John McCallum - The Case For Running

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John McCallum - The Case For Running

Post by Trip » Wed Jun 17, 2009 11:41 am

Vancouver is the third largest city in Canada. It’s nestled on the west coast about 25 miles north of the American border, with the blue Pacific on one side of it and snow capped mountains on the other. “Where else,” the natives say, “can you lie on the beach all morning and ski in the mountains half an hour later?”

The northern tip of the city consists of 1000 square acres of sylvan beauty. It’s called Stanley Park, and it draws people like a magnet. On a Sunday afternoon you can see everything from a busload of nuns feeding the monkeys to 300 hippies holding a love-in.

If you’re really lucky you might see, jogging along the 11 mile path that circles the park, a broad and bulky gentleman who is perhaps the best built, probably the best conditioned and certainly the most modest man of all time. His name is Maurice Jones. He stands about 5’8”, varies his weight at will between 205 and 235, and packs more pure muscle than any six people you’ll ever meet.

Maury, as he’s called, is a truly modest man. Getting his shirt off is like pulling teeth. Getting him in front of a camera is tougher than getting your old lady in front of a firing squad.

Maury is the finished product of sensible weight training. He’s a trained athlete in every sense of the term. His muscles are enormous, yet he carries himself with the grace and agility of a cat. He’s an all-around strongman, not a one lift specialist. He performs as well on a reverse curl as he does on a squat or a deadlift. He has superb health and unbelievable endurance. Someone once said that Maury can lift anything not nailed down. They should have added that he can also run up the side of a mountain with it.

Maury’s in his middle fifties now, but he has the health, the strength, and the physique of a 21 year old superman. He has reached and maintained this level of physical excellence through the wise use of heavy weight training, a sensible diet, and mile after countless mile of outdoor running.

Running plays a big part in Maury’s program. I asked him once if he thought so much running might hinder his bodybuilding progress.

“Not a bit,” he said. “It helps.”

Let me explain one thing first. This material is not for the beginner. It’s for the man who’s been training at least a year and has made a fair change in his level of bulk and power. It’s also for the man over forty regardless of his condition. If you’re in either of those groups, running could be the most important thing you’ll ever do.

To summarize, then:

If you’re a beginner, leave running alone for now. Carry on with basic bulk and power routines. If you’re an advanced trainee with some size, or if you’re over forty years old, work the following into your training. It’ll revolutionize the way you look and feel.

There’s an old saying that nothing is perfect. It’s true of most things and it’s true with weight training. Weights provide the quickest and best means to improve yourself physically. There’s no denying it. You can convert yourself from a scrawny bag of bones to an absolute superman by training sensibly with heavy weights. Weight training is so superior to every other form of exercise that comparisons become ridiculous. But weight training, good as it is, is not perfect and we might as well be honest and admit it.

Weight training, as most of us practice it, has three flaws. Generally speaking, and unless you work specifically for it, weight training

a.) doesn’t provide enough stimulation for your heart,
b.) doesn’t necessarily ensure crisp definition, and
c.) doesn’t, as a rule, build outstanding endurance.

While the plaster is still falling, I’ll explain what I mean by that.

a.) Weightlifting is not harmful to your heart. Quite the opposite, in fact. Heavy training strengthens your heart just as it strengthens all the other muscles in your body. Weightlifters have hearts far healthier than the general populace.

But standard weight training, while good for your heart, doesn’t provide quite enough stimulation. Your heart is best stimulated and strengthened by light exercise of a rhythmical nature carried on uninterrupted for at least half an hour. Exercise of that type provides the cardio-vascular stimulation necessary for really outstanding heart health.

b.) Weight training doesn’t usually build really sharp definition unless you train deliberately for it. You can, if you wish, alter your training routines and go all out for definition. If you work hard enough you’ll probably end up fairly well defined. The trouble is, you’ll also end up so weak and dragged out it’s debatable if it’s worth it. Physique contestants who have to train deliberately for definition are a pretty weary bunch by the time the contest rolls around.

c.) Weightlifters, as a group, have far more endurance than the average man. But, here again, weight training doesn’t generally build the kind of endurance you could and should have. Like definition, you can go on a program of very high reps and build endurance, but it usually wipes out your musclebuilding progress. Endurance is developed by very high reps. You can’t do both effectively in your weight workouts.

