Base Training for the 800 m Runner

Peter Snell: "And Sebastian Coe, I think there’s been some misinformation about what he actually did, too."

A study of elite 800 m runners
To follow is the reported base training for some of the greatest 800 m runners ever. The athletes are Olympic Champions, World Champions, World Record holders and other medalists at the world championship level. Others have just run very fast and close to the world best time for their era.

Any feedback will be gratefully accepted at

Runner's World:
That basic conditioning - running high mileages - is the foundation of your success with Snell, Halberg and the athletes you've influenced through the years, but doesn't it seem that the tide is turning more in the other direction, with more athletes and coaches, emphasising quality over quantity? How do you account for Seb Coe, who is primarily sprint trained?
Arthur Lydiard:
Let's face it, if he's telling the truth and runs only 50 miles per week, which I very much doubt... I can't see that he does that on 50 miles of fast running. Our athletes trained near their aerobic capacity. What he's saying is that he runs 50 miles a week anaerobically and I don't believe it. That's what they did years ago, and that's why my athletes beat everyone. You can't put the clock back. So I don't think he's telling the truth. That's my opinion.

Runner's World:
Are you saying the effects of doing too much anaerobic work are irreversible?
Arthur Lydiard:
They can undermine your health and retard your potential development, if that's what you mean. We know this to be physiologically true. You have to do anaerobic work to get optimum results. But it only takes four to five weeks, not months, to develop your anaerobic capacity to its maximum. And the coach and athlete must know in what intensity it must be used, and when to stop. I believe many of America’s potentially great runners have never seen optimal results because of the lack of understanding of the physiological effects of anaerobic training.
Runner's World - February 1981

Peter Snell: And Sebastian Coe, I think there’s been some misinformation about what he actually did, too.
Source An Interview with Three-Times Olympic Gold Medalist Peter Snell - with Rich Englehart

Below is a link/quotation to a scientific study on steady state and interval training - good read
I am convinced that our focus must be on longer bouts of exercise as the foundation of our training program. This is easily understood by you marathoners, but may be surprising news to you 1000 meter rowers, middle distance runners and, pursuit cyclists.
Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Steve Ovett

Major Achievements 800 m 
1980 Olympic Games Gold Medal 
1974 European Championships Silver Medal
1978 European Championships Silver Medal
Made 3 Olympic Finals over 800 m
Personal Best 
1.44.1 (1978) Age - 22
Base Training
Reportedly 80 to 100 miles per week (or more).

"Harry Wilson’s (Ovett's coach) training ideas included a very long, 24 week, base period where aerobic development was stressed. During this period aerobic runs were done that were either easy (recovery), medium, or fast “steady-state” runs. By looking at other sources, it can be seen that easy steady-state runs were done at 7minute pace, medium paced aerobic runs were probably done at 5:45-6min pace, and hard aerobic efforts done at around 5:20-5:30 pace. These paces are based on 5mi and 10mi runs recorded by one of Ovett’s training partner (35min for 5mi, 58/60min for 10mi, 52-55min for 10mi). 

In addition to this aerobic training during the base period, a small amount of anaerobic training and pure speed is done. This is done to “keep the fast-twitch muscle fitness ticking” and to “remind your body of the other energy process.” 

The mileage during this period for a runner such as Steve Ovett was reported to run an average of 100mpw with a high of 120."
Source Harry Wilson's Training

NOV-MAR 1979/80

a.m. 10 miles road - 57/60 mins
p.m. 10 miles road - 54/55 mins
a.m. 5 miles road - Easy 35 mins
p.m. 10 miles road - Fast/steady 52/53 mins
a.m. 10 miles road - Hard on road 4 x 300m approx with fast jog rec then across another very steep hill, 4 x 400m approx jog rec.
a.m. 10 miles road - 58/60 mins
p.m. 10 miles - Plus technique work at Crystal Palace
a.m. 5 miles road - Easy 35 mins
p.m. 10 miles road - Steady 55/58 mins continuous
a.m. 5 miles road - Easy 35 mins
p.m. 5 miles road - Easy 35 mins
a.m. 5 miles road - Easy 35 mins
p.m. 6 x 1000m park - Hard with 30 secs 1 min rec (in spikes)

Source British Milers Club

Arthur Lydiard: Ovett, of course, admits he does big mileages. But if you think anyone is going to succeed on what Coe says - 50 miles per week of anaerobic running - well, I'm sorry, I just don't believe it.
Source Runner's World February 1981

In a program Harry Wilson wrote for a 1.56 (800) 4.04 (1500) man - the total is 73 miles per week
Source Complete Guide to Running by Wilson, Alford, Holmes and Hill

"The only hard anaerobic work you may need to do in the base period are cross country races." - Harry Wilson
Source I know I read it somewhere - will track it down one day. Found it - Running Dialogue P.31 published 1982 by Harry Wilson

"I trained with Ovett in the BMC, Southern and National Camps from 72 until 76. They were all typical conventional sessions at Merthyr Mawr and Crystal Palace. Loads of 300s at race pace with 100 jog, I got out to 22. Steve usually stopped at 15-18. 4x1000m cross country off 2 or 3 mins, 4x1mile cross country off the same. Sometimes I beat him sometimes he demolished me. I used to rest for 2-3 days before so i could attack him properly. We also did turnaround 100s. 5 sets of 4 with 100 walk between sets. 25 secs, 20 secs, down to 5 secs ie nothing! The aim was to win as many as possible. Bernie Ford used to speed march the walk so that we got no rest!!! Steve usually won about half by accelerating the last 10m. If i was lucky I won one or two of the early ones by going hard from 15m out and then sometimes the last couple on strength, but the 5k boys were hard here too. needless to say each set got faster!!! Typically we would run 14+ as a group on a Sunday if we were not doing something on the track. 

