Experience with Owen Anderson's schedules? (Read 2136 times)



    I'm new in this forum and already answered a very old topic. Hope that it is OK to add it here as this is probably the right place to put it Big grin


    As I see it, Owen Anderson has a quite different approach to running compared to for example Jack Daniels. Anderson recommends doing super sets and marathon circuit training which is described in the below link as well.


    I've done super sets for marathon and marathon circuit training. Will be running Frankfurt marathon late this week. One of my friends ran Berlin Marathon where he'd used super sets. He was much faster for this event (3.07) than the other running pals who had done conventional training and who are faster on other distances.


    Note that it is possible to do the circuit training for marathon if you have access to a track:




    Do you think that it is too much to do the super sets and marathon circuit training if you have two quality sessions in a week and the average mileage is about 75 km?


    I feel pretty sure that Anderson's training ideas are just right for me. Jack Daniels' ideas are also fantastic but I really love the above challenging training types. Do any of you have experience with Owen Anderson's training? 





      Marathon circuits


      1)  Run 800 @ 10k pace


      2)  Spend 2 minutes doing strength non running stuff (I guess recovery)


      3)  Run 800 @ a bit faster than Marathon speed) (is a bit 5 sec - 10 -30???)


      4)  Spend 2 minutes doing strength non running stuff (I guess recovery)


      5)  Run 800 @ a bit faster than goal Marathon velocity (What is a bit faster - what is Velocity versus pace?)


      6)  Spend 2 minutes doing strength non running stuff (I guess recovery


      7)  Run 1600 @ goal marathon speed


      REstart @ step #2 for 3 total circuits


      Basically a Leg, Ab, back (core), shoulder and chest circuit workout inbetween running.  I do not understand the difference between Marathon Speed and Marathon velocity?  I have no idea what "a little" faster than marathon speed or marathon velocity is?  Does it really matter what order you do the non-running stuff or is it just to give you active recovery between running sets?


      What is cool about this workout - These non-running strength exercises are great stuff for runners to help reduce injury and run better - But we have a hard time finding the time to do them - So they are forced into the middle of a running workout.  I would do atleast a 4 mile warmup


      1x800 @ 10k

      3x800 @ a little faster than marathon speed (Maybe this is current marathon speed?)

      3x800 @ a little faster than goal marathon velocity (Maybe this is goal marathon pace?)

      3x1600 @ a little faster than marathon speed


      Roughly 800@10k + 9600@ a little faster than marathon pace = 10,400 meters or ~ 6.5 miles of speed work


      Add a little cool down and 11-12 mile or 18-20 km workout.


      I do not have an obvious answer to this workout - Honestly I think you should be doing stength exercises 2-3x a week - This is once?  Not sure I love the idea of not running (jogging) during recovery, but you are keeping your heart rate up and doing something of quality during the recovery period.

      Comeback #19    Comeback # 20 ... 5/12/18 Ice Age 50 Miler




        Marathon Superset


        Again I would see a 4 mile warmup


        3x(400@5k, 800@10k, 2000@MP) - 4 minutes easy jog between each superset 400+800+2000+(600-800) x 3 = 11,700 total + 1600 cooldown = 20 km total for run ~ 12 miles


        I think this is common enough - A superset with Vo2 ~ although it takes 2 minutes to hit max heart rate and you are starting the 400 rested each set, so I do not think you ever actualli hit max heart rate.  The 800 at 10k is faster than you have to run to hit LAT, so maybe it will touch both LAT and Vo2 and 2000 at MP - Seems logical enough.


        I wonder why the workout would not be 3x(800@10k, 400@ 5k, 2000@ MP)


        The 800 @ 10 would get your heart rate nicely evelated so that when you drop into your 400 @ 5k you hit max heart rate quickly.

        Comeback #19    Comeback # 20 ... 5/12/18 Ice Age 50 Miler




          If you plan to do just these 2 workouts - It will = 40k of you 75k - Where does the longer run fit in?


          I think these are good sometime workouts, but I do not like being shackled by specific workouts - I like to hit the purpose of the day.  I can do LAT or Vo2 or MP work 10 different ways - Some harder, some easier and often I know what the purpose of the days workout is, but I have no idea how I will acheive the purpose until I start running.


          I think if this is the training you have interest in --- you should do it.  You may find it suits you and your personality and training needs very well - We are all an experiment of one.  I can not see how you would not make progress with the plan -

          Comeback #19    Comeback # 20 ... 5/12/18 Ice Age 50 Miler



            Dopple Bock, thanks for your thorough answers.


