Editor's Note: Mick Grant and John Molvar recently interviewed Gerry Lindgren. He was one of the most dominant high school and collegiate athletes of all time. He still holds the high school indoor national record in the 3000m (8:06.3) and 2 mile (8:40.0), from 1964. Injury and illness sadly cut his post-collegiate career short. Prefontaine got most of the glory in those years but as you'll read Gerry is likely the gutsiest and most determined runner we may ever see. As with other great interviews from Mick and John, they've been able to dig in and find out how great champions trained and developed. Gerry's impossible goals were part of what made him a champion.
Dead Heat between Gerry Lindren and Steve Prefontaine
`When you go out running down the street, you create what I call a wake. The wake is like at the back of a boat when you are going through the water. The faster you go the bigger the wake. In that wake people are seeing you, hearing about you, getting this feeling from you, and they’re saying “I should be doing that too. I should be out there running and racing. I should be taking care of my body.” -Gerry Lindgren: Olympian, former World Record holder, High School Indoor 2 mile record
Gerry's Bio from USATF Hall of Fame
The first American ever to win a distance event at a U.S.-Soviet Union dual meet, Gerry Lindgren was the U.S. national champion at 3,000 meters in 1967 and the 1964 national 10,000m champion.** One of the most dominant collegiate athletes in history, Lindgren won 11 of the 12 NCAA events he contested while a student at Washington State University. He placed ninth in men's 10,000 meters at 1964 Olympic Games and was the 1967 USA 3,000m champion and the 1964 USA 10,000m champion. A three-time NCAA 5,000m/ three-mile champion, Lindgren was also a three-time NCAA 10,000m/ six-mile champion, a two-time NCAA Indoor two-mile champion and a three-time NCAA cross country champion. He set the six-mile world record in 1965 and set U.S. 3,000m & 5,000m records twice each. On July 25, 1964, in the event he is best known for, Lindgren outran two seasoned Russian runners, Leonid Ivanov and Anatoly Dutov, to win the 10,000 meters at the USA-USSR Track Meet in Los Angeles.
YR is Mick Grant John Molvar
YR: If you can, please describe how/why you got into running.
GERRY: I started running in Junior High School. I was so slow and uncoordinated the coach set me up with a paper route so that instead of going to work out after school I went to the corner of Providence Ave at Crestline St. and picked up a bundle of 15 newspapers. My route was spread over 2.5 miles of lumber yards in a small community near the school. I hardly ever ran with the team and when I did get to run in races, I usually finished last. I got into running because I was too uncoordinated to play baseball, too small for basketball, and too tiny for football. I lived in a broken home and had looked to those sports as a way of staying away from my home.
YR; What did you like about running?
GERRY: In the beginning there was NOTHING I liked about running. It was hard! My legs ached so badly I could hardly walk. I was so far behind everyone else on the XC team I ran all by myself. I just wanted to quit running. My coach, Tracy Walters, took me aside and told me that I had an opportunity few people ever get. He said that I could inspire the whole team because I was so small and unathletic. People would see me working hard and they would want to work even harder. From his talk onward, I tried to lead. I was there to help his team get better and I did that by sprinting out too fast and making everyone work hard to catch and pass me.
YR; What was your weekly mileage, as best as you can remember, for grades 8, 9, 10, 11, 12. We can follow up with times and some races.
GERRY: My weekly mileage for grades 8 & 9 was less than 30 miles a week during six weeks of track season and ZERO miles the rest of the year. My weekly mileage in grade 10 started at around 50 miles for the first three weeks of XC and then jumped to 150 to 250 miles a week or more all through XC season and through the entire year. This mileage I continued through grades 11 and 12 as well. Mind you, MILES were not counted. We didn't keep track of how many miles we ran back then. We just ran. If you LOVE to run with the kind of passion I have for running, you will understand this. Running was my mode of transportation.
YR: What was your combination of aerobic running and anaerobic running?
GERRY: Aerobic running and anaerobic running were unheard of at the time. Most of the long miles I ran were at a rather slow pace; I would imagine 6 to 8 minute per mile pace, if not slower. I was not TRAINING, I was going somewhere.
YR: It is widely believed that you ran up to three times per day in high school. (200 or more miles per week). Is that true and when/for how long did you do this?
