks favourites in the forest, and it was a short one !.
Rich, we smashed the Aussies and are Tri Nations Champs. I believe the South African game was better so you got to see the toughest match.
Two Shots Bourbon, One Shot Scotch....
Thanks for the insight on Waitak. I didn't know that XC photo was taken around Waitak. I can see Bill doing that and no wonder the look on Halberg's! Sometimes books can be sort of...funny. There's a photo of Arthur and Ray Puckett running the national marathon champs (in white singlet with "A" on the chest). I believe in "Running with Lydiard" the caption said "Note the similarity in running style" or something like that. Ray said "Bl**dy he##! We don't look anything close!" Ray's very smooth and steady. Arthur is more like a bull!
Here's another story (not about a book). There's a statue of Lydiard now but Arthur was tired of "modeling" so he had the sculptor to his face and then send his son (Gary, I assume) and said, "Here, our body looks alike!" Hotlanta Master told me that they now moved to the water fountain along the Waitak (where Halberg was taking a sip in his biography, "Clean Pair of Heel"). That's more appropriate.
One more thing, Hodgie-san, in regards to Coach Squire's book: I think the title should have been "Be There; Or Be Squires!" I think that captures the man much better, don't you think? I have not read it yet but I have NO doubt it contains information we can all learn from.
So interesting about Kuts, I always wondered how the russians trained with Bolotnikov 28.18 and Kuts 13.35, I know volum was reported to be around 5000km for Kuts but I know nothing about how the speed or volume or peridasation was done. Can someone help me with information. I do know he learned from Emil but I belive he did also different. Interesting to someone with such bodybuilt do 13.35 on dirt, worth 13.20 on tartan or mondo.
What a fantastic runner he was so aggresive always fighthing to max and he himself was person incharge in the races, But also a wey sad story after Melbourne her is a story fond on
wery sad, and please add information on this fantastic runner from Russia.
The first great Soviet runner was Vladimir Kuts who, in 1954, set his first world record in the 5,000 meters while defeating the legendary Czech Olympic champion Emil Zatopek. A Russian peasant serving in the Navy, Kuts did not set foot on a track until he was twenty-three. Until then, the sport he participated in was boxing, and he well might have remained in the ring if his unit had not been transferred to Lenin-
grad. There he met the track coack Grigorii Nikiforov who recruited him as a distance runner. Lean and slightly stooped, Kuts was not an impressive-looking figure on the track, but he possessed enormous dedication and strength. Every bit as aggressive as he was as a pugilist, he usually started out quickly in races, hoping to capture the lead right away and hold onto it until he crossed the finish line.
Kuts' early success as a runner was based on the German interval training program which alternated effort with recovery. Under this system a person runs a hard interval, follows it with an easy one, then repeats the hard interval. This system not only improves speed but also endurance. Enthusiastically his coach initiated Kuts into interval training, encouraging him to run intervals far longer than anyone else had attempted at that time. Convinced his world 5,000-meters record was proof of the merits of interval training, Kuts pushed himself even harder until he was running over twenty miles a day. Despite all his work, he subsequently lost two critical races to English runners, both of whom stayed back then outkicked him at the finish. Those defeats deeply troubled his coach who decided the fast, consistent pace that enabled Kuts to set the world record would not be successful enough in Melbourne.
Four months before the Games were to begin, Nikiforov devised a new training program for his star runner which was the so-called "variational" system. The proponents of the interval system beldieve that the more distance one covers during a workout the greater the chances are of doing well in a race. Nikiforov, however, realized one who wants to run fast much practice running fast. So, while Kuts continued to accrue the same prodigious distances each day in practice, now they were run over shorter and more varied segments. Sometimes he even ran in com-
bat boots with a sandbag slung over his shoulders. The influence of his coach was not confined to the track. Nikiforov believed that an athlete could be capable of enduring the most rigorous demands if his whole environment is scrupulously and scientifically controlled. He told him what to read, how long to sleep, what to eat. He was particularly fastidious about Kuts' diet, going so far as to strain impurities from every grain in the bowl of oatmeal he prepared for him every morning.