            I simply don't know why Anderson uses different terms for the same thing. I'm absolutely convinced that the terms velocity and pace are exactly the same thing here.


            The reason why I like the marathon circuit training is because it is quite fun to run when you are totally exhausted and do nasty exercises in between. Otherwise I do very little strength training so for me it is rather nice to combine the two.


            You are absolutely right with the suggested running volume but I'm a bit lazy so for marathon circuits the total volume will be:

            1.5 km warm-up. 12 km tough running. 1.5 km cool-down = 14 km.


            Super sets: 1.5 km warm-up. 9.6 km tough running. 1.5 km cool-down = 12.6 km. Between the super sets, I simply take a break of 3-4 minutes instead of jogging as suggested by Anderson.


              Like I tried to elude to - We do best in training prgrams that are both sound training, but almost as important that we have passion for and will consistently train through.  There is some good stuff in the training - I think many people will see non-running stuff as misplaced - But it seems to have 2 purposes - Strength training you would not get otherwise and keeps the heart rate high + fatigues.


              If you end up with ~ 27k for the 2 workouts that would leave you 48k for the rest of the week ~ seems reasonable.

              Comeback #19    Comeback # 20 ... 5/12/18 Ice Age 50 Miler



                If you've done all the other homework, a gimmicky workout such as those might help you.  But you do realize that "a workout" or two will not make it or break it, right?  We have a workout such as 50/50 (50m sprint followed by 50m float) or 100/100; much like (in)famous Tabata sprints.  It's not THAT workout would make you able to run a good marathon or not but it's all dozen other workouts that had been put together in a balanced way that matters.  Anybody who says; "Do this workout and you'll be a success..." is, as Mark Wetmore would put it, a witch-doctor.  Frankly I don't think Owen Anderson knows, nor understand, much of TRAINING.  I think he likes to sit in front of the desk and play around with formula, coming up with a fancy workpouts and terms.


                  I took this as pabstars was going to do these weekly as his speed routine.  I see it as there is speed work - Mostly MP a bit of other stuff.


                  I also do believe some core / strength exercise is advantageous


                  Fianlly I took pabstars comment of his friend who is much faster @ 3:07 marathon meant that he/she is at a place in running where consistent mileage and some speed work each week is needed.  Is it the best?  Maybe not - But I would argue that if the training is enjoyable and followed progress can be made.  Compare it to "The best" training that someone hates and doe not do consistently and it might be better?


                  I as I posted earlier - I am not sure of what a little faster than MP - IS that fast enough to work on LAT?

                  Comeback #19    Comeback # 20 ... 5/12/18 Ice Age 50 Miler



                    Nobby415, it is my impression that Anderson is an acknowledged coach. He has also traveled to Kenya several times to study the running techniques of some of their top runners.


                    Dopple Bock, right now I'm reading Anderson's book Great Workouts for Popular Races. In this book, we have a couple of differences:


                    Marathon Circuit Training: The running parts are performed at 10K and goal marathon pace.

                    Super sets: 400@5K, 400@10K and 2400@MP


                    As far as I know, the guy who ran the marathon in 3.07 didn't exceed a mileage of 60 km any weeks. His training was based on a lot of high quality and he is a very experienced runner who is strong in long runs.


                    Back in 2003, I used super sets and my times exploded from 5K to half-marathon.  However, when I ran my fastest marathon in 2004, the program was based on a program from Daniels' Running  Formula. It is naturally logical that when you start making training schedules based on the principles of running gurus, performance must increase.


                      I can say that Nobby is likely the person on this board who has read and studied training techniques the most.  If you are trying to evaluate the top training programs and which ones have a lot of rubish in them - He would be my choice to listen to.


                      The biggest thing to understand is what the workout is trying to accomplish and if you think it is adequately accomplishing that goal.


                      General Aerobic Fitness


                      Technique and running form / efficiency


                      General foot speed




                      Vo2 max - max hear rate


                      Lactic Acid threshhold


                      I know a local coach who has his runners do 1 minute on 1 minute off and 2 on and 2 off at a very fast speed - maybe 1 mile to 3000 speed.  That is all the speed work they do - I believe this helps their running from and efficiency and touches their Vo2 max with the shorter rest.  I think this is far from ideal training, but for the right runner who runs consistently and does this workout 3 times a week for 3-4 months they have had great success.  I think it is imcomplete in its impact in all the areas to workout - But it has produced success.