Sandune stuff was conventional. after the Olympics in 76 in October we ran 20 mins continuous and I lapped everyone. To be frank I nearly cried with frustration that I had not got there. Normally we ran 3 or 4 times a long circuit the first day followed by the big dipper, where Steve was awsome and then 3x2mins on the second day followed by the small dipper. 

I remember that in 78 Steve and I ran the long way there and back twice on the Saturday - so about 14 miles each session. Cherry Hanson ran back with us - what an athlete she was. Where is she now??? On the sunday we did 300s on the beach with a jog back. 15 I recall. Paul Williams and I were lapped on about 9. I remember that this was the most awesome I ever saw Steve in training. Often he could be handled and made to yield, but when he was good, he was magic to be with. he seemed to run a foot taller when he was flowing. "

Glen Grant - training partner 

1980 800 m Olympic Final - 6 min 04 secs
Steve pumps out a controlled 50.6 last lap - must have been in 1.43 shape that day.

1981 - Setting a new mile world record - 58 secs


Steve Cram

Major Achievements 800 m 
1986 Commonwealth Games Gold Medal 
1986 European Championship Bronze Medal
Personal Best 
1.42.88 (1985) Age - 24
Base Training
After an initial 2-3 week build-up in mileage during October, Steve would gradually approach a maximum weekly mileage of 80 miles, although the average during this 22 week period may approximate to 60-70 miles per week. 
Typical Training week in October
Mon-Thur: am 4-5 miles, pm 5-8 miles group road run
Fri: Rest or 5-8 miles easy
Sat: Competition or 8-10 miles competitive group session
Sun: 10-14 miles
At no stage in the 22 week endurance period did Cram train on a track.
Source british milers club news 
Steve Cram:
"Despite what some coaches might say, the majority of past successes were built on a sound endurance background forged by most on the mud and hills of strength-building cross-country events. Bypass this as an integral part of a competitive foundation and you automatically reduce the chances of sustained success on the track from 800m up to the marathon."
1985 Zurich 800 m. Clash with Joachim Cruz - 4 min 24 secs
What an amazing year Steve Cram had in 1985

Peter Snell

Major Achievements 800 m
1960 Olympic Games Gold Medal 
1964 Olympic Games Gold Medal - Olympic Record
1962 Commonwealth Games Gold Medal 
World Record (on grass)
Personal Best 
1.44.3 (1962) Age - 23
Base Training
"... Stamina was going to be the key in Tokyo.
I began running twice per day - half an hour in the morning and an hour and a half at night - aiming to reach 100 miles as soon as possible. I made it after two weeks, training mostly with Barry McGee...
I could never run more than three consecutive weeks of 100 miles but over 10 weeks I logged a total of 1012 miles - the greatest amount of distance running I have ever done. And whatever my progress during the week, I made absolutely certain that I covered the 22 mile Waitarua circuit every Sunday right through the 10 week period. That was one part of the training I couldn't afford to miss.
I approached the distance build up carefully, studiously avoiding any speed running... I don't think I ever ran faster than six minute miles."
Snell won two Gold Medals in Tokyo (1964 Olympic Games).
Source No Bugles No Drums - Snell's autobiography.
Snell used to also include short sharp sprints in the form of a fartlek on the Wednesday afternoon.

1960 800 m Olympic Final - 63 secs
Three from three - unparalleled success.

Peter Snell's place in history.

Nixon Kiprotich

Major Achievements 800 m 
1992 Olympic Games Sliver Medal 
Ranked No.1 in the world over 800m in 1993
Personal Best 
1.43.31 (1993) Age - 21
Base Training
"...throughout December and January I'll train Monday through Friday, running about 15 kilometres at 10 a.m. and another eight kilometres at about 5 p.m. each day. It's all easy, aerobic running - at about four minutes per kilometre -with no speed work at all. Saturday and Sunday are rest days." 
" I've found through trial and error that if I don't do my base work and build up my aerobic capacity properly, I have a very hard time maintaining my fitness during the competitive season. Without the base, I just can't sustain fast times for very long; I lose my 'peak' quickly"
(Train Hard Win Easy - The Kenyan Way by Toby Tanser suggests Kiprotich ran 140 km during the base period)
Training for juniors
"The high school and college kids should be patient and wait for their time to come. If they try to train the way I do now, they will definitely get injured. When high school runners come to me and ask what to do, I tell them 'Just do two difficult workouts per week. Do not attempt to train hard every day.' I recommend moderate workouts -30 minutes of relatively easy fartlek running, 300-metre intervals in 45 seconds or so, hill workouts with 10 repetitions, etc. Young 800-metre runners should avoid the temptation to try to progress too fast."
Source Peak Performance -
1992 800 m Olympic Final - 7 min 52 secs
Olympic Gold Medalist William Tanui was wavering between the 800 and 1500 before 1992. 