GERRY: Ron Clarke was writing a book and asked me how many miles a week I ran. It was such a new concept for me I didn't know what to say. I counted up my runs; 5-6 miles in the morning before school; running with the team in season or alone if out of season (15-25 miles); and of course my mid-night ten miler. Some days in the summer I would take a lunch and light out in the dark of early morning and run the entire day. I think the most I ran in a single day was around 125 miles. I ran to Mt. Spokane, 44 miles out of town; to a swimming hole 17 miles away; and even to a lake, 70 miles out of Spokane, to go swimming. I continued doing this for about 7 years.
YR: What is your philosophy on systematically developing young runners, based on your experiences?
GERRY: Based on my experience; I would develop fast speed before anything else. Get your young runners so they can run and teach them speed. The best runners every year are those who race out way too fast. My key to victory was that I always went out way too fast. Too fast erases every other race strategy out there. Everyone is hanging on for dear life or they give up.
YR: Do you think there is much difference between the kids of today and the kids of your time? What are they?
GERRY: Kids today live in FEAR that we didn't have back then. "What if" dominates their thinking in a negative way. Kids today do weightlifting to build a tough upper body because they live in fear of being a skinny, frail runner. Kids are afraid that if they race too fast they will get tired. Way too much fear and way too little COURAGE.
YR: What additional training did you do? For example, did you cross train, do form drills, weight lifting, etc?
GERRY: OH NO! I never did cross training or lifted weights or put anything between myself and my passion for running. There is NOTHING you can do with your running time that is better for you than running. Any other activity only pulls you down and erases passion.
YR: Did you race a lot in high school? How often do you think high school kids should race?
GERRY: I raced every week in high school; sometimes twice a week. In college I raced once a week usually. After college I picked my races to be one race every two weeks. That gave me time to recover. I raced just as fast as my legs would carry me. At the end of every race there was nothing left. I walked off the track completely spent! Two or three days were required to get my legs back. If I raced twice in one week I could really feel it. But I could do it and still run well. I did run only ONE event at any race. I did not run 3 or 4 or even 5 events like some runners are forced to do. I think I could develop best by concentrating on ONE RACE and mastering it.
YR: What do you think of the great coaches of your era; like Arthur Lydiard?
GERRY: Arthur Lydiard was a great coach. He brought a lot of fair runners into greatness. There were a number of good coaches in that era. Most of them were good because they had good athletes.
Dave Carlsson and Gerry
YR: Lydiard said there are champions in every neighborhood. Do you believe that?
GERRY: I believe Lydiard. There are champions in every neighborhood. Anyone can run to the very top. ANYONE! But you have to (a) start right, (b) think right, and (c) believe. Most runners get lost in one or more of those three steps.
YR: Let’s just say, for purposes of our talk that we have a group of boys and girls distance hopefuls, beginning at age 13, and 10+ years to work with them. What is your plan to develop them? We want to look at speed, strength, character, courage, karma, diet....everything. We can go over each topic as systematically as you want. If you want, please give me an overview of your vision and then we can talk about each step along the way. Arthur Lydiard told me that kids as young as 12 can do 90 minutes 3 times a week and 2-3 hours on Sunday, and a little less, plus some speed stuff, the other days. It seems like you did this, at a slightly older age, and took it to an even higher level. Do you agree with this approach?
GERRY: First: I disagree with Lydiard in this respect. Kids as young as twelve CAN run 90 minutes, and they can train hard to run fast, BUT they lose something in training hard at that early age. I had on my team a girl who at age twelve just missed the world mile record for her age group. But at 20 she just couldn't run.