                      Learning to run smooth and comfortable but fast when tired is an OK goal - But I do that by running.  Usually I do 8-12 mile warmup and then do my speed work of 8-10 miles with a 2 mile cool down.


                      I guess if you are asking me if I think it will work - I think it can provide possitive results if followed consistently - Do I think it is the best to follow - I personally would not follow it as it seems incomplete - But I am not you.

                      Comeback #19    Comeback # 20 ... 5/12/18 Ice Age 50 Miler



                        Nobby415, it is my impression that Anderson is an acknowledged coach. He has also traveled to Kenya several times to study the running techniques of some of their top runners.

                        All due respect, padstars, what gives you this "impression" that he's an acknowledged coach?  I have yet to name ONE athlete who has done well or win Olympic medal being coached by him.  I know a few people who had traveled to Kenya and "observed" what elite Kenyan runners are doing but that would NOT be a reason to listen to what they have to say about training.


                        Owen Anderson used to (I don't know if he still does) have a publication (monthly or quarterly newsletter) called Running Research News.  It was quite interesting and I used to subscribe to it.  But very quickly it became apparent, to me, that he was just putting ANYTHING together to make it interesting and keep it coming each issue.  I have discussed this with a guy by the name of Peter Snell, just in case if you didn't know who he is, he won 3 Olympic gold medals and 8 world records, now a renowned exercise physiologist, he said the same thing--that those people usually NEED to keep some interesting information coming to maintain the publication.  He (Anderson) has had some interesting writings and I liked them.  But he also had some garbage; to the point where I actually wrote to him to criticize for what he was doing.  He was writing some utter nonesense to spreading the wrong idea.  In fact, one of my friends did the same because here he is (Anderson), preaching "less is better, quality over quantity, look at what Kenyans are doing..."  And when you actually do look at what Kenyans are doing, you see 7-miles in the morning, 6-miles intervals mid-day, and another 8 mile run in the evening...  So what's so "less" or "lack of quantity" about that?  His conclusion was that Anderson already has an agenda that he wants to write and he would "claim" that he went to Kenya and observe what those guys were doing; and just clap his conclusion whether that's what they were really doing or not.  It is a poor journalism at best. 


                        Besides, I have NO interest whatosever to what top level Kenyan runners are doing in their training.  I don't think it has any bearing to what you should be doing as a 3-hour runner.

                          Nobby415, I can hear that you definitely know more about Anderson than I do Smile


                          I love his concept of a lot of quality and less quantity for average runners like me with a limited time for training but I'm completely positive that Lydiard's principles with a lot of mileage are better for elite runners.


                          Anderson is, at the moment, writing a book called The Science of Running which will be published by Human Kinetics in 2011 according to his new site http://www.educatedrunner.com/

                            I love his concept of a lot of quality and less quantity for average runners like me with a limited time for training but I'm completely positive that Lydiard's principles with a lot of mileage are better for elite runners. 



                            I had been criticized by my own runners for spending my time, posting something here at RA and not spending enough time with them though I had never received a dime from any of them (except Kristen has donated out of her goodness so thank-you, Wannabe!!).  But this is the kind of thread and comment I just cannot let go of.  I know it's just you don't understand and I know you have no ill-intention or anything negative at all.  I just do not understand, well-reputable guy like Owen Anderson (while I ripped him apart, I do recognize his position and background as well) don't bother to explain.  He SHOULD understand human physiology and he's basically suggesting something totally against it.  What's up with that...???


                            So here's how it works and, if you don't believe it, fine.  If you choose NOT to listen, I won't take it personally either.  It's your business.  But I just HATE the idea of hundreds and thousands of audience here read your comment and goes, "Huh?  That sounds good...  I don't have time and I'm sure as hell not committed to train like elite (like more than 5 days a week)...  His friend improved his marathon time so maybe I should try that..."  What you just described above ("I have limited time to train a lot of mileage like elite runners so I'll just do less quantity and a lot of quality as an averate runner...") is like planting a tomato bush in the end of September and think, "Well, I don't have luxuary of waiting for 3 months for this guy to grow and develop.  I think I'll just go out there every day and pull the tip of this plant...  It'll grow faster."  Would it?  Don't laugh about this analogy; that's EXACTLY what you're trying to do.  A lot of slow running is EXACTLY what you, as an average runner, need to do BEFORE you engage yourself with high quality workouts such as the one Anderson advocates.  Of course, yes, everybody is different (shut up, Jeff!! ;o)) in a sense that what they had done 3 month or 3 years or 13 years prior to doing it.  Your friend--I don't know--might have done the homework and had some level of fitness background to be able to handle Anderson workout before he improved his marathon time.  You might too IF you had done your homework of low-quality/high-volume work to begin with.  Just in case if you didn't know, that's what many Kenyan low-teen kids do!!  I don't know if Anderson traveled all the way to Kenya ONLY to observe their elite runners.  I know for the fact, the other guy, Toby Tanser who authured that excellent book, "Train Hard, Win Easy" or now "More Fire".  He actually talks about how Kenyan kids train....or live.  Without that background, what their elite runners do mean NOTHING. 


