Training for a Half with Hal Higdon

half-marathon

Have you ever looked for a training plan online?  If so, there is a really good chance you landed on one of Hal Higdon's.  Hal has created training plan for 5k to marathons that millions have used throughout the year.  This week we dive into the most popular race in America, the Half Marathon.

In Hal's latest book (Hal Higdon's Half Marathon Training) he covers where to begin, what to focus on, how to pace yourself, how to avoid injury, how to track your progress and how to improve.

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Questions Asked

  • How did Hal first got into online training plans?
  • Can you train three days a week for a marathon?
  • How does aging affect your training schedule?
  • What are the best ways to cross train?
  • What is the history of the half marathon?
  • Who is Bobbi Gib?
  • What was it like to cover the 1984 Olympics and watch Joan Benoit Samuleson?
  • What are the best resources to learn about the history of running?
  • What are your secrets to running success?
  • Why is consistency so important with running?
  • What is Hal's take on the 2016 Olympic team?
  • How do you become successful at life, not just running?

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Transcript

How did Hal Higdon first get into online training plans?

Trey: Well Hal, thanks again for joining us. It's absolutely always a pleasure to talk with you. It's funny, I was thinking earlier about our phone call and how I would imagine if you go to most races, if you look at the training plans of what got people there, I would guess yours probably more than any others have probably taken people to more finish lines than any other training plan out there.

 Hal: Yeah, I think I have to thank Google for that. If you go into search mode and put half marathon training or marathon training. I pop up there two or three times on each search. That's one way that people find me. Another way is that they go into a running specialty store and ask where can I get a good training program. Some guy at the far end of the store shouts out my name. There's a lot of good word of mouth. It's fun being able to contribute to what basically is a huge success in our sport lately.

Trey: Absolutely. I remember, I think it was the first marathon I ran, I kind of had plotted out my year. I went from one plan to the other. I started with your 5K. I went to your 10K. I think I actually kind of incorporated both the half marathon and full marathon training. The beautiful part of the plan is I think it gets into what runners really feel like they need, and I think it's something you've provided. How many times do you go into something that is so big without a plan?

Hal: Yeah.

Trey: I think that is why so many people gravitate towards it, don't you?

Hal: Yeah, I think so. I think when I'm recommending suggestions, giving tips to new runners, that's one of the first things I suggest. Get a plan. Even if you have to go to the enemy Runner's World or Jeff Galloway. I'm kidding now. Basically do a plan and follow that plan. You need motivation, because when the marathon is two or three months down the road, sometimes it's not that easy to roll out of bed early in the morning and get the three miles in. You need to do that. The long runs are essential. The sort of long runs in the middle of the week are essential for anybody training for a marathon or a half marathon. There's a lot of in between training that also is very, very essential. What's become more popular I've discovered, because about a year or two ago, I created what I call a marathon three.

 A training program that has three days of running, only three days of running, I say and two days of cross training for those people who break down if they have to do that fourth, fifth or sixth day. I just duplicated that. In a certain respect I created a new HM 3 Program as I call it for half marathon runners with the same philosophy. At the same time also I've got advanced 2 programs of a marathon for runners that want to crank out a lot of miles and do speed work twice a week. I try to operate at both ends of the training spectrum, with a lot of space in between as well.

Can you train three days a week for a half marathon?

 

Trey: How have you seen performances on the three days a week? Can you hit time goals at three days a week, or do you feel like people have to sacrifice maybe a time goal for just finishing for running three days a week?

 Hal: Yeah, because after you've run your fifth or tenth or twentieth race of any distance, half marathon, marathon, your goals change. You love the sport, but you don't necessarily have to go out and try to get a BQ and qualify every time you run a race. I think this offers an in between option for long term survival for people who maybe if they, heavier people, I hate to brand them. If they run more than three days a week, even the well supported shoes, won't help them. Aging people like myself who've been there, done that, and just want to enjoy the sport. My three day half marathon programs I have to say, actually contain a little bit more mileage, because I throw a few more miles in each of the three day, so it really brings it up a lot.