The solution to these three problems is to supplement your weight training with exercise of an extended, rhythmical nature. This will strengthen your heart, improve your health, sharpen your definition, and increase your endurance without you having to make any alterations in your weight training or do anything to hinder your bodybuilding and strength training progress.

The best supplementary exercise, far and away the best, is light progressive running. Running will work wonders for you. It’ll improve your physique tremendously. It’ll put the finishing touches to your appearance, giving you that polished look. It isn’t generally known, but most of the top lifters include some running in their training. Bob Gajda is an ardent runner, Bill Pearl runs quarter mile sprints and Reg Park is known for his sprinting ability. The American, Russian and European weightlifting teams all run as a part of their training.

I mentioned Maury Jones. Maury was, and still is, an avid runner. In his younger days he used to load barbell plates into a pack sack and run up the steep mountain trails around his home.

If you’ve never done any running, start gradually. Use a roughly measured distance of about a quarter mile. Run at a nice easy pace. Don’t try for any speed records yet. If you can’t make a quarter mile, then keep practicing till you can. As soon as you can run one full quarter mile without collapsing, start building it up as follows.

Run one nice easy quarter-mile. Now, without stopping, walk the next quarter and get your breath back. Don’t dawdle. Walk along at a good pace.

When you finish walking the quarter, immediately run the next one. Don’t rest between laps. Jog around easy for the full lap and then walk another one.

Alternate the laps, running one and walking one, without any rest in between. Keep moving from the time you start till you finish the workout.

Gradually build up the number of laps until you can do at least ten, five running and five walking, without stopping. When you can do that, you’re ready for the next advance.

Instead of running one lap, run a lap and a quarter for your first set. Then walk the remaining three-quarters of a lap to complete the circuit. Now drop back to the one lap running and one lap walking for the rest of the workout.

As soon as you can, do a lap and a quarter running and three-quarters of a lap walking for your second set, and then the third, then the fourth, and so on. When you can run a lap and a quarter for all your sets, do as follows:

Start running a lap and a half and walking a half lap for your first set. Then try it for your second set, then the third set and so on, until you’re running a lap and a half and walking half a lap for the whole workout.

For your next advance, build your running time to a lap and three quarters and reduce the walking to one-quarter lap.

Next, move it up to two full laps running and go back to a full lap walking. Then move it up as before. Two and one-quarter laps running and three-quarters of a lap walking, two and a half laps running and half a lap walking, and so on. Build it up to three laps running and carry on as before. Then go to four laps, five laps, and so on. Deep at it until you can eight laps, or about two miles, at a nice steady pace.

As you increase the running and decrease the walking time, you can gradually reduce the number of sets. When you reach eight full laps running you should be down to one set only. Run the eight laps, walk one to cool off, and that’s it for the day.

Run at least two, and preferably three, days per week. If you’re lifting three days a week, run on the alternate days. You can run anytime of the day, early morning or midnight if you prefer, it doesn’t really matter. The whole thing will take less than an hour and you’ll never spend time more wisely.

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Re: John McCallum - The Case For Running

Post by Abandoned by Wolves » Tue Jun 30, 2009 6:31 pm

I appreciate your taking the time to make some of the old McCallum stuff available. Muchas Gracias, etc.
"I also think training like a Navy S.E.A.L. is stupid for the average person. I would say PT like an infantry unit, run, body weight stuff, hump a little, a little weights and enjoy life if you are not training for specifics." -tough old man

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Re: John McCallum - The Case For Running

Post by Fat Cat » Tue Jun 30, 2009 8:18 pm

McCallum could be incredibly persuasive. Easily the best writer the iron game ever produced.
"You can’t talk with communists, you have to kill them." -Józef Mackiewicz

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Re: John McCallum - The Case For Running

Post by Dan Martin » Wed Nov 24, 2010 8:25 pm

Between now and the end of the year, everyone jog two miles 2 or 3 days a week.
Shomer Shabbos.

