Lasse Viren - Blend Training Methods
Lasse Viren was expected to perform well in the 10,000 meter
competition at the 1972 Olympics. As expected he qualified
for the finals. Unfortunately as happens occasionally in
competition he found himself sprawled on the track when he
was the victim of contact in the finals - BUT he got up. Not
only did he win the gold in the race, but he also set a
world's record in doing so.
Subsequently, in the same Games, he won the 5,000 meters in addition to his 10k win. During that same racing season he also set the world's record in the 5,000.
Four years later in the '76 Olympics he provided what is one of the greatest series of performances by a distance runner in a single Olympics. Viren defended not one but both of his gold medals. Not satisfied, he also chose those '76 games as the place to run his first marathon ever and finished fifth.
Viren chose to utilize the varied methods and philosophies of many others to develop his training regimen.
From the famed Arthur Lydiard, who was Peter Snell's coach, Viren took the concept of high mileage and long aerobic runs, sometimes putting in 150 miles per week.
From Hungarian coach Mihaly Ingloi, Viren chose to utilize wind sprints, alternating 50 meters of hard running with 50 meters of easy for 2 or 3 miles on the track.
From distance great Paavo Nurmi, Viren elected to perform continuous runs at a steady pace.
And from American coach Bill Bowerman, Steve Prefontaine's coach and one of the originators of Nike, Viren selected the option of the hard\easy approach to training by following his incredibly hard workout days with two or three days of easy runs in the forests of Finland.
Just as Lasse Viren chose to learn variety of training methods from the great runners and coaches who had preceded him, every runner seeking improvements needs to mix a variety of workouts into her training in order to develop all facets of performance. Long runs for endurance, hill training for strength, sprints for speed and steady runs for pace.