Alarmingly, two weeks before the start of the Olympics, Kuts began to display some disturbing physiological symptoms that his coach attributed to anxiety and overtraining. The pulse rate of the average per-
son is 70 to 80 beats per minute, but long distance runners often have a much slower rate. Generally, Kuts' pulse was measured at 45 beats at rest and 120 racing. Just prior to the Games, however, his resting pulse had accelerated to 120 beats. His blood pressure also had risen signif-
icantly, and heart murmurs were discovered. Kuts was not a large man, at five feet seven inches, 159 pounds, but his heart was huge. The volume of the heart in the average person is 750 to 780 cubic centimeters. Kuts' was 1.026, and by the time of the Olympics, it had grown another 45 cubic centimeters.
Kuts left for the Games aboard an ocean liner that took sixteen days to reach Melbourne. Receiving a needed respite from all his training, he not only enjoyed rich foods during the long passage but also some cognac, so that by the time he arrived his health seemed restored. With vigor he resumed his training and satisfied the scrutiny of his physicians, who declared his heart normal except for its size and pronounced him fit to compete in the Olympic Games. Kuts was relieved and excited, determined more than even to show that he was the finest distance runner in the world.
His first race was the 10,000 meters in which he was one of the favorites. As usual, he burst into the lead, but instead of maintaining an even pace as he had done in the past, he employed the cat-and-mouse tactics he had practiced diligently in training. Just as his coach had planned, he ran in spurts, slowing down for several meters then charging ahead again, which rattled the nerves of his main rival, Gordon Pirie, one of only two runners to defeat Kuts in competition. Periodically, during the long race, he urged Pirie to pass him but the Englishman always declined until the twentieth lap when Kuts came to a complete stop and forced Pirie to take the lead, which he let him have for 100 meters then rushed past him for good and set a new Olympic record and became the first Russian to win an Olympic gold medal in track and field. Five days later, against even stronger competition in the 5,000 meters, he won his second gold medal and set another Olympic record. This time he did not run in spurts but set a withering pace that overwhelmed his opponents. "If Kuts has to kill himself in order to kill off his competition," an observer of the race remarked afterward, "he has enough suicidal dedication to run himself to death."
Shortly after receiving his second gold medal, Kuts was given a medical examination, which he passed without any public expression of concern. In fact, as he admitted years later, the Soviet physician who conducted the check-up was shocked by the condition of the new Olympic distance champion. His lips were blue, his face ashen, and he had the rapid pulse of someone still running. Consequently, he was advised to rest and take some time off and did, but when he resumed training after a couple of months, he bore no resemblance to the double gold medal winner. All of his teammates routinely beat him in practice, whatever the distance, and they were absolutely dumbfounded---as were Kuts and his coach. He recovered enough to run one more great 5,000 meters race in Rome, setting a record that would last for eight years, but after the race he was carried off the track on a stretcher and taken to the hospital. And at the age of twenty-nine he was told he could never run again.
Retired, he moved in and out of hospitals, constantly in need of treatment for his ailing heart. No longer able to run, he gained a considerable amount of weight, swelling to 230 pounds. Occasionally he would attend an important track meet in the country, but if other spectators recognized him he would turn and walk away, sweating profusely, as if too embarrassed by his appearance. The authorites were embarrassed as well and prohibited Soviet photographers from publishing pictures of the once indomitable runner. To the shock of the nation, if not its leaders, he died in his sleep from his fourth heart attack at the age of forty-eight.
If the intensified training program that his coach devised for him did not kill Kuts, it certainly contributed to his general decline. Already quite large, his heart grew even larger during his running career, and after his retirement, it continued to pump large amounts of blood into his now idle arms and legs, which created further physiological problems. The sole purpose of ;the disastrous training program imposed on Kuts was to make him good enough to bring home some medals from Melbourne. Indeed, just as workers in the Soviet Union routinely signed "socialist pledges" to produce more steel or coal or cement, Kuts and his coach pledged to win medals for the nation at the Melbourne Games. Anything, in fact, was deemed acceptable so long as it accomplished this objective, even if it led to the early decline and death of a gifted young athlete. "Nikiforov seemed like an executioner," Kuts acknowledged later, "determined to break me down, body and soul ... to make a warrior of me, capable of enduring any stresses of sports combat..." The Soviet Union was a land of executioners, dutifully carrying out the demands of its creator. The brutal creed of Lenin permeated every aspect of the country: one has to beat heads he maintained, beat them mercilessly, for the new Soviet man to survive and prosper.