AGE 13-15 I would start them off with picnic runs! Go together to a park or another special place as a picnic. Get them used to using their legs as TRANSPORTATION rather than for speed. I would probably start them off with a week of one mile runs to the park for the picnic and then find another place two or three miles out to run them on week #2. In 6 to 8 weeks I would plan to have them up to 10-15 miles of transportation running. The first 6 weeks would be the hardest, because in that time legs would be sore and the habit of running would be developed. After everyone is ABLE to run long transportation miles I would set up a really long run once in a while; like a 25 mile run to a SPECIAL destination and then back again. (a 50 mile day). BACK to the beginning once again. From the start I would set up a daily routine for my 'team.' We would meet at a certain time and everyone would run one mile on their own as a pre-warm up before we start, so that everyone is 'warm' when we gather together. I would have a pre-workout talk with them of around 5 to 10 minutes. In that time I would stress living for a cause greater than self. I would repeat every day that they should be running unselfishly for the benefit, happiness, and welfare of other people; forget self; think of what you can leave behind you as a legacy for others. I would instill in my team an attitude of role modeling. We run to teach other people the value of physical activity. In all things, be humble and appreciative; hurt no one; help anyone you can. Set a master goal for your running and for your life, I would tell them, so that the world will be a better place when you die than it was when you were born. I would probably keep them off speedwork and interval training for the first three years. But in those three years my team would become able to run ALL DAY without stress.
AGE 15+ THEY are 15 years old now. I would now introduce them to speed. Chasing bikes or cars during long runs would be the first step. We are running along a road somewhere and when we hit a certain point we SPRINT to another point. A bike goes past and we chase after it. Fun things, but hard work that requires courage and daring. I would introduce them to hard starts. We begin the run on an all-out sprint as fast and as long as we can go. Our goal would be to run the first mile of our run under 3-minutes and then keep right on going through 10 miles. I would introduce finishing sprint over the final half mile of the workout; another 3-minute mile effort.Cross Country racing would come into play now. We would take the time before each workout to plan strategies for racing. I would develop a "nickel plus two" team. Two fastest runners out front alone and then the next 5 in formation together. The two in front draw everyone out to a way-too-fast opening mile. The nickel allows nobody to penetrate or break up their formation, using short sprints to maintain their unseparated mass. They too would go out fast, and between the two fast ones in front and the fast nickel behind we would have race strategies that would make racing fun. Training at this stage of development would consist of mostly long runs still but during Cross Country season mileage would drop to around 75 to 100 miles a week. Two days of the week would be devoted to those speed workouts on the roads (first mile under 3-minutes; mid-run super-sprints; long finishing sprints; etc.) and five days would be allotted to slower 'recovery' runs and etc. I would emphasize teamwork here. The nickel can run as a team only because each member of the team sacrifices self for the benefit of the team. We stay together, initiate a sprint if anyone should try and penetrate the nickel from behind; sprint as one, should another runner be right ahead of the nickel; Run as a team; sprint as a team; pass as a team!
YR: Do you mean 3 minute mile or something else? Could you clarify that?
GERRY: Well, actually I was meaning 3-minute mile. I think that if I had the group from such an early age I would introduce impossible goals from the beginning.
YR: I'd like to go over an example of progression for an athlete doing your speed workouts, using the 3 minute mile goal model, and beginning at age 15. We can use the example of a very good boy who runs 5k in 16:00 and a very good girl who runs 5k in 18:00. How would you build up their 10 mile speedwork using the 3 minute mile goal? We know they can't actually run that fast, but believe that they can realize almost unlimited improvement. The starting point is; the boy can run 10 miles in 60 minutes and the girl can run 10 miles in 70 minutes. We have several years to work with these kids. How many weeks do you have the kids do the workout?
GERRY: You give me kids who can run 60 minutes for 10 miles and 70 minutes for 10 miles; You give me superman and wonderwoman! NICE. 10 mile runs would be the bread and butter of this program. If they can run 10 miles in 60/70 minutes then the next step is to add stress. A sprint start or a sprint during the middle of the workout would be nice. The purpose is to create more stress in the workouts than they will face in a race. Sprint first mile equates well to XC racing because in the beginning there is a big sprint in race situations. If we deal with extreme stress created in that first mile, when we get to races there will be an internal mechanism developed to DEAL with stress already in place.
ONE time a week we would RACE a time-trial over a 10 mile course. It would start with a sprint-first-mile and end with a sprint-final-half-mile.
TWO times during the week I would throw in a long run of 15 to 20 miles at a recovery pace. Those miles make the legs stronger.
TWO days out of the week I would 10-15 mile runs that go somewhere like to a park or something and then back; to use the legs as transportation, sort of!
TWO days of the week would be reserved for slow, shorter, recovery runs that allow the body to relax and rest.
