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Prefontaine — Training Profile 1969

 Prefontaine's training profile, circa 1969.

Prefontaine's training profile, circa 1969.

I recently procured a copy of HOW THEY TRAIN, Vol. II: Long Distances edited by Fred Wilt. It is a compilation of training profiles of the world's best distance runners in the 1960s and early 1970s. And it is eye-opening to the diverse avenues of the training strategies employed by some of the all-time greats. My biggest takeaway is there is no one single methodology which leads to world-class competitiveness, in fact, many roads lead to Rome. 

Being an American distance running nerd, I went to the profile on Prefontaine first. What is offered is a profile of Pre's training at age 18 as a freshman at UO. I'll make a few observations, but won't comment too much so not to influence your interpretation.

  • Right away, you'll notice Bowerman's influence with the "Hard, Easy" pattern of training pulsing every other day. 
  • Pre owned best marks of 660y — 1:24, 440y — 50, 330y — 36.9, 220y — 23.9,  100y — 10.9. He had impressive raw foot speed for a distance runner.
  • Pre did weight training.  
  • A single outing in winter training is 12 x 165y (~150m) in 22" + run 4 - 8 mile run + cutdown 12 x 330y (~300m) from 52" to potentially 40".
  • His warm-up before workouts was a single mile in 5:30. That's wild. 
  • He competed 15 - 25 times outdoors. Pre didn't believe in becoming stale from too much racing. Rather, he thrived on it.

There are many more takeaways, but I will let you decide what is interesting and useful as well as not. 


Thanks for reading. I'm glad you're here. // jm



Jonathan Marcus