Thursday, July 12, 2012

Booklet Aims to Help Young Runners Train

Aspiring young distance runners need look no farther than their local running shop -- or the Internet -- to find free advice about training.

Former Eden Prairie High School and Carleton College distance runner John Davis has published a booklet called Basic Training Principles for Middle and Long-Distance Running that is available in paper form in limited quantities at TC Running Company, Marathon Sports, Startline, Gear, Gear West, and both Run N Fun locations.

The booklet is also available for download from Davis' web-site, HERE.

The booklet offers an introduction to basic training concepts told through the story of Peter Snell, New Zealand's gold medalist and world record-holder at 800 and 1500-meters in the early 1960s.

The booklet was prompted by the success Davis, a chemistry major, found from an informal training group he was part of in high school and college.

"Everyone in the group made big gains in fitness, and the younger high school guys got to learn a lot about training," Davis told DtB.  "That experience, along with my own misadventures as a young high school runner, spurred me to write a short booklet that could explain the most important points about distance training to a young runner."

Davis' training ideas are heavily influenced by those of Aurthur Lydiard, Snell's coach and a universally recognized pioneer of modern long distance training theory. 

"There's something appealing about an "old school" story, where an underdog makes it big by training smart, being dedicated, and focusing on long-term development instead of short-term results," Davis explained.  "The message of the booklet is, of course, the importance of aerobic development in track and cross country training, a philosophy which has its roots in the training philosophy of Peter Snell's coach, Arthur Lydiard."

The booklet is one of many fruits that have grown out of Davis' interest in running and training.  His web-site, Running Writings, begun a year ago collects Davis' thoughts about the physiology and biomechanics of distance running.

Davis is also finishing work on a long, follow-up book to Basic Training called Modern Training and Physiology that he plans to sell locally and on-line.

"Modern Training takes a look at advances in training since the 1960s, explaining concepts like the aerobic and anaerobic thresholds and how they can be used in training,: Davis outlined.  "While Basic Training is free, I'll be selling Modern Training, probably though my website and hopefully at local running stores too." 

Davis also plans a third booklet, tentatively titled Overcoming Injuries and Setbacks, that will discuss injury, illness, and over-training in runners.

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