ALL the other days of the week would be off days where I would encourage no running at all. I would try and avoid short sprint work or intervals for as long as possible. You get so little out of those workouts. If I could have races for the runners once a week or so, they could LEARN to race from running races and then practice at race pace during the weekly training.
YR: Do you have them run 10 miles every time or do you start shorter to develop a faster pace, and then build up the distance? Clearly, the kids will have to work on speed and strength for many years.
GERRY: I would start them right away with 10 mile runs. Get them used to the course so they know where they are going and how far they have run when they get to certain points along the way. I tell my runners, when I coach, that the Purpose of being a coach is to kill runners; that way they will not think I am not trying to kill them with my workouts. This program is designed for XC training; When coaching for TRACK SEASON I would still try to develop a BASE of 10-mile runs as in XC BUT instead of the TWO days set aside for 12-15 mile runs I would keep them on the track. ONE of those days would be working on PACE work intervals over 400/800m distances and ONE day would be working on 200m trying to run 22.5 so they could hit 45 seconds for the quarter and keep going. Reality, as we know it, is moldable. If you CHANGE your reality and BELIEVE in your change to reality, you change reality. If I have runners seriously working towards a 3-minute mile, the reality of a 3-minute mile being a possibility changes. Napoleon Hill said, "Anything in the mind a man can conceive and BELIEVE he can achieve." The hard part is believing it can happen to you. Most likely, my runners will never achieve a 3-minute mile. I think they may all be disappointed at 3:20 or 3:30. But even if they never break 4-minutes they will have accomplished something DYNAMIC! They will have created the possibility than now does not exist.
YR: You've covered beginning to develop courage in your speed training. Can you go more into developing courage in racing at a high level? Clearly, you had a high level of courage in racing. You beat Steve Prefontaine in an NCAA Championship race. Can that level of courage be taught? Please go into that level of personal commitment to excellence, when legendary champions push each other to higher levels of greatness.
GERRY: COURAGE is not a quality you teach. Courage is the by-product of self-discipline. It is an ATTITUDE. When you hit a certain spot you Sprint no matter how you feel inside or what your co-runner thinks. You just go! In training as a nickel, you sprint because you need to sprint! You just do it! In racing people see it and call it courage, but it is attitude; determination; duty. I would teach them to ALWAYS go into every race with a race plan. KNOW what moves you are going to make and when you are going to make them. Remember that I am not training these people to WIN RACES. Wanting to win races is detrimental to courage. You tend to run too conservatively because you want to wait and sprint. If you are there to force the pace, to CREATE greatness rather than to have greatness, Courageous moves are a part of your race.
YR: When you talked about teaching speed and the courage to go out too fast. Those are important qualities. In your plan, you don't introduce speedwork for 3 years. I think you have touched on the key. How useful is speed and courage in championship distance racing without that huge mileage base?
GERRY: First, about speed work; Speedwork is terribly overrated! I remember talking to runners after distance races and someone is sure to say they were able to run fast off base work with no speed work at all. The truth is speedwork doesn't work. Lots of miles, and then fast miles gets you there much quicker than speed work.
YR: One of your workouts would be “To run the first mile of our run under 3-minutes and then keep right on going through 10 miles”. It would probably take a while for your athletes to get to the full 10 miles, but would you consider this a 10 mile race and how often would you do these types of workouts? Is this, in part, to teach your athletes to have courage and to get over the fear of going out hard and dying?
GERRY: Running the sprint first mile and then time-trialing through an entire 10 miles is a workout that is done once a week. I would pick one day, like Monday for example, and every Monday the ten mile would be our big workout. Going out way too hard like that does several things for a runner. You are right; it teaches them that they can do such a thing when most distance runners think that is suicide running. Secondly, it teaches oxygen deprivation racing. If you put everyone into severe oxygen debt and you do it every week in practice and they are there for the first time, you have a big advantage over faster racers. Third, and most importantly, going out too fast like that establishes confidence. After a few of those runs you truly start to think 3-minutes for the mile is a possibility. YOUR possibility!
YR: Since no one will be able to run 3 minute miles, is your intention to keep your athletes focused on continuous improvement towards that goal so that improving from 7 minute miles to 6 minute miles to 5 minute miles are all checkpoints along the way?
