Type 4: Responds to high-intensity training slowly and can handle a lot. Former 5,000 m American record holder Bob Kennedy exemplifies this type. Kennedy was a slow-twitch guy who lacked the raw speed of other 5,000 m specialists, but he thrived in the intensity-focused Kenyan training system under the late coach Kim McDonald. It doesn’t take a lot of experience to determine how quickly you respond to high-intensity training, but it may take some time to determine how much you can effectively absorb, partly because experience increases the amount of high-intensity running you can absorb. All four types of runners can be successful. What’s important is developing a clear sense of your type so that you can train appropriately. You must avoid at all costs feeling obligated to incorporate high-intensity work into your training in a certain way just because your favorite coach recommends it and does so without a thought as to whether this approach is right for you. High-intensity training tends to be unpleasant, though, so avoid the trap of too quickly deciding that you cannot handle much of it. This is a case where the affective response to training can lead a runner astray. Enjoyment of high-intensity training is an acquired taste. Many runners have trouble overcoming the initial bitterness of that taste and consequently never do as much high-intensity training as would be optimal for them. This phenomenon is not an exception to the enjoyment principle discussed in Chapter 2 but is rather a case of immediate versus deferred enjoyment. The more mature runner recognizes that, while unpleasant at times, high-intensity training stimulates greater improvement than its avoidance does, and in the long run greater improvement yields greater overall enjoyment of running. Therefore, in the process of figuring out the high-intensity training component of your optimal training formula, it is especially important that you pay attention to the performance results you get from high-intensity training and be willing to work as hard at it as the results justify.



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