Never too Late to be Great – Report #3


CIM – 4 Weeks Out and CountingRod Waterlow with 2010 Olympic Torch

 This series is about and by Rod Waterlow who has been invited as a senior elite athlete to compete at the California International Marathon (Sacramento) on December 5.  We are following Rod’s approach and process as he prepares for and runs this popular and still growing event.  For more background on Rod and the Race, see the first post in the series.

What are you doing to prepare for CIM?

I’m a firm believer in the old maxim, “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it”.  After over twenty-five years of running, my marathon training has settled into a fairly typical routine.  I like running with other people and I am currently involved with two different running clinics.  These provide me with the structure and support, both technical and social, which I need – I’ve never quite bought into the “loneliness of the long distance runner” image.  My schedule includes increasingly longer runs on the weekends, at about 30-45 second/mile slower than race pace, supplemented with two shorter but more intense runs during the week.  One change from the way I used to train is that one of my mid-week runs now includes speed training techniques (e.g., High paced 400 and 800 meter repeats) which I believe have help me to maintain my running times, which have remained fairly consistent over the past five years.

As a seasoned runner, how do you feel about high mileage training?

When I first started running in the mid 1980s there was a much greater emphasis on high mileage.  I remember being told that it was important to get the extra miles in, even if it was just one more three-mile run each week.  Some of my running buddies bought into this philosophy so much that they were running 70-75 miles per week.  The result was that, contrary to the conventional wisdom of the day, their marathon times were slower.  However, I think that this had more to do with their increased expectations of better times and the inevitable tendency to go out too fast.  In my own case my total mileage peaked at 52 mile in one week and I really didn’t feel any benefit – it just made me feel very tired!  In recent years, although I still keep track of my weekly mileage, the focus of my clinic training has been on quality miles, rather than how many miles I run each week.    At this stage in my running career, I seem to have found the right balance between not training too hard and still training hard enough to maintain good race results.  Currently, my total weekly mileage leading up to a marathon peaks at about 34 miles, and this seems to work for me.  I am sure that the speed training, which I started about five years ago, has helped me to maintain my performance level.  For example, my time in the 2006 Royal Victoria Marathon was my best in ten years.

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