The truth is that if you are unable to beat these runners at 1 mile or 10,000 m, you will also never beat them at any other distance, even up to 700 km!
5. All runners included regular speed work in their training. Rowell, Hurst, Newton, De Mar, Hayward, and Mekler achieved greatness without paying much attention to speed training. Yet they were the last of that breed, and subsequent runners have shown that regular speed training is absolutely essential for success in marathon and ultramarathon races. Nurmi, Zatopek, Pirie, Keino, Edelen, and Shorter stressed interval training on the track; Peters, Elliott, Clarke, and Clayton ran at high intensity most of the time; and Hill, de Castella, Jones, Temane, Ritchie, Fordyce, Waitz, and Lucre combine hill training and interval sessions on the track. Clearly, no single method of speed training works for everyone.
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The universal importance of speed training has been proven most convincingly by the ultramarathon runners, in particular by Bruce Fordyce and Don Ritchie, who have completed the training circle that began with the pedestrians like Charles Rowell and Arthur Newton.
Fordyce and Ritchie have shown that the Newtonian approach of running high mileage remains as a basic training principle but that subsequent improvements in running performance will not come simply by running more miles at the same relatively slow pace. Newtonian training is probably not even appropriate for the very long ultramarathon races of up to 700 km, as shown by the performances of Yiannis Kouros and Eleanor Adams, both of whom have achieved exceptional performances in races of up to 1,100 km on about one half the training of Rowell and Newton.
Runners such as Kouros and Adams have shown that improvement in the ultramarathon comes with better speed training, and they have proved that the statement of Krise and Squires (1982)“There’s nowhere to hide from speed; it will inevitably inhabit every distance” (p. 102)applies to the ultramarathon just as it does to all other distances.
Similarly, the low-mileage, high-intensity approaches of Matthews Temane and Xolile Yawa are reminiscent of the approaches of Jim Peters and Herb Elliott and suggest that the great distance runners of the future will be those who are genetically endowed to cope with short periods of very-high-intensity peaking training.
The majority of these runners ran their best marathon races when they were still relatively inexperienced, and they did not improve much thereafter. This was most clearly shown by Ron Hill, who ran his best marathon race in 1970 after he had been racing marathons seriously for only 1 year. During the
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