Then also the two days of cross training, whatever you want to do. I'm sort of more into cross training myself now. I've admitted already that I'm an aging runner. I spend a lot of time in the pool, especially on my bicycle. In fact while waiting around for you to call, I took about an hour off and biked to the nearest Dunkin Donuts. It's sort of an even calorie balance between the jelly donuts and the miles I rode to get there. I guess my goals have shifted. No longer in line to make the Olympic team or win the Boston Marathon. I just love the sport. I enjoy the sport and it keeps me in the sport.

How does aging affect your running schedule?

 

 Trey: You mentioned the aging runner and as that clock ticks and as we get over 40, as we get over 45, then 50. As runners are looking at the potential plans and schedules, is there a general rule of thumb that you recommend for people as they get into the Masters, the Great Masters, days they should be running in the week, or does that kind of just, you kind of got to learn that on your own?

Hal: Yeah, I don't get into too many absolutes. I don't even know how many weekly miles my training programs are, because I purposely sort of avoided figuring out that. Every now and then a few runners will complain that there's not enough miles in the programs for them, so I just tell them, well just add a mile or two each day to my program, you'll be fine. I think runners are so very, very different. I don't think you can say there's one program that fits all or anything you should do. I actually had one of my best races in my career at age 49, when I was focusing on running the marathon in the World Master's Championship which was four months before I kicked into my 50th birthday. I really probably trained harder, but more important, more intelligently in the wrap up heading towards that race, than I did ever before.

By that time I'd figured it out. All the mistakes that I'd made as a younger runner were behind me and I was able to pass that information on to a new generation coming on.

Trey: When you look at cutting days are there certain things you cut out? Can you go hard two days a week? You look at going hard one a day a week, or is it mostly easy? Is it a combination? Do you look at cutting out specific workouts?

Hal: Well, one of the greatest coaches I've ever known, the late Bill Bowerman, who coached the University of Oregon track team and actually was at the beginning edge of the jogging revolution, coaching women runners at the local YMCA, pioneered the hard easy approach. Where you would run a hard day, then the next day would be an easy day, so you could run hard on the third day. Of course an easy day for Bill's runners would be something like Kenny Moore going out and running ten miles in the morning and ten miles in the afternoon.

Trey: Wow.

Hal: Basically, the same series that worked for Bill's Oregon track runners, worked for some person who maybe is listening to this, and thinking about that first marathon somewhere, or half marathon somewhere down the road. I think in designing my programs, I really tried to look at that. I sort of got into the coaching of runners by the backdoor. A friend of mine was teaching a class for adult runners and asked me to get involved in coaching them. This was sort of like my first experience with people who weren't gazelles, born to be the stars of their track team. Then about the same time my son Kevin had graduated from Indiana University where he was one of the top cross country runners on the team. Wanted to qualify for the Olympic trials.

He also had a real life and he was working for Peat Marwick in Chicago as an accountant. A lot of his time in the middle of the week, plus his girlfriend who is now his wife. Was tied up. Didn't have a lot of time to train in the life. We tried to focus Kevin's training on the weekends, when he had maximum time. He would do a tough training on Saturday, Sunday. In order for him to do that tough training I would rest him on Friday before and Monday after to recover. Then middle of the week fill in with some other stuff. Really that pattern is the basis for my training program. It can be used for Olympic runners certainly, but also for somebody doing their first race.

 Just had their first 5K and wants to look up for a half marathon as the next race. I think the patterns works. Bill Bowerman, one of the greatest American coaches of all time really is sort of with us today, inspiring me and inspiring many other runners who may not even know his name.

What are the best ways we can cross train?

 

Trey: Do you have specific do's and don'ts when it comes to cross training. I know you mentioned cycling and I know swimming is another one. Are there specific activities you encourage or discourage when it comes to our cross training?

