Saturday, July 20, 2013

Van Aaken Method

People that follow my blog, or my running, have figured out I tend to follow Phil Maffetone's training ideas. His 2010 book, Big Book of Endurance Training and Racing, is my bedside staple. Maffetone's book is big, a total of 516 pages! Great book, but pretty darn beefy. In addition to Maffetone, I follow Ernst van Aaken and his training philosophy. In fact, it seems that van Aaken was the leader in pure endurance training. Maffetone clearly draws from van Aaken's teachings. Seems Arthur Lydiard did too. If you can find van Aaken's book, "The Van Aaken Method", buy it! It's a really intriguing look at run training from the 1940s and 1950s. Plus, it's only 134 pages long. Very readable. Cool insights (especially about women runners who he was very supportive of in long distance races). It's not an easy used book to find, so let me summarize a few key thoughts in his own words:
  • Run daily, run slowly, with creative walking breaks.
  • Run many miles, many times your racing distance if you are a track runner, up to and often beyond if you are a long-distance runner. 
  • Do tempo running only at a fraction of your racing distance.
  • Run no faster during tempo runs than you would in a race.
  • Bring your weight down 10-20% under the so-called norm and live athletically--don't smoke, drink little or no alcohol, and eat moderately.
  • Consider that breathing is more important than eating, and that continuous breathlessness in training exhausts you and destroys your training reserve.
If you want an even shorter van Aaken book summary...

"Run slowly, run daily, drink moderately, and don't eat like a pig." 

According to van Aaken, true health starts with endurance and from maximum endurance grows maximum performance. Good stuff!

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