Is this the Greatest On-The-Go Workout Ever?
One day when I was 11, I was eating greasy pizza around a table with my basketball-crazed cousins and telling them all of the stuff I was going to have to do if I was going to become one of the best runners Michigan.
My brother, Will, was already breaking school records at Bath High School as a sophomore, and I was planning on doing the same thing. My mom had recently gotten us a book on running. I was more likely to scan Sports Illustrated for pictures rather than read the feature story in the back of the magazine, but Daniels’ Running Formula piqued my interest. Sure, there were photos of runners, but it was the text that grabbed me.
It also terrified me. It was full of training plans for things that, as a 5 minute, 20 second miler, seemed quite unbelievable. How could someone run something like 10 x 400 meters at 60-second pace? And how could they do it while running more than 30 miles per week?
Even though I had no business running many of the workouts Daniels prescribed, I pored over the book and looked at tips and strategies that could help my own running. Which was why I was explaining to my cousins my new training philosophy.
“I’ve got to get my mileage up,” I said between bites of globby cheese. “So I’m going to be doing stuff like 400 repeats one day, then a 12-mile run the next.”
“Dude,” my cousin said, “if you’re trying to run a mile as fast as you can, why wouldn’t you just run a mile as fast as you can every day?”
I stared at him, wondering if he was joking, but also shocked that he did not understand. “I mean,” I tried to argue, “you have to do the long stuff for endurance and the faster stuff for speed.”
“Yeah, but why not practice running as fast as you can for a mile if that’s the point of this whole thing?”
We both made the same argument for the next ten minutes, with neither one of us budging on our theory. Needless to say, I did not run one mile as hard as I could every day from there on out. I trained like a lot of successful runners thanks to some great high school coaches and was fortunate to become one of the best runners in the state in high school.
Today, that cousin has made coaching stops at multiple N.B.A. franchises. Needless to say, he has not stuck with the one-track method of coaching. In fact, he takes a very holistic approach to the game—he even created a basketball mindfulness program for the masses.
Me? I no longer run high—by my standards—mileage or do many workouts. As I’ve grown older, those things like a job and age and motivation have made it tougher to do much in terms of high-quality running.
My brother, Will, however, might have created a workout that could change all that.
Oddly enough, it’s akin to that idea of running a mile as hard as you can each day. The Will is a 1-mile warmup jog followed by 1 mile hard.
He does it nearly every day.
And as crazy as it sounds, it’s gotten him into damn good shape.
Even crazier, according to a recent study, those quick bursts of high-intensity training may be the secret to longevity.
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