HalI see cross training as an easy day, an easy exercise. It's very, very simple. I had my midlife triathlon crisis during the 80's where I competed in a lot of triathlons. It's very easy to have a hard running workout and go out the next day and blast an hour on your bike going 25 miles an hour without getting your eyes off the computer that's forcing you to go 20.1 rather than 19.9 miles an hour. I sort of warn runners that cross training, in my programs at least are supposed to be easy days, so that if you're cranking out and running to hard, excuse me biking too hard, or swimming too hard, or doing anything else too hard. Because, there's a lot of options for cross training now.

That is what I would call a serious mistake, because if you over train cross training, you're not going to be able to get the key running workouts as well as you do. Like I say, I went through my thin tire days, and now I'm in my fat tire days. I've got a ladies bicycle by the way, which I like, because it's more convenient. The drop down area lets me get off and on it very easy. Really fat tires, ten miles an hour is really pushing on that. When you think about it, you can get as good a workout on a fat tired bike at ten miles an hour, as you can on a thin tire bike at 20 miles an hour. You don't want to push it just, because you can do it.

You can go out and run seven days in a row too and that might be a mistake. There are so many options and quite obviously runners at different levels certainly can avoid some of the don'ts that come in the do's and don'ts.

What is the history of the Half Marathon?

 

Trey: Absolutely. By the way congratulations on the new book. It came out about a month ago. Your half marathon training book came out about a month ago, is that right?

Hal: Yeah, it came out exactly on April 1. I don't know what the publishers were thinking, April Fools Day. By the time it made it into the bookstore as online, etc., etc. It was well past April Fools. Hal Higdon Half Marathon Training. It was a lot of fun writing it. I thought one of the interesting things was the fact that, and I wasn't even aware of it myself until a year or two ago that the half marathon has really sort of taken over as the go to race in the United States, at least maybe even around the world. I remember back in the 80's I did an article for Outside Magazine on the 10K as the hot race.

That was the one that runners most often ran. When you think about it, or you look at statistics there are hardly any 10K's that make their way into the top hundred races in the country. Well Peachtree Run is one of them. I think the focus has really shifted upward. First into the marathon, maybe it was through the 90's. A lot of the people that came into the sport into the 90's were females. The women were just beginning to figure out that running was a welcoming sport for them. When you talk to these new runners in the 90's and wanted to know their background as a runner. Many of them had not even run a 5K and had not even run a 10K. The first race they were going to run was a marathon.

The grizzled old-timers sort of said what, what, what. Wouldn't you like to do a few other races to get your way up there. I think those days are past. The glory of the marathon was there and it still is for that matter. I think a lot of runners who've gotten into the fact that maybe finished their first marathon, maybe even their seventh marathon in seven different continents. They look at the half marathon as something they can do, that's not necessarily easier to train for, but maybe you don't have to put in as many miles. You don't have to put in as much time and can enjoy doing it.

I think really the half marathon has really surged into popularity, where to the point, where its four times as many runners are doing half marathons is full. As a matter of fact I just flipped over a couple of pages and on page VIII which translates to eight, so those of you who don't know Roman Numerals. 2,046,600 finishers in the full marathon and four times that number in the half marathon.

Trey: That just staggers me.

Hal: Excuse me that two million and a half versus half a million finishers. That's still a lot of finishers and a lot of activity. Half marathon is a key sport, but that doesn't mean we're giving up our full marathons too. They're all part of the measure.

Trey: That is truly amazing. Those numbers are staggering. Was there a turning point in your mind, or was it just kind of steadily grown over the last ten years or so?

Hal: Well, it was almost sort of by accident, because the half marathon, running got a real major start. Of course people have been running for decades, centuries for that matter. In the 70's following Frank Shorter's victory in the Olympic games, Bill Rodgers four wins in Boston and New York. This is when running became a very participant sport. I opened up in the introduction Hal Higdon's Half Marathon Training, talking about a plaque that I found in my attic while I was writing the book. It was for the Cleveland Heart-A-Thon. It was a race that I'd won the Masters Division in 1977. What is a Heart-A-Thon. It was a 13.1 mile race. That same year in Indianapolis they started the Indianapolis Mini Marathon as it was called.

