LEARN FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCE
Every athlete is different. Although the training approach described in this post has general application to all athletes, the specific details will vary from individual to individual. In particular, the relative emphasis that different athletes will place on different aspects of their training will vary.
The only way to determine what is most appropriate for you is to observe carefully how you personally respond to different training methods. Continue experimenting until you finally discover the training methods that produce the best results for you, regardless of how unusual such methods may be.
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Virtually all that I have written and quoted from great runners in this blog has had to be selective and will necessarily be biased. Thus, I consider it important to describe in some detail what I have learned from my personal experiences and how the knowledge I gained writing this blog has altered my training beliefs.
In general my training approach has always been like that of Newtonlots of long slow distance to the exclusion of speed work. For the first 6 to 8 years of my running career I trained exclusively by running long slow distances. However, I now firmly believe that this training approach, which emphasizes distance training to the virtual exclusion of speed work, although very safe, is really not the best way to train for any distance, including ultramarathons. I agree with Bannister, who said that high-mileage distance training increased the athlete’s speed of recovery from effort but that it had not been shown to increase racing speed. To increase racing speed, the athlete must do just enough and not too much speed training.
The evidence shows, without doubt, that the fastest middle-distance and crosscountry runners are the best runners at all distances, even up to the very long ultramarathons (see post 8).
With this background, I will detail my training practices.