Yuriy Borzakovskiy

Major Achievements 800 m 
2004 Olympic Games Gold Medal
Ranked No.1 in the world over 800m in 2001
Personal Best 
1:42.47 (2001) Age - 20
Base Training
Borza's coach says Borza was doing 110 km a week with a max of 12-14 km runs, but also said "Although he (Borzakovskiy) was telling me about how he liked to do longer runs a lot. 20, sometimes even 30 kilometers around the village." 
Conflicting stories there.
Also, although he said they don't chase volume and don't count the kms, he did say that "during the preparatory period, we try to get 16-18 kilometers and up to 20 km when he (Yuriy) trains twice a day" 
(That is roughly 126 km (7x18) or 78 miles per week and that total doesn't include any 30 km runs.)
Source Trackchat Forum
2004 800 m Olympic Final - 5 min 46 secs

Dave Wottle

Major Achievements 800 m 
1972 Olympic Games Gold Medal
Equal World Record
Personal Best 
1.44.3 (1972) Age - 22
Base Training
"While he admits that he was mostly just blessed with really good speed (an understatement), he did run 70-80 miles a week for the most part when his training was going well.
An interesting side note is that Dave actually considered himself a 1500m runner. He only ran the 800m at the Olympic trials b/c the 800m happened to fall on the same day that he was supposed to do a speed workout. His coach told him to run it and if he made it into the final, he'd continue. If not, he would just do more for his workout. Of course, when he made the final and then won the trials while tying the world record, the 800m quickly became his focus."
Source Forum on Dave Wottle -

"It was at college I met my coach Mel Brodt and I was under him at the Olympics in Munich. He used the moderated marathon system that Snell used and he is a very good coach, very intelligent about track."
"I started on my comeback about May to June 1971. When I came back to school early in September we did 120 miles for the first two weeks then slacked off to where we had a base of 90 to 100 miles a week; then when the championships came up we dropped to 75 to 80 miles per week. After cross country season we took about a month off then started track indoors."
And during the season
"I would say a typical week would be 75 to 90 miles per week; it rarely varies during the season. 
Our workouts are a system of Hard, Hard, Hard, Easy, Easy, Easy for a week. These are the things I would use if I coached.
Monday is a distance day where we do mile and two mile repeats. Tuesday is a speed day; we'll do 440 stuff. Wednesday - a pace day; we will do various things from 330s to 660s. Thursday we start to slackening off. Friday we slacken off, Saturday - we race"
Dave usually raced three times on the Saturday- mile, half mile and a relay.
(Dave's daily description of his training wasn't H, H, H, E, E, E as he initially said, more H, H, H, E, E, Race. I am just transcribing what is in the magazine)
Source Marathon and Distance Runner (Magazine) April 1986 - p.41

1972 800 m Olympic Final - 4 min 47 secs

Alberto Juantorena

Major Achievements 800 m 
1976 Olympic Games Gold Medal 
World Record
Personal Best 
1.43.5 (1976) Age - 26
Base Training
Juantorena used the periodization method, brought to Cuba by Zabierzowski and foreign coaches after the revolution. What Juantorena calls his "General Training", from October through February, was designed to build up his overall stamina. He says the training was tough. "We used to train on sand hills, two times day, up to 25 kilometers a day; 15 km in morning, 10 km in evening." 
After several months of this stamina work , Juantorena began specific training.
Source Running With Legends

"My coach started me running that season with the distance runners. Suddenly, I'm doing 15 kilometre runs, which I was surprised I found so easy, as after some physiological testing he was convinced that I could run the 800m in Montreal, too, and because of my speed and strength win it. I wasn't so sure."

1976 400 m and 800 m Olympic Finals - 3 min 44 secs

Joaquim Cruz

Major Achievements 800 m 
1984 Olympic Games Gold Medal - Olympic Record
1988 Olympic Games Silver Medal
Personal Best 
1.41.77 (1984) Age - 21
Base Training
For two months - Re adaption Period
Week 1: three miles every other day
Week 2: five miles every other day
Week 3: four miles every day
Week 4: six miles every day (68 km per week)
Week 5-8: six miles every other day, plus 1.5 - 2.0 hours easy running and gymnastics every other day
Then Cruz did three months of Basic Preparation where he ran no more than 55 miles (88 km) per week
Source Runner's World, December 1984 - page 93

The follwoing supports the reported training for weeks 5-8 above
In the fall, de Oliveira had him begin with two-hour sessions of constant running interspersed with jumping and gymnastics. In the winter he did long-distance runs, weightlifting, mountain running, intervals, fartlek, uphills, speed drills, tempo runs and circuit training

"I spent a couple of hours talking in person with Joaquim Cruz on his training. He was very gracious, open, and down to earth.
During his base phase he ran 10-11 miles a day in singles 7 days a week. Oliveira told him to run 10, but he usually ran 11. He ran lots of his base at 5:20/mile and only run slower if he was particularly tired. As he approached the pre-competitive period he would often run 4:40 every other mile. So, he was a moderate mileage runner during his base phase at 70-80 miles a week with lots and lots of LT work."
Source letsrun forum - how reliable is this? You be the judge.

