Winning Running


A few posts back I highlighted Bill Dellinger in a Learning From the Greats post…most of what I know from Bill Dellinger comes from this book, Winning Running. I have another book from Dellinger, The Competitive Runner’s Training Book…both have taught me a lot. But the cool thing about Winning Running is how he gives the outline and schedule for Steve Prefontaine’s run up to the Olympic 5000 meter final…THE ENTIRE YEAR OF TRAINING. How cool is that?

So, what did I learn from it?

  1. Prefontaine was not afraid to race. He raced 19 times leading up to the Olympic 5000 meter final. How often do we see the pros today racing that much?
  2. These guys LOVED 300 meter repetitions. From August until August the most repeated session was 300 meter repeats. Sometimes 3 of them fast. Sometimes 12 of them slow. Sometimes  6 of them from slow to fast. LOTS OF 300s.
  3. His workouts were LONG. His very first workout back on campus in 1971 was 8 x 800 meters, 6 miles, 12 x 300 meters. Can you imagine how long something like that took? Let’s say he warmed up a mile; took 2 min rest between each rep; ran 6 min pace for the 6 miles, and then averaged 80 seconds for each 300 rep + 100 meter jog…we’re talking 90 minutes without any breaks between warm up, 800s, 6 miles, 300s…and without a cool down. HE WAS WORKING LONG.

Just today I was talking with someone about how when I first started coaching the mentality was hammer-hammer-hammer; no pain, no gain. But as the years have passed there has been a bigger effort to focus on recovery. Man…Pre wasn’t recovering much. 🙂

I don’t think this book is available any longer; but if you can get your hands on a copy, it’s a jewel.


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