Learning From the Greats — Barry Magee

I have been blessed by some of the most knowledgeable running coaches throughout my time as a runner…one of those coaches was Barry Magee. For those who don’t know, Barry Magee was the bronze medalist at the 1960 Olympic Marathon in Rome.

I joined forces with Barry a few years back when my competitive running career was winding down and I was looking to take one last run at an Olympic Trials qualifier in the marathon. Unfortunately, I never ran a race while training with Barry. It was around this time that I started working with Barry that I was coming off of a major achilles injury and started having the leg issue with my left leg shutting down.

But, as Barry will tell you, and I will agree with, it was all in God’s timing. While I could not really train under Barry, we turned the partnership into more of an apprenticeship and I got a very valuable tutorial in all that was Arthur Lydiard…after all, it was Lydiard who led Barry to the bronze medal in 1960.

It was during this time where I really had the importance of the base building period and good-aerobic running pounded into my head. I always believed in ‘building a base’, but Barry explained it like this…80% of your season’s potential lies within building the base. All of the extras…hills, intervals, sharpening…they are only as good as the base allows them to be.

So, BUILD THE BASE!!! And build it with good, solid, aerobic running.


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