                            I'd be VERY curious to see if any research has been done to what happens to promising young enthusiastic runners if they only did low-volume/high-intensity type of training....10 years down the road.  I don't think there has EVER been a study like that done.  What researchers in white gown would do is to pick some average college kids and say, okay, we're going to divide you in two groups; one you'll do 3 weeks of all intervals (high quality low volume) and the other group you only do an hour of easy jog for 3 weeks.  Three weeks later, they'll put them in a 5k race and guess which one excell?  I would very much like to see a follow-up research done to these guys, maybe 4 months down the road, and see which group is still improving the half way, 2 months, which one has more injuries, which one is still enjoying running more....and then 5 years down the road, which one is still running and enjoying the activity.  And if such study has already been done, I'd very much like to see that.  It's not a research but I know a guy who actually did that when he was coaching a high school team.  He moved on to coach the first woman to go faster than 2:20 in the marathon.  Any experienced and knowledgeable coach would know the answer. 


                            Everybody is different (yes, yes, Jeff...!) in a sense that we all have different background and, yes, slightly different make-ups.  But we are ALL the same human being in a sense that we all have the same physiological reactions.  There's a reason why fast training makes you a fast runner.  But there are tons of other aspects that goes into that simple act of running faster.  Just because one person did one kind of workout and improve, that does not mean everybody should do THAT workout and get the same rate of improvement.  All the buildings and houses look different but they all have certain requirments in order to be a good safe sturdy house.  They all require solid foundation.  Regardless of how beautiful the house may be, if you build that on the sandy beach, it won't last too long, would it? 


                            Dr. Snell was one of the guest speakers at our Lydiard clinic in Boulder a month ago.  It was a 2-day event and he spoke on both days.  On the first day, his presentation was "How slow (long) running makes you fast" and on the second day his presentation was "How fast running (if done incorrectly) makes you slow"...  Contradictory?  Again, experienced and knowledage runners/coaches can understand exactly what that means.  To me, the thing about exercise physiologists is that they look into a very narrow scope.  How does this ONE aspect affect...  THAT is how they operate.  But nothing in life works alone; it's always interaction with other aspects.  Actually the fact one physiologist suggests one thing and other physiologist suggest the opposite, that sort of leads me to think that basically, we just don't really understand what's going on in our body yet.  And if I have a choice to listen to 2 physiologists, I'd opt to listen to the one who had done it himself and what he did actually won him 3 Olympic gold medals, 2 Commonwealth Games gold medals, 8 world records.

                              Nobby415, thanks for your thorough answers. When I talk about a low mileage, it is above 70 km a week which, in my eyes, is high for an average runner. As I wrote earlier, my fastest marathon was based on a Daniels program, so naturally I have a solid base. I wouldn't do so much running without having read quite a bit about running. Note the following:


                              1. According to Brad Hudson, former marathon runner Steve Jones did a relatively low mileage.

                              2. Bruce Tulloh, former European record holder in 5K did 28 miles a week the last 10 weeks before setting a European record in 3 miles.

                              3. Brad Hudson's program for master runners has just 3 runs a week + cross training and strength training.


                              I'm pretty sure that if I cut down quality with the same mileage, my times would become slower. If it was possible for me to run 150 km a week, I would become much faster; I totally agree with you here.


                              My favourite work-out is definitely Anderson's super sets; I'm not saying that it objectively is a better work-out than so many others but for me it feels just right. The same goes for his marathon circuit training.


                              I'll be leaving for Frankfurt in 7 hours, so I won't be able to answer comments until I'm back on Monday.


                              Again, thanks for having taken the time to give such detailed answers.


                                Is there a list of names out there somewhere of runners who had success off 'relatively low mileage'?  So when someone doesn't want to run much, they just say "oh yeah!?!?  Well (insert name from list) trained this way and they were successful!"