It too was a half marathon. The same basically the Philadelphia Distance Run and it was a half marathon. It was almost like the race directors were embarrassed to says that their race was only 13.1 miles long, so they really were sort of disguising that fact. That would sort of be the early beginnings. There were a few half marathons in the decade or two before that. Into the 80's and certainly into the 90's and now after we're into the new century, the half marathon has really, really, really come online. It's really almost unbelievable. In fact 2200 half marathons in the country run last year, according to Running USA. When I got started in running there were not 2000 runners in the United States, much less 2000 half marathons for them to race in.

 Trey: Yeah. Well, I tell you, you correct me if I'm wrong, but it feels like too, that no one dismisses the half marathon. I think there for a while that maybe there were some races that I was doing, oh you're just doing the half? No, there's no such thing as a half. I don't feel like that really exists anymore. People dismiss 13.1, because all I have to do is just go drive your car for 13.1 miles and you'll understand the distance.

Hal: Right. Half marathon is not necessarily easier than the full marathon. When you think about it, somebody who has never run before. They pick the Indie Mini which is this weekend by the way, depending on when this podcast comes out. They train. They start off with zero mileage and they follow one of my programs, 12 weeks and it gets them up to a long run of ten and then into the half marathon. That's pretty difficult for somebody who does not have a running base, but when you think about it, once they cross the half marathon finish line. They're pretty close to the 20 mile run that is the longest distance in my training programs for the full marathon. It's almost possible, I think it's probably almost easier to go from 13 miles in a race to even six weeks later 26 miles in a marathon, than it was getting the first 12 weeks to go 13.

I think for the newcomer actually the half marathon is a tough challenge. Then they go on into the marathon. I just have to run a few more miles, no problem.

Who is Bobbi Gib?

 

Trey: You know one of the other things I loved your introduction and I almost feel bad that I didn't know this before. Like, I can't believe I didn't know this. We talked a couple months ago with Bart Yasso, he was telling us about Bobbi Gibb.

 Hal: Yeah.

 Trey: How in the world, and I know you mentioned that in your introduction too. How in the world, I didn't know about Bobbi Gibb. It just astounded me and the time she put up for her first two marathons were just amazing when you hear about her story.

Hal: It's interesting too, because a lot of the people at Boston that first year thought that she really didn't go the distance, because everybody knew that women weren't running that fast. She was in San Diego living with her husband at that time. She used to go out running on the regular running routes in and around San Diego. Bill Gookin, a very good friend of mine, who invented one of the first sports drinks was out there running with his brother Bill, and they ran into her one time. They thought that it was just some nice girl going along for a mile or two run. They sort of got in with her. They were running mile, after mile, miles, she's still going. Pretty soon Bill's brother Ed, couldn't' stay up with her.

The two of them knew darn well that when she headed back to Boston to run that marathon, she was going to have zero trouble finishing the race. It was interesting, because you probably already know, is the 50th anniversary of that first run that Bobbi did back in 1966. The following year of course that's when Kathrine Switzer was accosted by Doc Simple, the photograph of that era sort of rolled around the world. I think there were two incidences in the 60's that brought on women's exercise and fitness. Title IX. One of them was Billy Jean King's tennis match against Bobby Riggs on television. The other one was Kathrine Switzer having the number almost ripped off her jersey at the Boston Marathon.

What was it like to cover the 1984 Olympics and watch Joan Benoit Samuelson?

 

TreyWell, yeah it was really funny. I'm a good bit younger. I was born in '71. My first ever vivid memory of the marathon was at the '84 Olympics and watching Joan Benoit Samuelson come in the LA Coliseum. That was an amazing, amazing thing watching that. I think that was probably the first time I ever saw running, that is an amazing feat and watching her come in and make history that day was just truly unreal.