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Re: John McCallum - The Case For Running

Post by Bobby » Wed Nov 24, 2010 11:29 pm

No snow and ice around your parts I take it,then.I will try to do some skiing on the other hand.
On real skis naturally!
vitaBlixt.jpg (23.98 KiB) Viewed 16524 times
You`ll toughen up.Unless you have a serious medical condition commonly refered to as
"being a pussy".

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Re: John McCallum - The Case For Running

Post by The Venerable Bogatir X » Thu Nov 25, 2010 6:29 pm

Fat Cat wrote:McCallum could be incredibly persuasive. Easily the best writer the iron game ever produced.
Absolutely. My copy of TKTP is dog-eared.

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Re: John McCallum - The Case For Running

Post by buckethead » Tue Jan 03, 2012 9:43 pm

I'm liking the Verheul interval method better, though not much different:
by Herman Lenferink

In 1979 two Dutch runners, Klaas Lok and Joost Borm of the Utrecht athletics Club Phoenix took by surprise the first and second places at the National Cross Country Championships. The day after, it was recorded in the newspapers that their running style was much suppler and more relaxed than that of the defeated favourites, Gerard ter Broke and Tonnie Luttikhold.

In 2005 "The Misunderstanding of endurance runs" ("Het Duurloopmisverstand") was published by Klaas Lok. In this book the former Dutch champion on the middle and long distances explains that a supple and relaxed running technique can be obtained by running short intervals of 200m (15x) and 400m (10x), if necessary completed with even shorter intervals of 100m in a faster pace.¹ The pace should be fast enough to develop reactivity and running economy but also slow enough to gain a correct balance in training between load and relaxation.

Slow endurance runs at the contrary would develop a heavy stride and a slow push off, while hard repetition runs would undermine the necessary relaxation in running. This was the philosophy of Coach Herman Verheul (1932), who brought Lok and Borm to their successes. In his philosophy the very often ran races are the only repetition and endurance runs. Only in the most specific form of training - the race- athletes were thought to be able to reach an optimal performance of these two forms of training. In the Netherlands this philosophy of training is known as the "Verheul Method", and in the slightly different version of Klaas Lok labeled "Souplesse Method".

This method can be placed somewhere in the tradition of Zatopek and the coaches Woldemar Gerschler and Mihaly Iglói, the most important differences being that Verheul moderated the volume and pace of the workouts but increased the time spent on gymnastics. In his gymnastics he used exercises he had derived from the ballet of the Don Cossacks. These gymnastics were thought to be very important and done before every workout and there was a special gymnastics training every Monday evening in winter.

In the Verheul Method the emphasis is on supple, easy running in interval training. The real individual rules for training paces are based on the manner in which the athlete moves, his capacities of relaxation, his rhythm, his general condition, and his capacities to recover. As a guiding principle Verheul used the idea of the Hungarian coach Mihaly Iglói that you never should train harder than your capacity to be recovered the next day. So training velocities are highly individual and velocities mentioned below are just values that have proved to be effective for the average runner.

Verheul did not use tables to deduce paces for athletes, nor did he pay much attention to heart rates, but in stead he observed the individual athlete, asked, and drew his conclusions from his race results. Nevertheless, to give an indication of the paces that were run you can say - as a rule of thumb - that the fastest pace of the 200m interval is 3k race pace or maximum 1500m race pace, that the fastest pace of the 400m interval is 5k race pace, and the fastest pace of the 1000m interval is 15k race pace. At the beginning of the winter (1 October) these paces were set back by Verheul from the fastest paces in the summer to paces that 15 sec. slower for 1000m, 6 sec. slower for 400m and 3 sec. slower for 200m. From this level the system of periodization of the Verheul method (in winter increasing paces, in summer stable paces) meant that during the winter the paces increased every month with about 0,5 second on the 200m (6x0,5 sec. = 3 sec.), 1 second on the 400m (6x1 sec. = 6 sec.) and 3 seconds on the 1000m intervals (5x3 sec. = 15 sec.).