GERRY: The 3-minute mile goal is to teach runners that the impossible is where goals should be set. Setting goals that have already been achieved is a cop-out. We are all Better than that! I would rather my runners are a big flat FAILURE at 3:30 than a whopping success at 4:10.
YR: You said you raced every week in high school and every other week in college. In your plan, how much would your athletes race?
GERRY: Ideally I would start by racing my athletes once every two weeks. But, such a program has to be flexible because some runners improve better with weekly races or even bi-weekly races. A coach has to adjust to what is best for the runner.
YR: I like your role-modeling and nickel plans. Did you do that in high school or is that something you learned later?
GERRY: My nickel plan was one I developed just this year. I might have an opportunity to coach a collegiate XC team next fall and I thought I should work on a plan. That is what I came up with. It seems most XC teams run with no plan; no cohesion.
YR" What, if anything, did you learn in your training that you would change?
GERRY: I can think of nothing I learned or did in my own training that I would want to omit in training other runners.
YR: What was/is your favorite part of the sport; training or competing?
GERRY: I always enjoyed the training more than I did the racing. There was a high level of anxiety in racing that I did not enjoy. Training runs set me FREE. I could imagine the race in my mind and race as if it were the actual race.
YR: You still hold the National high school indoor 2 mile record set nearly half a century ago. Why has that record lasted so long?
GERRY: That was one of the first records I set. I would have thought it would be gone by now. They timed 3K during that race and that too is a record that is still on the books. Kids run those races constantly and I am surprised they still exist. I think kids today are tied down with weight training and too much exercise. We 'train' rather than run and 'fear' too much to really let go and race.
YR: I remember Ron Clarke saying, when he was writing his book, something about being shocked by the amount of mileage you did. What kind of mileage did you do compared with your contemporaries?
GERRY: When I first came into international running, most runners did about 60-70 miles or running a week. I guess that is still the standard except for Kenya and Ethiopia. I was doing 150-250 a week and some weeks as high as 350. It was unheard of! But, because I did not have access to what was possible and standard, I had to set my own possibilities and standards. I was just lucky enough to be out of the loop and not know.
YR: I'd like to talk about some of the all time epic races in American history, that you made happen. Can you describe the PAC 8 cross country championship with Prefontaine, the AAU 6 mile world record race with Billy Mills, and your still standing high school 3k/2 mile indoor record? No interview could be complete without your comments on these historic events.
GERRY: 1. Pac8 XC race: At the Oregon/WSU duel XC race the week before I was coming back from an injury and Pre beat me on the muddy hills at Eugene. That was the first time he had ever finished ahead of me and really swelled his confidence enormously. At the Pac-8 championships at Stanford I shot out to an early lead and sprinted up a mile-long hill on the golf course. Just as I was cresting the hill, Pre caught me! He raced into the lead and I had to push hard going back down the hill to catch him. In the lead again I tried several sudden sprint moves to break him but he held on to me. We were neck and neck coming up a small steep hill near the finish. Up the hill I was spent. Pre got half a step on me and moved to cut me off from the finish line. I caught back up racing across that final quarter mile but again and again he stepped in front of me until I was against the crowd on the left side of the finishing line. At the tape I leaned and Pre went in standing straight up. That lean was the difference.