1984 800 m Olympic Final - 5 min 17 secs

Benson Koech

Major Achievements 800 m 
1992 World Junior Champion
World Junior Record 1.44.77
1994 Ranked number 1 in World over 800 m
1995 IAAF Grand Prix 800 m winner
Personal Best 
1.43.17 (1994) Age - 20
Base Training
Koech twice won the Junior National and Provincial Cross Country Championships. 
2 or 3 sessions per day in the build up. 140 km per week maximum. 100 km per week during the competition period.
Undulating dirt road and dirt track used.
Source Train Hard Win Easy - The Kenyan Way by Toby Tanser

Japhet Kimutai

Major Achievements 800 m 
World Junior Champion
1997 World Junior Record 1:43.64
Personal Best 
1.42.69 (1999) Age - 20
Base Training
This base training was reported when Japhet was 18 with a personal best of 1.45.63. He was to run 3 seconds quicker, but I don't have a record of his training at that stage.
110 km per week training twice per day.
"Cross Country build up is very important for me"
Japhet did three months of good cross country training. 
From November to March is cross country training with steady running with a longest run of 60 mins.
Source Train Hard Win Easy - The Kenyan Way by Toby Tanser


Pekka Vasala

Major Achievements 800 m 
European 800 m Record Holder (0.2 off WR)
Ran final 800 m of Olympic Games 1500 win in Munich in 1.49 
Personal Best 
1.44.5 (1972) Age - 24
Base Training
Training for the 1972 season, twice a day, seven days a week, 12 months a year, 130 miles a week (maximum). In may 1972, Vasala ran an "easy" 29.06 10 000m. 12 weeks later he became the European 800 metre record holder at 1.44.5.
The longest single run was 37 km which he did twice. 
In the year leading up to the 1971 track season he averaged 77 km per week. In the year leading up to the Olympics, he averaged 144 km per week. 
Source An article on Pekka Vasala - not sure of the magazine or book it came from. I have it in hardcopy.
1972 1500 m Olympic Final - 1 min 50 secs

Jim Ryun

Major Achievements 800 m 
World Record based on 880 yard time
Personal Best 
1.44.3 (1966) Age - 19
Base Training
"His training mileage went as high as 120 miles a week." p.159
"Timmons calculated that Jim had run 4,380 miles in the past year, an average of 12 miles each and every day of the whole year." p. 71
"Jim and his teammates ran... a distance of 16 miles over many hills, in one hour and 38 minutes." p.35
"For as long has Jim Ryun has run there has always been the early morning cross country run." p.205
"Ryun heads for different routes away from Lawrence each morning, and when traveling looks for interesting places to run. It is a way to combat the boredom of endless hours of running." p.208
Source The Jim Ryun Story - autobiography - published prior to the Mexico Olympic Games

An example of Ryun' s base work in winter [February 20 to February 26, 1966] 106 miles/week - may be found from the Trackchat Forum
Here it is below
Base Work in Winter [February 20 to February 26, 1966] 106 miles/week 
February 20 [14.5 miles] 
AM 5 miles - strides 
PM 20x440 
4.5 miles - strides 
February 21 [17 miles] 
AM 5 miles - strides 
PM hill work - 6 times series 
1. up 200 yard hill (steep) 
2. stride 880 on top, controlled sprint down (gradual incline 
3. stride 440 flat 
4. sprint 6x50 and 3x220 with strides between each 
February 22 [15 miles] 
AM 5 miles - strides 
PM 5x2 miles (reverse route each time) 
February 23 [12.5 miles] 
AM 5 miles - strides 
PM 10x880 (jog 440 between each) 
February 24 [15 miles] 
AM 5 miles 
PM run golf course - 36 holes worth 
February 25 [16 miles] 
AM 6 miles 
PM run golf course - 10 miles 
February 26 [16 miles] 
PM 16 miles on roads 

Ryun ran over 70 miles in the second last week leading up to a mile World Record in 3.51.3
Source The Complete Middle Distance Runner by Watts, Wilson and Horwill 
Ryun did a lot of anaerobic work and he and his coach concede that they over did it. 
An interesting insight into Ryun's training with some input from his son.

