An Old School Racing and Training Mentality

Two weekends ago at the Philadelphia Half-Marathon I was talking to a new-friend Andrew about racing.  He asked what else I was doing before the trials.  I said I was running the Dallas White Rock marathon on December 4th.  His reply was something to the effect of, “you’re old school and I love it.” I take a lot of pride in this.  If in 10 years I get compared to the 2010s version of Bill Rodgers, Dick Beardsley, Denji Durden, and Greg Meyer – I’ve certainly accomplished my goal! Will I run as fast as those guys and win the Boston Marathon in 2:09? Times have changed where a 2:09 at Boston can now be six minutes behind the winner.  That being said, if I can bring back the old school racing and training mentality and inspire people to get out on the roads and compete, then I’ve done something for the sport.  I often get asked, what do I do all day between runs?  I get inspired by the training and racing of my idols.  From this website there is a great list of running logs.  Here’s a sample of Greg Meyer’s racing from Jan 1 through his Boston Marathon victory.

1983 Race Log

Date Race Place Time
1/01/83 NY midnight 5 Mile 1st 23:14
1/09/83 Dartmouth 3000m 1st 7:54
1/15/83 Orange Bowl 10k – (PR) 2nd 28:12
1/23/83 N.E.T.A.C. 5000m (PR) 1st 13:35.44
1/30/83 Spiral Mile 1st 4:02.6
2/05/83 Gasparilla Distance Classic PR AR* 2nd 43:07
2/12/83 Fort Lauderdale Heart Run 1st 28:52
2/20/83 OHME 30k Japan 1st 1:31:05
3/27/83 Cherry Blossom 10 Mile 1st 46:13
4/02/83 Colonial Relays 10k Track 1st 27:53
4/18/83 B O S T O N * 1st 2:09:00
5/07/83 Old Kent River Bank Run 1st 1:16:48

That’s 10 races BEFORE Boston! He raced every weekend for the first eight weeks of the year.  After Boston, he came back three weeks later to win a 25k. I can guarantee that when Greg Meyer stepped to the line he was callused and he was confident that he could compete with anyone.

In the first two weeks of November I ran consecutive weeks of 122 and 130 miles with two very hard workouts and a moderate long run each week.  These runs were all at 5200ft+ altitude with some over 8000-9000ft.  It was impressive training due to both the quality and quantity.  Then I look at a week of Bill Rodger’s training from January of 1975…

6 – Mon 16 miles @ 11:15 – easy hills, OK pace
13 miles @ 3:30 pm – flat course  – 29 tot
In the upper 30° ‘s – ran 16 miles over easy hills course at OK pace at 11:15 am and 13 miles + over flat course at 3:30 pm.
7 – Tue 16 miles @ 11:15 am – easy hills, OK pace
13 miles @ 3:30 pm – flat course, slow pace – 29 tot
Warm out – rain and snow in the am. 11:15 ran about 16 miles over easy hills course at OK pace. Ran about 13 miles at slow pace at 3:30 pm over flat course…l
8 – Wed 16 miles @ 1:45 am – easy hills, slow pace
13 miles – OK pace  29 total
Ran about 16 miles at 11:45 am over easy hills course at slow pace. Ran over 13 miles at OK pace – felt stronger than previous days but legs tightened over last few miles…
9 – Thurs 16 miles @ 12:30 pm – easy hills, slow pace
14+ miles @ 6 pm – tough hills, good pace  30+ tot
Ran about 16 miles at slow pace over easy hills course at 12:30 pm. Ran about 14-15 miles at good pace over some tough hills (B.C. course) at 6:00 pm.
10 – Fri 13 miles @ 2:30 pm 41° out & clear – ran only once at 2:30 pm for about 13 miles at slow pace over flat J. Pond course. Resting from last week, feet and legs a bit achey.
11 – Sat 10 miles @ 10:30 am – easy hills, OK pace
10 miles @ 3:30 pm – flat course, hard pace
Warm out! Beeeyoootiful! Ran 10 mi. over easy hills course at 10:30 am at OK pace. Ran 10 miles at hard pace over flat course at 3:30 pm …
12 – Sun 24 miles – flat & rolling hills
6 @ 8:30 pm – OK pace  –  30 total
Beautiful out – warm – ran about 24 miles in 2:20 or so over flat & rolling hills course. Ran about 6 miles at 8:30 pm at OK pace ( 1 good hill) …