Besides the interval training and gymnastics there was a winter fartlek training every Saturday that consisted of a mix of an average of 16 tempo's of differing lengths and gymnastics and increased from 5 till 7 quarters of an hour.

A typical Verheul winter program (1 October - 1 April) for a runner capable of running 10k in 31 minutes (or 800m in 1.54, 1500m in 3.55, 3k in 8.30, or 5k in 14.40) is:
Monday: Gymnastics training (indoor)
Tuesday: 15x 200m 37 sec. -> 34 sec.
Wednesday: 6x1000m 3.20 -> 3.05 (temporarily out of the program at 1 April)
Thursday: 10x400m 76 sec. -> 70 sec
Friday: 15x200m 37 sec. -> 34 sec.
Saturday: Fartlek
Sunday: Race (cross country mostly, road, sometimes indoor)²

A typical Verheul summer program (1 April - 1 October) for the same runner is:
Monday: 15x200m 34 sec.
Tuesday: 10x 400m 70 sec.
Wednesday: 15x200m (but after pb's again 6x 1000m build up again easily, starting 3.20)
Thursday: 10x400m 70 sec.
Friday: Race (800m, 1500m, 3k, 5k, 10k etc. on track)
Saturday: 15x200m 34 sec.
Sunday: 10x400m 70 sec.

In fact the number of repetitions are never increased above the numbers of 15x200m, 10x400m and 6x1000m (the load increasing mainly by growing to faster easy paces and running faster in races and adding a second 6x1000 program in a winter week). Decreased numbers are used for young, beginning and older (master) runners and in come backs after injuries. A typical 'reduced program' is 12x200, 8x400 and 4x1000.

Verheul presumed that training (we are not talking here about the races of course!) with heart rates above 150 beats a minute might add nothing to the development of the human organism and might be useless and maybe even detrimental. Apart from this insight, the emphasis in the Verheul Method, however, is not on the effects of interval training on the heart, but much more on the qualities of movement, and what is naturally connected to it, that is: the frequency of muscle contraction, the elasticity and reactivity of muscles. In the opinion of Lok this is the undervalued suppositious child in the world of runners. Lok suggests: "In fact there should exist a 'muscle elasticity meter', an apparatus that would indicate the moment that an endurance run should be interrupted the moment the elasticity (reactivity) lessens."

The interval training of Verheul was designed consciously to give the muscles a chance to relax after the endurance load (that is the weekly ran race). A so called "recovery endurance run" the day after the race is nonsense in his philosophy, because doing the same could never be a recovery. After a long race, short intervals over 200m have the preference. After every interval run athletes walk 10 till 20 meters to take off the stress from the (tired) muscles and to shake their legs loose with a few hops. Thereupon they do a slow recovery run over the same distance as the interval run. The same procedure is pursued in the 400m-interval program (with 400m recovery runs) and in the 1000m-interval program (with 1000m recovery runs). The last program is only done by advanced runners (once, later maximum two times a week), who start their 1000m intervals in the beginning of the winter season at a pace that is generally a little slower than their race pace of the half marathon.

The recovery distances are thus purposefully made relatively long when we compare them to the quite common use to take only recovery runs over the same distance in the case of fast repetition running and a shorter recovery run than the interval run in the case of interval training. The advantages of this distinctive use of recovery distances in the Verheul interval training are not only a fast general recovery but also that the muscles can regain the elasticity that might be lost as a result of the race.

Herman Lenferink

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