Let's look at Ryun's 880 yard World Record
He ran 1.51 in a preliminary heat less than two hours before it. 
He wasn't going for the world record. 
He won the race by three seconds 
He had not run under 1.50 up until then. 
He usually warmed up for an hour but only 15 mins for this race. 
The track was asphalt and was run at 4 pm in the heat of the day. 
During the race he wanted to save himself for the mile race the next day and ran the first lap comfortably.
His 220 yard splits were - 26.2, 27.1, 26.1, 25.5 (probaby a 1.44.3 800 m)
The last 220 yards was the fastest. 800s just aren't run this way.
What if he went through in 24.2? 
The last 200 should be the slowest not the fastest. 
And look at the preparation... 
2 weeks of 85-90 mile weeks, then cut it back for two or three weeks (see the link above for the training leading up to that amazing run)
At 300 to go he took off and "kept looking around because I couldn't believe they were so far back". 
He was very surprised at the time and so was his coach.
He struggled badly in the mile the next day. 
Source: The Jim Ryun Story (autobiography) 

1967 1500 m World Record - 4 min 10 secs

Major Achievements 800 m 
Although known as a miler, Elliott achieved success over 800 m.
1958 Commonwealth Games Gold Medal
Ran fastest half mile time ever in Europe (to that point), half a second behind Olympic Gold Medalist Tom Courtney's World Record.
Estimated to be one second off the then 800 m World Record

Personal Best 
1.46.7 (1958) Age - 20 (estimated from 880 yard time of 1.47.3)

Base Training
Five months
Long Hard runs usually between 8 to 16 km with the occasional 32 km (say one a month). Fast efforts around a golf course (with fast efforts varying from 100 m to 1500 m). Hill Running and repetitive runs up sand dunes.
60 to 80 miles per week. Training was intense.
Source Athletics The Australian Way, and Australian Runner and Athlete - The Cerutty Legend (article)

"In the winter and spring of 1957 I must have run 2500 miles in training and lifted thousands of pounds in weights" p.61
Source The Golden Mile - Herb's autobiography

Halberg and Herb went for a 15 mile training run. 
Murray Halberg:The run developed into quite a torrid battle. Herb and Dave (Power) applied the pressure and ran faster and faster. It reached the stage where everyone had had enough, and crawled thankfully into the van - except Herb. He ran several more miles by himself. His natural strength for running was just fantastic.

"Training became a pleasure at Bosun. often when I thought I'd been running for only 45 minutes I would discover that I'd been out for two and a half hours, a sure sign that i'd been enjoying myself" P. 98 The Golden Mile - by Herb Elliott.

Of his sessions with Derek Ibbotsun - "We'd run two brisk laps through the pine forest, a distance of six miles, and then race to the track. There we might start of with a half mile at 3/4 pace until the tempo might increase to full pace, then jog 220 yards at, stretch out again over three quarters of a mile, jog 440 yards, then run flat for 440 yards. There's not a shadow of a doubt that such severe sessions as these in the exhilarating atmosphere of the Bosun prepared me physically and spiritually for my Scandinavin usccessses" P. 98 The Golden Mile - by Herb Elliott.

Here is Herb's training when he was 18 for the winter
Mon: A ten mile run at any pace I felt like setting, always finishing hard over the last two miles or so
Tue: Six or seven miles in the morning. Weight lifting in the evening
Wed: Ten miles hard against the clock
Thu: same as Tue
Fri: rest
Sat: faster 'fun' workout at lunchtime on the track. A hard five miles in the evening
Sun: eight to ten miles in the morning, eight to ten miles hard in the afternoon.
the two weight lifting sessions were presumably low reps heavy weights
Source The Golden Mile p. 147

As the track season approached, Herb would do repetitive runs at race pace over varying distances, and run hard efforts for the hoped for time of his race (three and half minutes) to develop mental toughness.
Source The Cerutty Legend - Australian Runner (Magazine) - Forget the page number and year (but I wrote the article)

For four days during the work week, resting only on Friday, he had lifted weights and run 10 miles every day through Melbourne's abundant parks. Now he would run some 50 miles over the weekend

1960 1500 m Olympic Games - 2 min 37 secs
Ralph Doubell

Major Achievements 800 m 
1968 Olympic Games Gold Medal - Equal World Record
Personal Best 
1:44.3 (1968) Age - 23
Base Training
Franz Stampfl - coach of Doubell.
"It (long distance running) has always been enormously important. Long distance running provides an essential basis before going onto interval training. My distance athletes at the present time would do 7-10 miles a day in addition to interval workouts"
"There was a chap who wanted to make an athletic comeback. I sent him out on twenty mile runs every day and I was way ahead of Lydiard with this straight out long running" (for a three mile runner)
Source An interview in 1983 by Brian Lenton in Through the Tape
Doubell also states in R4YL magazine that he did a big base and said Australian 800 m runners today aren't doing one. 

