If you’re looking for a little motivation today then Running with the Legends is the book for you. The book tells the stories of 21 great runners. You get the story of their career in the sport and how they became legendary athletes. If you can read about their training and not want make yourself better you should quit endurance sports. These athletes raced different events, lived different lives and had different approaches to training but you will definitely see themes. They all had desire, a vision for their path, and the will to train very hard for decades. The author gets the athletes to share their training ideas and you will be impressed with the amount of information. I’ve been reading and rereading this book for a couple years now. My favorite athlete is Robert de Castella for his mustache, attitude and calm approach to preparation.
A few quotes from the book:
From Robert de Castella: “It’s the foolish idea that if you do a little more, faster, then you’ll get better than the rest and it ignores the fact that you must train at your optimal level, not your maximum level.” (Fun fact: he averaged 105 miles a week from 1979 to 1992)
From Juma Ikangaa: “If you want to run 2:08 marathons, you must train fast.” Wise words.
From Grete Waitz: “Hurry slowly” Be dedicated and disciplined and work hard, but take your time. Move ahead, but be patient.
From Frank Shorter: “I’ve always had a simple view of training for distance running: two hard interval sessions a week and one long run… every other run is aerobic, and you do as much of that for volume as you can handle. Do this for two or three years, and you’ll get good.”
From the chapter on Toshihiko Seko you’ll read the expression “unlimited effort”. I keep that phrase in my back pocket and bring it out for certain workouts.
Now go train!