Miles for week : 180

There’s no other way to describe that week then SUPER IMPRESSIVE. How many guys since 1975 have run that many miles in a week? That’s an average of 25.7 miles per DAY.  Granted that he didn’t have any specific workouts or races in that week, but as you can see from his notes the training was not all slow miles! Bill was 27 years old at this time, so I have a few more years to continue to build my mileage and intensity. I’m very lucky to run every couple of weeks with Benji Durden.  Benji has given me an incredible amount of advice and inspirational stories.  What I love most is that he was never afraid to run the marathon.  He’s run marathons less than 2 months apart and improved between them.  When you’re marathon PR is 2:09 like Benji’s – you’re not jogging 26.2 miles either.  Here’s an old letsrun thread where Benji posted all the marathons he has run,

74/12 nt dnf Peach Bowl Atlanta, GA
75/12 2:36:19 19th Peach Bowl Atlanta, GA
76/03 2:37:30 7th Florida Relays Gainseville, FL
76/10 2:20:23 2nd National AAU Championships Crowley, LA
76/12 nt dnf Peach Bowl Atlanta, GA
77/02 2:19:04 1st Carolina Columbia, SC
77/04 2:24:39 27th Boston Boston, MA
77/07/17 2:22:47 1st Arvert Arvert, France
77/09 nt dnf Nike-OTC Eugene, OR
77/12 2:25:59 6th Charlotte Charlotte, NC
78/04 2:15:04 11th Boston Boston, MA
78/09 2:18:40 13th Nike-OTC Eugene, OR
78/10 2:18:16 1st Pittsburg Pittsburg, PA
78/12 2:18:04 2nd Honolulu Honolulu, HI
79/05/19 2:17:10 2nd Amsterdam Amsterdam, Holland
79/09 2:13:47 6th Nike-OTC Eugene, OR
79/10 2:13:49 5th New York City New York, NY
79/12 nt dnf Honolulu Honolulu, HI
80/04/21 2:17:46 6th Boston Boston, MA
80/05/24 2:10:41 2nd Olympic Trials Buffalo, NY
80/09/07 nt dnf Nike-OTC Eugene, OR
80/12/07 2:13:25 12th Fukuoka Fukuoka, Japan
81/01/17 2:12:34 1st Orange Bowl Miami, FL
81/02 2:13:07 4th Tokyo Tokyo, Japan
81/05 2:32:45 9th Amsterdam International Amsterdam, Holland
81/08 2:18:27 3rd Sports Festival Syracuse, NY
81/09/13 2:12:12 1st Nike-OTC Eugene, OR
82/01 2:11:11 1st Houston Houston, TX
82/05/30 2:13:22 1st Montreal Montreal, Canada
82/09/12 2:12:52 3rd Nike-OTC Eugene, OR
82/10/24 2:16:09 18th New York City New York, NY
83/01/16 2:12:20 2nd Houston Houston, TX
83/04/18 2:09:58 3rd Boston Boston, MA
83/08/14 2:20:38 39th World Championships Helsinki, Finland
83/10/02 2:15:16 1st Toronto Toronto, Canada
84/01/15 nt dnf Houston Houston, TX
84/05/26 nt dnf Olympic Trials Buffalo, NY
84/10/14 2:19:46 13th Beijing Beijing, China
85/07/21 nt dnf San Fransisco San Fransisco, CA
85/10/14 2:34:26 55th Beijing Beijing, China
85/12/08 2:19:51 17th California International Sacramento, CA
86/01/19 2:18:21 20th Houston Houston, TX
86/07/06 nt dnf Goodwill Games Moscow, USSR
86/10/12 2:22:04 27th Twin Cities Minneapolis, MN
87/01/18 nt dnf Houston Houston, TX
87/04/05 2:27:14 8th Stamford Classic Stamford, CT
87/12/06 nt dnf California International Sacramento, CA
87/12/13 2:31:01 8th Honolulu Honolulu, HI
88/01/17 nt dnf Houston Houston, TX
88/04/24 2:45:17 75th Olympic Trials Jersey City, NJ
89/01/15 2:29:04 28th Houston Houston, TX
89/10/08 2:28:11 36th Twin Cities Minneapolis, MN
91/01/20 nt dnf Houston Houston, TX
91/11/28 2:28:53 1st Atlanta Atlanta, GA
91/12/14 2:32:48 17th O/1st M Rocket City Huntsville, AL
95/11/23 nt dnf Atlanta Atlanta, GA