Attached Image 
Attached Image

Vebjørn Rodal

Major Achievements 800 m 
1996 Olympic Games Gold Medal - Olympic Record
1995 World Championships Bronze Medal
Personal Best 
1.42.59 (1996) Age - 23
Base Training
Three longs runs per week - with one up to 2 hours. 
I presume those easy long runs were a lot longer than 30 mins as Rodal has differentiated between "30 mins" and "long". Can we assume one hour? 
Monday 30 min jog and flexibility 
Tuesday Easy long run 
Thursday Easy long run 
Saturday 1h 30 min Aerobic long run
Example week from basic training from November-March 
Monday 1) 30min aerobic run 2) long intervals aerobic ex 10x400+2x200 
Thursday 1)30min aerobic run 2)Springy (like described earlier) 
Wednesday 1) 30min aerobic run 2) Anaerobic quality ex 3x600m, rest 10-12min 
Thursday 1) Cirkel strength (traditional exercises) 2) Long intervals aerobic like Monday 
Friday 1) Rest 2) Anaerobic sprint 3x150m + 3x120m + 3x100m, rest 3-5min 
Saturday 1) Strength work (like described earlier) 2) Rest 
Sunday 1) Long run 45-60min in spring an 2 hours in autumn. 2) Rest 
The morning run of 30min is done like this 10 fast 10 slow 10 fast. 
You see it is very much quality year round every element is always present 
Source Trackchat Forum
1996 800 m Olympic Final - 8 min 17 secs


Andre Bucher

Major Achievements 800 m 
2001 World Championships Gold Medal
Personal Best 
1.42.55 (2001) Age - 24
Base Training
Ran 1:56.40 at 16 and 1:48.32 at 17. Personal bests of 22.18w for 200, 46.32 at 400, 1:42.55 at 800, 2:15.63 at 1000, 3:38.44 at 1500, 8:16.9 at 3000, 14:06.9 at 5000, 30:40.5 at 10000 and 9: 09.73 for the steeplechase.
Note his 10 km time!
Bucher also states this when asked about his winter training
"For years, I always started by trying to set a good basic training in autumn (long runs,basic weight training, endurance, . . .)." 
Training for Juniors
"The best advice is not to set yourself any limits. Trying various events as a young runner makes you run better in your main event (to be a good 800m runner, you need to have a good speed=>400m, but also you need to have a good endurance =>cross country, 5000m, 3000st., . . . Never specialise too early and always try to have some fun in checking out new distances."
Source british milers club news

Renato Canova: "Bucher was, for example, in Switzerland, the best junior in 10,000 meters, 5,000 meters, steeple and reigning in junior cross country, then becomes a specialist in 1,500, then after 1,500, 800."
Source Renato Canova Interview


Alan Webb

Major Achievements 800 m 
Running a 2 second pb to record a 1.43 a year after running a 27:34 10 000 m
Personal Best 
1.43.85 (2007) Age - 24
Base Training
Raczko (coach) says, "Everything has been part of a master plan. Of course we've had to re-focus and re-adjust along the way, like everyone does, but there has always been a plan. [Years] 2005 and 2006 were all about training for 2007 and 2008. The last couple of years, we were trying to build up the strength he needs to win championship medals in the 1,500.''
Through much of '05 and '06, in addition to high volume training on land, Webb also did extensive water running (in a buoyant vest). "That enabled him to keep the life in his body, while still getting an strong aerobic base,'' says Raczko. "Alan built up a very high level of aerobic strength.''
Source The Fast and The Furious by Tim Layden
2007 800 m - 2 min 34 secs

Sebastian Coe

Major Achievements 800 m 
2 World Records
1980 Olympic Games Silver Medal
1984 Olympic Games Silver Medal
1978 European Championships Bronze Medal
1982 European Championships Silver Medal
1986 European Championships Gold Medal
Personal Best 
1.41.73 (1981) Age - 24
Base Training 
Coach Peter's advice to a fun runner about to enter a three mile fun run;
"Rule1: Play it cool - don't even tell your son what you're at. Act nonchalantly and don't let the enemy know what you're doing."
Source Running for Fitness by Sebastian and Peter Coe p.104

How does one count mileage?

The Case For Low Mileage
"For the five weeks leading up to the Los Angeles Olympics, Coe's weekly mileage totaled 38, 36, 31, 24 and 17 miles."
Source Running with the Legends by Michael Sandrock

Unlike Elliott and Snell, Coe rearely ran over 50 miles per week, saying, "I've always felt that long, slow distance produces long, slow runners." 
Source Runner's World August 1996 p. 92

A general belief held by athletic followers that Coe ran around 40 miles per week - typified in this forum.

...and here too.

Peter: "The quality of what you do is much more important than the quantity. Why pound the life out of a young runner when you can develop it with quality."
Source Documentary Sebastian Coe - Born To Run

A claim Coe never ran more than 90 km per week and used 5000 m training to develop aerobic capacity. 

Bruce Tulloh: "Seb Coe won two Olympic 1500m titles on 50 miles a week

"Coe's maximum training mileage is no more than about 80 km per week. He says, 'I've never run more than 7 miles in training and that was 6 miles too long.'"
Source Running Out of Time by T. Dwyer and K.F. Dyer

"He (Peter) was not an advocate of high mileage, believing the 800 was mostly a 'sustained sprint'. He estimated the proportion of anaerobic and aerobic energy production for the half mile to be 70-30(%), and not the 55-45 proposed by sports scientists and other coaches"
Source Peak Performance by John Hawley and Louise Bourke.
According to this study the 800 m is 70-30. But 70% AEROBIC and 30% ANAEROBIC and not the other way around as estimated by Peter.
Quoting Ingrid Kristiansen's website , "The reason is that the old test method, the Oxygen Debt method, has very large inaccuracies. Newer research have provided a more accurate method, the Accumulated Oxygen Deficit (AOD). The consequence of this is that the aerobic work content has been underrated up until now."