2. The AAU meet with Billy Mills: That was the year the NCAA demanded that all collegians boycott the AAU meet. I alone, stood up to the NCAA and ran. For weeks before the meet I was hounded by NCAA people with threats of what they would do to me if I ran. To make matters worse, I severely sprained my ankle a week before the race. News people were holding me up as a symbol of defiance to the boycott and I couldn't even run. At the meet I had to choose whether to run 3-miles or 6-miles. The three mile was first so I chose the 6-mile just to give my ankle a bit more time to rest. But when I started to warm up for the 6-mile my ankle hurt too much to run. I was trying to jog and Billy Mills ran up to me to jog with me. I did not want him to know how hurt I was. He had just won the Gold Medal in the Olympics at Tokyo and he would know he could beat me good if he realized how hurt I was. To get him away I told him I was going for the world record today. In surprise, he jogged away and I was free to feel my pain in private. When the race was called I still could not run without severe pain. I didn't know WHAT I was going to do. If I performed poorly, I knew the eyes of the sports world would be turned away from me. In that situation I knew the NCAA would crush me for sure. But if I could run well, they would not dare to hit me with everyone looking in my direction. I HAD to have a good race.I was bewildered with my situation as I jogged waiting for the start. Billy Mills ran up to me and said he would help me with the pacing. We agreed that I would take the first two laps and he would take the next two. Then we would alternate pace the same way through the first 5 miles. The race started and I went out at a good pace. Amazingly my foot did not hurt at all. I thought perhaps people with injuries could be subject to a starters gun to cure them. After my two laps I moved to the outside and Billy shot by me as if I were standing still! I strained to try and keep up for his two laps of lead. When it was my turn to take over, Billy not only refused to move out so I could pass on the inside, he held me off as I tried to get by on the outside. The crowd screamed at our fight. I had to run my entire two laps in lane two with Billy holding me off. Through the entire first 4 miles we bantered this way. Right before the 4 mile mark, when it was my turn to take the lead again, I figured out what Billy was doing. He was trying to psych me out by dominating me like that. When I took the lead at mile 4 I took over with a new sense of purpose. I sprinted the first lap at a near all-out sprint. We were on World Record pace so I didn't want to really sprint all-out as I had been known to do. I didn't want to ruin world record chances. When it was again Billy's turn to lead he did not take the lead as he had done before. In fact, he was so tired from my pick-up it took him most of a lap to catch back up. Our teamwork ended at mile 5 and I started to plan how I would race the final mile. I decided that I would sprint hard at mile 5 for one full lap, relax for the next two, and then sprint the final lap hard. So at mile 5 I did a REAL mid-race sprint and thought that would be the end of Billy. But at the end of that lap Billy came racing around me doing a sprint lap of his own. I struggled to just stay up. Two laps to go and we were still neck and neck. I sprinted that lap as if it were the final lap and still Billy stayed right there. At the gun Billy was on the inside pole position and I was on the outside. We both were in total sprint mode and not moving at all relative to each other. Around the final turn I dug deeper, tightened my turnover just a bit and started to pull away from Billy slowly. Then I started thinking! Billy was older; this was his last year as a runner. I was young and had lots of years ahead of me. I let up just a bit. In that moment Billy came back and even inched ahead just a little bit. NO, I thought! If Billy is going to win this race it will be over my dead body! I powered back in the final 20 yards. At the finish line I thought I was ahead of Billy but the photo timer and the finish judges didn't know that. They needed the photo-timer to determine the results: I had gone in straight up and Billy had leaned. Billy was 4/100'ths of a second ahead! Because photo-timing was a new thing and not that accurate we were both given the world record of 27:11.6 but Billy got the blue ribbon and I got the red.
3. Indoor 2 Mile record in HS. That winter was a dream for me. I had been invited to a meet in SF to race other high school 2-milers. I panicked running indoors with so many people screaming and ran 9-minutes flat for 2-miles. That broke the indoor American record by like 27 seconds or so. Coach was approached by other meet directors who wanted me to run in their meets too. So two weeks later I was in LA for a 2-mile open race. In that race I led through the first mile and then one of the other runners raced up on the curve and sprinted down in front of me. He cut me off coming in and I was forced to slow. Another runner cut me off and then another until I was running in LAST place. I run to inspire. I could inspire nobody in last place. So I started passing runners; first one then another, until I stepped ahead of the second place runner and saw Gaston Roelants, the world record holder in the steeplechase, up ahead. I sprinted after him in the final quarter mile of the race and got closer and closer with each lap of the track. I was right on his shoulder in the final lap but he held me off. I was beat! My time was 8:46 and that was a new high school world mark. Three weeks later and I was back at SF for another 2-mile race; this time Ron Clarke, the world record holder for this event, was in the race. I started with a furious sprint and Ron stepped right behind me. Through the first mile I led Ron (4:20). With about half a mile left to race, Ron suddenly stepped around me and sprinted! I chased after him but every step he seemed to extend his lead by just a little bit more. In the end I was nearly 3 seconds behind him (8:37). But my time (8:40) still stands as the high school world mark.