Hal: Right, and I was covering the Olympics for the Runner Magazine at that time. I was sort of stationed out at the starting line and then a loop through Santa Monica, maybe about 15 kilometers or something. I was out at this well known San Vicente Boulevard, which is sort of a hard core jogging area for the runners in Los Angeles. Looking for the marathoners to come by and Joannie just had this huge lead on Greta, Ingrid, Rosa and all the other fast women runners. I said oh-oh I hope she's not going to be sitting on the curb at 20 miles. Obviously she just totally broke that group and they never were able to catch up with her.

I sort of after seeing her in person two or three spots along in Santa Monica, I went up to my hotel and watched the rest of it on TV. Then got in my car and I drove to the coliseum. I was just coming into the Colosseum. Of course the Olympics by that time the track and field was all going on. I'm about to walk in the door. Who walks out of the door is Joannie Benoit. She's got an American flag in one hand. She still had that dopey cap I think. Basically we stopped to chat briefly. Briefly she was going to head out to the Nike Suite and change etc., etc. Then she said, well hell I wonder could you take this flag over to the Nike Suite. I was about to accept.

 Then she said ah no, I better do it myself. I would have thought that if I could have taken that flag and gotten her to autograph it, that would have brought in big bucks on Ebay.

What are the best resources to learn about the history of running?

 

Trey: That's amazing. How do we do a better job of runners, especially for new runners. Do you have any recommended, whether they be books, whether they be people to follow. How do we learn more about this sport? How do we learn more of those stories? Are there any places you recommend people go to be able to really find a lot of the history that sometimes we miss?

 Hal: Yeah, actually incidentally. Most people won't recognize the name, Ted Carr, but he was on the Olympic team in 1952 as a marathoner. His son Gary who happens to live in Jacksonville where I'm calling you from now. He's doing a history, gathering all of his father's papers. His father never threw anything away. Putting together a history of the sport before it was lost, particularly when it involved African Americans. There's so much history back there that I do hope that we don't lose. I encountered a little bit of history when I was doing the research on this book, but there's just so much out there, and I think it is an incredible sport. Today's runners probably don't realize how small a sport it was back even in the middle of the last century.

 I can remember when I first came on the scene there were four marathons a year. One of them was Boston. One of them was Yonkers. I can't even remember the names of the other two. We really have come a long way from four marathons to 2200 marathons. It's been a really steady evolution of the sport. Your question was related, before I started rattling off in different directions, about where do you send people so they get information. I think a couple places, one is online.

 Trey: Yeah.

Hal: There's so much information that you can find online just by Googling marathon or whatever. Runner's World obviously has a very, very active website. I just put up a link to an article on the front page of the New York Times on weight loss. Last time I looked it was like 120,000 that clicked in to find out what it was all about. The other great place is the running specialty stores. It was interesting, because back in the 70's people like Jeff Galloway had these small running stores that serviced the few runners that there were. They had great success with them. Athletic Attic, Mario Saucony was another store owner.

Then in the following decade the major stores, the department stores, the major sports chains overwhelmed the running stores, literally almost drove them out of business, although I think Jeff still has one or two of his stores going. Most interesting to me in the last maybe its gone back 10 or 20 years, is the running specialty stores now have come up to the point where they've literally driven the mall stores out of business.

Trey: That's right.

Hal: The runners have their own store. They have good clerks who will tell them how to get into the good shoes. It's also a conduit for good information. If you go into your running specialty store and most fairly large cities do have at least one. Some of them have more than one. Jacksonville is about a half a dozen, but in a chain by my good friend Doug Allred. They can find that information. They can see the entry blanks up on the wall. They can ask if there are classes. For instance back in Chicago, the Chicago Area Runners Association has a class to train runners for the Chicago Marathon. We've got 2000 to 3000 runners a year at that.