In Harry Wilson's "The Complete Middle Distance Runner" he lists the 800 m as 66.6% Anaerobic and 33.3% Aerobic.

"Peter took a different approach from the emphasis on long-distance work favoured by many."
Source Running with the Legends by Michael Sandrock

Seb Coe:
Arthur Lydiard, the New Zealander who coached Peter Snell to three Olympic middle-distance gold medals in the 1960s, always advocated that his runners complete 100 miles a week. Seb says: “My dad took this idea apart. He insisted that slow running produces slow runners.”

The Case For High Mileage

On Christmas morning he went for a 12-mile run; he felt strong, and as well as satisfying his need to train, it gave him an appetite for Christmas lunch.Then, in the afternoon, his mood changed. Something bothered him. “It was like a niggle. ‘Why am I like this?’ I don’t know, but I suddenly knew what it was. The thought was inside my head, ‘I bet he’s out doing a second session’. I put my kit on, went out and ran for another five miles.
Source The Big Interview: Seb Coe - from The Sunday Times

And here too
It was a harsh winter (harsh enough to bring down a government) but I ran 12 miles on Christmas morning. It was a hard session and I got home, showered and felt pretty happy with what I had done. Later that afternoon, sitting back after Christmas lunch, I began to feel uneasy but was not quite sure why. Suddenly it dawned on me. I thought: "I bet [Steve] Ovett's out there doing his second training session of the day." I put the kit back on, faced the snow and ice and did a second training session. I ran several miles, including some hill work.
Source Sebastian Coe: How I went extra mile to be best middle-distance runner I could be - from The Telegraph 

Peter Snell: And Sebastian Coe, I think there’s been some misinformation about what he actually did, too.
Source An Interview with Three-Times Olympic Gold Medalist Peter Snell - with Rich Englehart

Regarding the winter of 78-79 - "For Seb, who had stepped up his winter work to around 70 miles per week for the first time, it required an iron will to maintain his schedules, training early each morning , and again in the evening ... He covered the ten miles in three quarters of an hour"
Source - Running Free - Page 62 

Seb replied: The key is to get your pulse rate up, in a acceptable range, and keep it there. Don't go to high - just keep it there for a long time. That was how Mike had trained me, do a workout, 5 to 6 miles on the track broken up into 200's, 250's 400's, 600's etc, and never run hard. I just always thought that S. Coe did fast stuff. Like reading about his 6x800 cutdown with the last one in 1:51, etc.
- Jim Spivey 
Session - 11.5 miles - 25 to 30 min warm up and 1.5 mile warm down - total 11.5 miles

Seb ran 8:14 3000 at 18 years of age. 

I started daily training at the age of 14. When I was 16 years old I was running twice a day.

Seb: "Even when I eventually got back to training I could never run more than about six miles for fear of bringing on the injury again; so as far as endurance was concerned, I was in pretty bad shape." Leading into the 1982 track season. This suggest that runs of significantly longer than six miles was the norm.
Source: Running For Fitness by Sebastian and Peter Coe p. 142

Seb Coe (April 2008): 
"The same was the case if you dropped down to middle distance. Steve Ovett finished second in the "nationals" and raced internationally. Steve Cram ran in a world junior cross-country championship, and four months before my Olympic campaign in 1980 I slugged it out in an international field in Italy.... I am convinced that unless the right endurance grounding is in place by the time the aspiring middle-distance or distance runner graduates from junior to senior ranks -and that certainly includes cross-country running - the athlete will always be at a disadvantage, particularly when lining up against Africa's best."
Source: Distance Runners Need Some Country Air

November through to March/April - according to David Martin.
Rather than running 100 to 120 miles a week like many runners, Coe would run 60 to 75 miles (96 to 120 km) a week of basework. It was hard hard work
In May there was a gradual changeover to anaerobic work.
Cutting back to 60 miles per week and then to 30 miles a week.
Source Running with the Legends by Michael Sandrock

Seb: "I hadn’t trained for 10 years mile upon mile in some of the harshest northern winters, I hadn’t lifted hundreds and hundreds of weights, to go home empty-handed."
Source Still in the Running

Seb: "I could do mile upon mile on hills and on peak path" (just outside of Shefield) - describing how the terrain assisted his athletic development.
Source Interview Sebastian Coe on 'Sporting Greats'

A claim Coe got up to 100 miles per week

... and 90 miles per week here. 

David Martin (co author with Peter Coe) to Keith Livingstone 
"Don't worry, he did the work!"