GERRY: Thank you for forwarding the material on Ron Clarke! I didn't know most of that. What I saw facing Ron Clarke in races was an unbeatable superman. I didn't know he had doubts just like I did.
YR: Are you coaching ultramarathoners now? Do you see differences between coaching for a 5k and coaching for 100 miles?
GERRY: I have coached ultramarathon runners in the past and several of them have done quite well. They are an easy bunch to coach because mileage is the ONLY factor. Usually an ultra-runner is self-motivated; wanting to go further than they did in their last long run; 20 miles this week; 35 next week on their longest run. The difference in coaching ultras from coaching 5K is aggression! In a 5K you have to go out MORE aggressive than anyone else in the race and run to KILL. In an ultra you go out calm and relaxed and run to survive.
YR: Some ultra athletes run 20-30 miles per week and others run 100+. Some like to do super long, easy runs on the weekend and get a lot of recovery the rest of the week. Your training was well suited for running ultras. Have you considered running them?
GERRY: I have never really considered trying to run ultras even though there are several good ones right here in Hawaii. Maybe someday.....?
YR: Even though ultra marathon training seems to feel easy (for example, 9-10-11 minute miles for 3-5 hours), it is faster than race pace for many. What is the best way to train for and race ultras? How about fueling for ultras? GERRY When I was racing, ultras had not been thought of yet. There had been a couple of crazy guys that ran across America but that was about all. When I ran all day runs I usually took a sandwich and an apple or orange and a can of soda in a brown paper bag (plastic came later). Usually by the time I stopped for lunch the bag had torn or fallen apart due to sweat, but sometimes I stopped with an intact bag.
YR: Did you worry about hydration and fueling when you were running high mileage?
GERRY: I didn't take extra water along and I was not concerned about dehydration. The FEAR of becoming dehydrated causes dehydration. As with so many things in our life, it is because we KNOW it is a problem that it is a problem. If you don't know, you can do anything without problems. But if you KNOW dehydration is a problem in long runs it becomes a problem in long runs. I have had no experience with fueling or pace for ultra running. Now they have jell-packs and such that to me seem crazy. By needing things to be just right for your ultra, things tend to go wrong. But if you just take off and do it without any preparation or knowledge, you can run an ultra every day and it won't hurt you. Humans are a TOUGH animal! We can do anything.
YR: I like your philosophy about creating wakes. It is very important to get more people active. Would you like to talk about that?
GERRY: On creating wakes: If you look at your life and compare your life to that of an evil person, you will find that in most regards both lives are the same. You don't live a longer life or live forever by being virtuous. Everyone dies whether one is good in their lifetime or evil in their lifetime. So virtue has no payback. Life is meaningless. When you die, you die! The only thing that lives beyond the grave is the wake you have created by the way you have lived your life; the goals you have set; the distance away from the normal you dared to tread. Goals should be impossible! You should tread FEARLESSLY where the brave dare not go. While every other runner is chasing a goal of the 4-minute mile YOU should be seeking a 3-minute mile. Tis better to fail miserably at 3:20 than to succeed beyond your wildest imagination at 3:50. Set a new standard. Change reality. Break ground to something new and different. That achievement will live forever just because you WERE somebody special! In that, our lives do not belong to us. This life is made to change all reality. We are here for the benefit, happiness, and welfare of a new reality; a new direction.
YR: What are your goals and objectives for the Hawaii Running Project?
GERRY: The Hawaii Running Project understands that running changes peoples attitude towards life. The project seeks to (1) establish running houses where runners can live and train towards international competition; and (2) bring in at-risk youth, emotionally challenged adults, etc. to join in a running program as a healing process. The project seeks to expand in whatever direction may be of benefit to the community.
More on Gerry
http://news.youthrunner.com/news/story/gerry-lindgren-pre-race-talk-2112006 http://www.cs.uml.edu/~phoffman/nats/gods1/lindgren.htm http://www.flickr.com/photos/thehappyrower/4771518639/ http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1079575/index.htm http://www.distancerunning.com/inductees/2006/lindgren.html http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerry_Lindgren http://www.dyestatcal.com/ATHLETICS/XC/2006/lindgren.pdf http://www.dyestat.com/3us/5out/Lindgren/index.htm