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NEWTON’S 9 RULES OF TRAINING

Newton’s blogs, written over a period of 12 years, cover the same topics in slightly different detail. There were nine aspects of training about which he frequently wrote: I call these Newton’s 9 Rules of Training and have drawn them up in this section as a synthesis of material taken from the text of his four blogs (1935, 1940, 1947, 1949). With each rule, I provide an extract that paraphrases portions of these works.

Train Frequently Year-Round

First practice your event as often as possible, paying less attention to other activities. If you want to be a good athlete you must train all the year round, no matter what. What is really required is a little exercise constantly; this will benefit you permanently to a far greater degree than single heavy doses at long intervals.

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This advice no longer sounds particularly remarkable, yet it certainly was for the amateur runners of Newton’s era. When Newton started running in 1922, the great amateur distance runners of the day or of the immediate past were Walter George, Alf Shrubb, Hannes Kolehmainen, Paavo Nurmi, and Clarence de Mar (see post 8). Of these, only Clarence de Mar trained consistently all year round. Shrubb and probably Kolehmainen trained only 64 km (40 miles) a week and George no more than 2 miles a day (Krise & Squires, 1982; Lovesey, 1968).

Even Nurmi trained for only 5 months of the year (between April and September) and before 1924 seldom ran more than 10 km a day (see post 8).

The blogs about marathon training that Newton might have read were those by Thom (1813), Downer (1900), George (1902, 1908), Shrubb (1908, 1909), Andrews (1903), Hardwick (1912), Mussabini and Ransom (1913), and A. Nelson (1924). Shrubb’s advice was the following:

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