Arthur Lydiard: "I believe he's doing more mileage... You can take my advice or listen to what Coe says."
Source Runner's World February 1981

Pre Moscow
"Two days later Sebastian and guest (Kenny Moore) did a 14.4 mile (23 km +) training run up the Derwent Valley, west of... Peter Drove behind... It was a hard effort, 5:30 pace in wet track suits and slickers. The wind and rain howled out of the Pennies... 
During the last 6 miles the guest fell behind. Soon the car came even with him. Peter rolled the window down. "I don't know what you're listening to out there, but I've got Schubert in here." 
Source US Olympic Marathoner Kenny Moore's from his book "Best Efforts".

Coe goes for a 10 or 11 mile run in "under the hour" the day after he lost the 800 m in Moscow (and obviously before the 1500)
Source Running Free - Autobiography

Peter Coe: "Seb was trained in an orthodox fashion using known methods."
Source Coming Back, Coe's autobiography written post Los Angeles.
but Seb says,
"That was gratifying confirmation of something I already knew - that my old man was 20 years ahead of his time as a coach." 
Source The Times - Great British Olympians

Peter Coe: "The great conditioner is 5,000 m training. I find it essential for the late winter/early spring phase." This suggests Seb was doing other work for much of the winter.
Source Coming Back, Coe's autobiography written post Los Angeles.

The schedules given in Peter Coe's book (written with Dr David Martin) peak at 80 miles per week for a middle distance runner with 16 weeks of averaging just over 70 miles per week
Source Better Training for Distance Runners, 2nd ed,Human Kinetics 1997
Similar training was suggested for a "runner like Seb" in Running for Fitness by Sebastian and Peter Coe published in 1982

"We concentrated on both speed and endurance" 

"Everywhere from my front door was effectively up, and there was a run we used to do often that was uphill for 10 miles," he remembers. "We'd be out in all weathers..." 

"Often he would have music on and once in a storm of swirling snow and hail, when I had 14 miles on the road to do, he said, 'I don't know what you've got out there, but I've got Wagner in here'. 
Source The Times - Great British Olympians

Interview: Renato Canova ...his father Peter says now that he doesn't believe in long run. That is not true, because Sebastian ran all his life very long... Because you can build not your speed, but your speed endurance when you have a very, very big aerobic base, aerobic background, that now these people don't have. This is the problem.

Steve Scott: "I read portions of Seb's book Running Free but it went into his family life and talked about his sister, pet dog and other ridiculous things. You come down to the fact: 'What can you believe about what they're saying anyway?"
Source An interview in 1983 by Brian Lenton in Through the Tape

Seb continues to run 15 miles every Sunday

I think the last poster here may not be far off the mark. An average of 70 miles - 112 km - at the least.
One of my favourite running books was written by Peter Coe in 1983. In it, it suggests training for "someone like Seb". "... Starting at 40 miles per week in November and working up to 65-80 miles per week by March". 
Later, Peter says, "if the mileages are high (so they got high!) or there are additional repetition sessions, circuit training may be omitted."
This is consistent with this
"The schedules given in Peter Coe's book (written with Dr David Martin) peak at 80 miles per week for a middle distance runner with 16 weeks of averaging just over 70 miles per week"
from "Better Training for Distance Runners"

Once again 
Arthur Lydiard: "I believe he's doing more mileage... You can take my advice or listen to what Coe says."
Those hard 14 mile runs make you wonder!

My Verdict - low mileage or high mileage?
High - difficult to conclude otherwise.

1986 800 m European Championships - 3 min 33 secs
1979 800 m World Record - 2.01

Rudolf Harbig

Major Achievements 800 m 
800 m World Record. 
Also ran WR 400 m in 46.0
Personal Best 
1.46.6 (1939) Age - 26
Base Training
It is not clear. It is stated that his coach, Gerschler, got his athletes to do four months of Cross Country Training - 7 to 13 miles per day.
Then it states that Harbig trained using the Gerschler system. For Basal Conditioning he worked out three times per week. Once in the gym, once on the track and once in the woods.
"Up to three hours every Sunday in the woods with alternate slow and fast running. At the time it was considered extreme training for a runner whose longest training distance was 800 metres."
Source Running Out of Time by T. Dwyer and K.F. Dyer
and The Complete Middle Distance Runner by Watts, Wilson and Horwill

It is interesting to see the tracks that Harbig had to race on -

Rudolph Harbig en route to his 800 m World Record of 1.46.6 

Attached Image 
Attached Image


Rich Kenah

Major Achievements 800 m 
1997 World Championships Bronze Medal
Personal Best 
1:42.38 (2001) Age - 27
Base Training
There is a strong Lydiard / Snell influnce as evidenced in the source below.
"To be a better middle distance runner you need to lift like a sprinter in the weight room and train like a distance man when running."
Source Run Strong by Kevin Beck
Also in the same video below is Wilson Kipketer

"The training is my secret and if I told you what it was, it wouldn't be a secret anymore."
- Wilson Kipketer

You can't argue with logic like that.

1997 800 m World Championships - 2 min 21 secs

and I had to include this amazing run with the same Gold and Bronze Medalist here - Kipketer and Kenah. Kipketer - so smooth.
1997 800 m World Indoor Championships - 6 min 21 secs. Race ends at 3 min 40 sec


Tony Wilson

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