Don’t Set a Daily Schedule
Don’t set yourself a daily schedule; it is far more sensible to run to a weekly one, because you can’t tell what the temperature, the weather or your own condition will be on any day.
With this rule, Newton introduces the concept of “listening to your body,” an idea subsequently popularized by George Sheehan (1972, 1975). Using this technique, runners monitor how they feel before and during runs and then adjust training on any day according to how they feel during each run. The practical application of this rule is described in more detail in posts 6 and 10.
Don’t Race When You Are in Training, and Run Time Trials and Races Longer Than 16 km Only Infrequently
I decry such things as time-trials. I am convinced that they are nothing but a senseless waste of time and energy. They can’t tell you any more than the race itself could.
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I am convinced that it doesn’t help in any way at any time to practice sheer speed. Actual racing and running or all-out exertion in any other form of sport should be confined solely to the competition for which you are training. Your business is to build up, not to break down. You will find the speed is there and doesn’t need practice.
But by all means enter for a race now and then, but beyond making a good shot of it, leave time-trials and anything of that sort very much alone.
Racing, then, should be the only time-trials, and should be run only every two weekspreferably threeapart six weeks between events would be more suiExercises for a marathon man, once in two months is probably better.
Remember to “bank” your racing powers until you seriously require them, and you will then find that the interest is there as well as the capital when you start to draw on the account; there is no safer, saner or surer method of training.
Newton was strongly opposed to time trials and races other than the major event for which he was training. One must presume he was referring to time trials over marathon distances rather than over distances of 8 to 12 km, which seem essential for elite marathon and ultramarathon runners and probably for any experienced athletes wanting to improve their performances. However, I believe that all beginning runners should initially avoid time trials and should follow Newton’s ideas about building endurance and not speed.
The accuracy of Newton’s observation that a period of 6 to 8 weeks must separate longer distance races has only been proven in recent years. We now know that races longer than about 25 km produce quite marked muscle damage, which takes a considerable time to repair (see post 10), probably longer than Newton estimated.
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