The information is out there. There are classes. There are clubs. Getting back to the Internet, the Road Runners Club of America. Click into their website, rrca.org. They've got the list of all the running clubs in the United States organized by state and by city. You can go in and discover that yeah here's Jacksonville and there's like half a dozen different clubs here. I'll see if I'll join one and meet other runners. Maybe get some training advice from them. I think people get into running, many, many routes. It's exciting to me is to see how well the sport has grown over the years.

Trey: It's so cool to see it so healthy and to see so many people now all of a sudden achieving something that they never thought was possible. I get so inspired being at a race and looking at me. I just look at my parents. I've got a 70-year-old dad who's signed up and he'll be running the Disneyland Half again this September. Just to be able to see people believe things are possible. I think that's so encouraging.

 Hal: Exactly, exactly.

What are your secrets to running success?

 

Trey: Looking back in the book just for a second also. I love kind of digging in. Some of your secrets of success. I know you're like Trey, I put them all in there, because they're all important. Are there a couple that really stand out to you, as you look at people who are really trying to maybe move from that 10K or 5K up to the half marathon distance. Are there a couple of those secrets of success you really kind of dig into a little bit?

Hal: Oh, you have the book in front of you?

Trey: I do, I do. Looking at it right now.

Hal: Give me a page. Page number seven, page number seven.

Trey: Okay, good. Right, I wasn't too far from that.

Hal: No, no. I don't have my glasses on, but I think my eyes are good enough so I can read. Two strength training, stretching, cross training, speed work, nutrition. The nutrition is a key thing, because I think that you can't run well, unless you eat well. My goddess is Nancy Clark, who's book Nancy Clark Sports Medicine, Sports Nutrition Book has sold, even I'm embarrassed to say more copies than my marathon book. One of the things I think people need to do is get their nutritional act together. I recommend what I call the Golden Rule, 55% carbohydrates, 30% fat and 15% protein, a wide variety of foods. You really can't run up to your potential unless you're fueled properly and so that would certainly be a key.

Then I'm looking down at the transcript, of course programs, which we've already discussed somewhat. I think if you get yourself on a good program, one that has worked for other people, then I think you're more liable to achieve success. Gear and gadgets, yeah they're out there, but you don't need a fancy $200.00 watch that traces you every step that you take. All that you need is a cheap pair of sneakers, well not too cheap anymore. I guess they're up in the $100.00 plus range. I think that's certainly important. Then for the people that they've been either running for a while. You can start out by just going out and running at no particular pace, just a comfortable pace.

 After you've done a few half marathons and are looking to improve, you need to consider some items such as speed work, that might get you into better shape. That sort of puts people out. All of a sudden they look like the eyes of a deer flipping out. Speed work does not have to be something that's going to rip you apart. One of my workouts that I recommend to people, it's sort of would be considered easy speed, it's a tempo run. A tempo run to me is you go out and you start at a relatively slow pace. Just jogging. Easing up into it for maybe five or ten minutes, almost a warm-up jog. Then as you get into the run, you begin to gradually, and I emphasize gradually accelerate up to a point where you're maybe nearing your 10K pace, so at about 15 or 20 minutes into the workout, you're running pretty close to 10K pace.

Jack Daniels describes it as as fast as you could run a full hour, but only hold that for three to five minutes. Then slide back very easily into the jogging role. It could be anywhere from 30 minutes to 60 minute workout. In fact it probably should be in the woods or on a trail where there are not mile markers, where you're trapped by your GPS watch into forcing yourself to do a specific pace. I think that particularly the experienced runners, I'm not necessarily talking about fast runners. I'm talking people who have been running for two or three years. They begin to get an intuitive understanding of what pace means for them. I think all those things are very, very important if you want to succeed as a runner at any distance.

Why is consistency so important with running?

 

Trey: Is consistency with sticking with a program important? I was talking with a coach the other day and he said, one of the things that he's seen is people missing success is they jump from one thing to another. He said, but sticking with something for a consistent time frame and letting it work and not worrying about the result immediately he felt was rather important.