There’s so much great information in this list of marathons and I’m lucky enough to hear stories from many of them.  Take note that in 1980 Benji ran Boston in 2:17 for 6th place.  He came back a month later and ran 2:10 to finish 2nd at the 1980 Olympic Trials in Buffalo, NY.

This brings me to this weekend where I will be running the Dallas White Rock Marathon on Sunday.  The organizers have assembled an excellent field of East Africans that will be trying for the course record.  I’m going to run my own effort to try and get the best workout I can get before the Olympic Trials, practice hydrating and taking calories, and place high in the race.

When I asked my coach, Brad Hudson, what he thought of the idea of running 26.2 miles in Dallas. His response (might be off by a word or two), “Renato Canova has his athletes run 45 kilometer tempos at 8000-9000ft on dirt roads, I’m not afraid of you running and intelligent 26.2 miles.” is absolutely great at times.  A portion of the message board posts are always criticism and bashing of athletes, coaches, programs, and even the US economy, yet if you shift through the garbage there are message board gems like this one on Renato Canova’s training program of Moses Mosop.

c) The real training started on 5th of September, and was a GENERAL training. For example, on Monday 12 Sep he ran 45k in 2:27:13 (27 days before Chicago), while before Boston he ran 45k almost 3 months before the race.

d) Moses NEVER had time for training specific endurance, so came to Chicago with a GENERAL preparation. His shape was the shape he needed 2 months before the race, when we have to start the specific training. In my training phylosophy, SPECIFIC is to run something long and really fast with long recovery between two sessions, using a lot of mileage at the specific speed of the race. HE DIDN’T DO. In my experience, the possibility of improvement in the final performance during the SPECIFIC PERIOD si between 2 and 3 minutes.

Moses Mosop was not afraid to do a 45k long run in 2:27:13 (that’s an average of 5:15.9/mi at **I believe** 8000-9000ft!).  That means he went through the full marathon in 2:18 and continued for another almost 2 miles.  I’m excited to do the Dallas White Rock Marathon this weekend.  I have been training hard (average of 98miles/week for the year thus far) and am focused on the trials.  I believe that the we have to take a look back at what successful runners in history (current and past) have done, as well as how everyone’s body individually responds to training.  I hope that you enjoyed this post on the reasons behind why I opted to do the Dallas White Rock Marathon and my current training.  A huge thanks to all my family and friends that continue to support me in my training.  Sometimes getting out the door for a second run can be difficult when you’re fatigued and tired, but with the encouragement of family and friends it is a lot easier and more enjoyable.  Thanks to the “old school” generation for inspiring me and Coach Brad to giving me some say in the races I want to do – creating a much more fun training & racing environment!  Of course – thank you all for reading!  Off to hit the treadmill before heading to Dallas, Texas!

Attempting to bring back an ‘old school’ training & racing philosophy,



8 thoughts on “An Old School Racing and Training Mentality

  1. Thanks for the comments! Bob – I have your site in my favorites. Get inspiration from the logs posted on their frequently. Thanks for taking the time and effort to collect them and post them online!

  2. Great post! This is definitely the mindset that I best relate to. Racing is a skill and the more one races the better one’s skill for racing will become — to a degree, of course. Pete Gilmore is another who embodied this ideal. Another grinder (who hails from the same general area as you) I have long looked up to and of whom you have likely heard is Jerry “Flash” Lawson.

  3. Good luck in Dallas Tyler. I am a new reader to your blog and am really enjoying it as well as finding it very motivating.

    I’m travelling from Perth, Australia to Houston for the Marathon in January and will be there for the Trials the day before so if you hear an Aussie accent cheering for you, that will probably be me.


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