Written primearily for Runners’ World forum of beginners.
First to get some things out of the way.
Foremost. I’m getting some people writing me saying that I’m mispelling peace of advice and other sentances and words. And I will say that I am not of the finest educational background.
My father, God and Jesus rest his holy soul, was a Baptist preacher and raised us going to revivals. He homeschooled me and my brother Gary. I pretty much recite the whole Bible so that should balance out with my lack of proper grammer.
Now that is settled.
To the beginner runners out there.
First and of the most vital is that I am a 3:55 marathoner. I know that doesn’t make me an elite runner in the sense that I could only keep up with the Kenyan runners for probably 5 miles of a 10K, but a couple at the guys in my church fellowship tell me I’m close to subelite status. One of them is named John Salter. He is a 4:45 marathon runner and I take him to the task out on the roads. He’s always like “Tandy. How do I take my running times down from the 4:45s to the 4:30s?” So I wrote him a plan that I want to share with you beginners. You can write me if you also have more followups and maybe I can help you too, beginners.
Basically, I told him to stop drinking so much beer. Salter is a man of wine and women. I said “Hey Salter. You can’t drink every night and sleep and do whatnot if you want to become a subelite marathoner like me.”
So I am having him go to bed around 9 oclock at night. I call him to check in and make sure he’s not at the bar and doing the drinking and women thing. He doesn’t like that much and tells me to stop calling him.
Anyway. To the next section which is shoes.
I have read Born to Run four times and have heard the author Christopher McDougal speak on several occasions. Beginners, I have to tell you first and fourmost to stop wearing shoes and take it down to Vibrams five fingers and then to barefeet. As a point of honesty, I live in an area of town that is like Grand Tourino and there is glass and sharp rocks all over the place. We even got gangs and sometimes I feel like Clint Eastwood but I don’t own any guns and I sure as heck am not a papist pope worshiper.
So beginners, no shoes and get good sleep.
to the third part of my advice here is proper long runs. In order to run a sub elite time in the marathon you have to do a lot of sprints followed by a long run. I recommend, beginners, that you start at 5 miles and then take it up to 6 or 7. About three weeks before the marathon, take it to 8 or 9.
"But the marathon is 26 miles"? you ask? "Yes but this is where the sprints come into the factor I say."
To make up for the other miles, you need to try out sprinting. Bingham won’t tell you it, but an African will. African runners do a lot of sprints upwards of 100-300 meters in length. This is about one football field. Before I ran the subelite times I didn’t do any sprints.
How do I know about Africans?
My dad and Gary went on a Christian mission to Rewanda in 1983. We saw a lot of sprinting there and barefoot running and no drinking too. These guys are good. Damn good runners. And that’s why Rewanda is always coming in second behind Kenya in the Olympics.
So no beer, 8 mile runs, no shoes and sprints.
As beginners I hope this helps you out. Salter tells me I should start a book with this stuff and that it’s really helping him.
Good luck, beginners.