Hal: Yeah. I totally agree. In fact if you looked, it may be easier to do a controlled find online of my book, you're probably going to find the word consistency several dozen times. I keep repeating it over and over and over. It's really important, because if you train up for a marathon or a half marathon. After that take the next month to two off, maybe even really just do very little running. It's not a bad idea, but you're going to lose a lot of the fitness that you've built. It's really a matter if you're going to succeed over a period of time, over a period of years, not a period of months, you want to stay consistent in your training. You will have times of the year where you will build up to a peak. Then after that peak you'll maybe come down off the that peak a little good while. Rest up your bones a little bit. Not totally take off.

I think if you look back at some of the great coaches from the previous century, Arthur Lydiard, the great New Zealand coach of Olympic champions, Peter Snell, Murray Halberg. Arthur had a program basically that he would run endurance, long runs. Peter Snell who is an 800 and 1500 Olympic champion was going out there and running 20, 23 mile runs on the weekends. Then go from there into a speed based program where they do workouts on the track, but not full sprints. Then in the last period, competitive period, the New Zealanders used to go to Europe typically at the end of spring into summer.

 Then you're redoing the fast sprint work on the track. Then you get into the next period and you've been training hard for eight, nine, ten months. Now you take an easy period, could be weeks, could be months. Still running maybe 50, 60, 70 miles a week before going into the next period. That's what is know as periodization. Certainly consistency is the stepchild of periodization. It's consistency in training is something that you really need to do if you want to have ultimate success. I think you could say probably one of my Novice One Programs for instance for the half marathon.

Trey: Right.

Hal: Do it for 12 weeks. Repeat it for the next 12 weeks. Repeat it for the next 12 weeks, for three different half marathons. You're probably going to improve just because of the consistency level. Now, you might get bored running off that specific program.

Trey: (Laughing). Yeah.

Hal: That many times, but it's a consistent training that's going to get you the most success.

What is Hal's take on the 2016 Olympic team?

 

Trey: Do you enjoy watching races, whether it's the marathon or track? Is it something that you enjoy to watch still?

Hal: Oh yeah, oh yeah. I was watching the Olympic trials. Absolutely fascinated, particularly by the women's race.

Trey: Oh yes.

Hal: Basically particularly Shalene barely hanging on. She's been injured and so her teammate Amy was almost pulling her along in the last few miles. Then Desi coming up and moving into second. Three wonderful women. I just thought that it was an exciting race between them. Also Galen Rupp in the men's division. He looked like he has tremendous potential. Well, we know how fast he is in the 10,000 meters.

Trey: Yeah.

Hal: Now he's shown how fast he can be in the marathon. He has a very good coach. It's sort of interesting, because in the interviews afterwards, maybe it was before. Galen was going to run the Olympic trial marathon, which he did of course. Then I think the World Indoor Championships were a month later in Portland, his hometown. Well, you don't want to pass that in your hometown, but he was talking about getting into it almost as he might be a serious runner. I was thinking ah Galen have you ever realized, I'm sure your coach knows it Alberto Salazar how much the marathon drains out of you. He went to the World Indoors. I guess he ran a race or two. He had horrible results, but you know I can say, you're probably right.

You were able to get there and have fun in your hometown, so why not. Plenty of time to get ready for the Olympic Games this summer. I'm really looking forward to watching them on TV. I just love watching the Olympic Games, because they force me to watch a lot of other sports when I don't otherwise pay much attention to. That's a lot of fun too. Also the World Championships every couple years. I sort of stay very close to the TV set when that happens.

Trey: Love it. In fact it was funny what I learned from the Trials. As you mentioned with Desi, was just hearing her coach. They had a plan and they executed the plan and stuck with it. At one point in time you're looking, I would imagine, she's saying in her head, oh my goodness, the plans not working today, but she stuck with the plan. Executed it to almost perfection and had a great second place finish. I think that speaks a lot for us runners. Hey, do we always have a plan going into a race?

Hal: Yeah, it helps to have a plan. Sometimes you know you've got to readjust those plans. I was really happy to see Desi have that success, because I first met her long before she had any name at all. I'm good friends with the Hanson's up in Mission, Kevin and Keith. Of course, they introduced me to this young girl with no reputation, but now she's going to the Olympics. It could be. I hate to say we're going to sweep three places, because there's a lot of competition out there. I don't think I can remember a time when we've had really this good an American team both in the men and women going there. You know we could bring back some bling too. Although after watching the Kenyan and Ethiopian people running in the Boston Marathon and London certainly. There's a lot of tough runners all over the world, but you know we've got some really fine people.

How do you become successful at life, not just running?

 

Trey: That's the truth. That's the truth. Kind of the last question I have for you today. It's kind of non-running related, but I love learning and I love learning from people who've been successful. Whether it's running related or whether it's kind of what you've done with your passion in writing and just be successful over the years. Any kind of words of wisdom for people. As you find what your passionate about, you find what you're good at. Any recommendations for people looking to be successful, whether it's in running or their career. Just watching you in your success over the year, would love to know any feedback you would have about people just learning to be successful just in general.

Hal: I think you have to look from the long range. You have to look farther down the road, not for next months half marathon, but maybe a year after that, a full marathon maybe. A Boston qualifier. Maybe five years after that total success in some race if you're a fast runner. Although success exists at all levels. I think both in my career as a writer and my career as a runner, I've been able to maintain these long range goals. I remember coming back from the World Masters Championships which were in Germany, I believe it was 1979. I was flying home on the plane and looking ahead for the next World Masters Championships which are going to be a year and a half in New Zealand.

I spent most of my time on the plane plotting all of my training for the next 18 months. That's what eventually allowed me to achieve the success that I did in New Zealand winning the world title there. I think that works in all factors of life. You have to look a little bit further down the road. You have to ask yourself, what do I want to be doing with my life, and my career not merely next week, or next month, or even next year. Maybe five, ten years, 50 years down the run, because I'm speaking from the perspective who's been in the sport for a long, long time. I've outlived my parents. I think it's partly because of the good healthy habits that I have, that we all have in terms of nutrition, and fitness, and exercise.

I think you can have a goal of making the Olympic team this year, but what are you going to be doing 50 years from now. I look at a person like Billy Rodgers who had tremendous success winning four New York City Marathons and four Boston Marathons. Then continuing to run with joy even today. It's interesting to me, because I'm trying to think of when this would go back. I was probably in my 50's almost and Billy and I were running in the old Kent Riverbank Run in Grand Rapids, Michigan 25 kilometer race. We were both invited runners staying at the same hotel, and 10 or 15 minutes before the race, we got into the elevator. There's Billy. Just the two of us in the elevator we become close friends.

One of the questions that Bill answered me that really echos through my mind is, Hal how do you keep your motivation for all these years? I was 10 or 20 years past my elite status. I could see the clinking around in Bill's mind. He thought of himself 10, 20 years. He wanted to continue to be running. He wanted to know what secrets I knew that would keep me to be running. I think probably what I told him was that well you need to have hard years again going back to Bill Bowerman, hard, easy and easy years. Quite frequently I would gear up for a year or two. I might be focusing on the World Championships or some other item, maybe a triathlon during one period of my life.

Then I would back off and I'd have an easier time where I would just do fun runs. I think all runners need to do that. They all need to plan ahead and all need to figure out where do I want to be in my life 10, 20, 30 years from now.

Trey: Hey, I certainly appreciate that. Listeners you have to go get a copy of this book. Even if you're just getting started it talks about running form. It even talks about walking half marathons. It is a very, very valuable resource. Hal, thanks for spending some time with us. Thanks for the book. I'm excited. I've been digging in it myself and excited to check it out. Also thank you for helping me through my first four marathons. It was your training plan that got me there, so I appreciate that too.

 Hal: That's good. I love that endorsement. It's fun talking to you as it is always.

 Trey: Awesome, thanks Hal. Appreciate it.