Training

June 3, 2014 at 10:52 am

A Starting Line: Steve Sisson

First off, a shout out of thanks to Wish, Michael and Ashish for this bi-monthly bully pulpit. I’m not sure they know what they are getting themselves into, but I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to share some thoughts about running, training and my mystical theories of life with the entire Central Texas running community.

You can check out my bio to see where I’ve wandered, but I’ve pounded out a few miles in the 787 and started running in old San Antone (LINK: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6l7rLA9Jm1I&feature=kp) nigh on 40 years ago. So I’ve definitely laid some tracks.

But why should you read a word I write? To be perfectly frank, you shouldn’t unless I get your attention…and keep it. I’ll grind some axes and bend some ears, to be sure, but I’ll work hard to keep the material interesting. If I don’t? Send your complaints to wish@runningpost.com.

So what topics can you expect me to tap? I’ll have four principle threads that we’ll follow:

1. Coaching

My day job is coaching, and it is my absolute calling. Every day I get to tell runners what to do and how to do it. I have had over 20 years of experience coaching runners at every level, from rank beginners to international-level distance runners. I will cover topics ranging from theory to implementation, from the ivory tower of macrocycles to the frontline decisions of the microcycle.

Admittedly, I am not primarily a scientific coach. While I’ve had a decades-long self-taught curriculum of exercise physiology, biomechanics and training theory, my real passion is in the blood and guts execution of training and racing. There are plenty of blogs out there (LINK: www.scienceofrunning.com) that do a fantastic job explaining the science of the sport, but I am more interested in real-life execution and life balance.

2. History and interviews

Stories are perhaps the deepest mine of the human condition. We all crave compelling stories that resonate with our own running experiences, whether they share the stories of world record holders, the Incan Chaski (LINK: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chaski) or our own local heroes and heroines. These stories can motivate and encourage all of us to achieve our own running challenges and goals. Hell, in the long run, they might even make us better people.

3. (sub)Culture and philosophy

Running has a vibrant underbelly. Any runner who has run beyond 10 miles with just one other person or a group knows what I mean. Even the most reticent among us will eventually over-share something relating to bodily functions, relationships and even our neuroses. This is running culture; the “it’s a runner thing, you wouldn’t understand” moments where everyone you know who is not a runner just cannot relate.

Where culture can be lowbrow, philosophy is highbrow. It’s been 20 years since America’s greatest running philosopher, Dr. George Sheehan (LINK: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_A._Sheehan), passed away. While I don’t mean to insinuate that the musings I share will be of the quality of that great mind, I do hope to add to the dialogue that running is a thinking person’s game.

4. Metaphysics

I have been a practicing member of the Church of the Long Run for 40 years. I can tell you with complete confidence that the experience of running transcends the physical. If you disagree—that’s OK–but please read my thoughts. Maybe I can help you expand your concept of the long run. If you already agree, you’ll find a fellow traveler. One who has logged many miles but has miles to go before he sleeps (LINK: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/171621).

Finally, I look forward to sharing my thoughts with you. I hope you’ll find them entertaining, edifying and illuminating. If not, I at least hope to make you laugh.

What is life without a little humor?

Steve Sisson

About Steve Sisson

Steve Sisson is the Founder & Head Coach of Rogue Training Systems. Steve was the Distance Track & Field coach at the University of Texas for 7 years, where he coached the 800 - 10k. Coach Sisson was a 3-time all-American in track & cross country at the University of Texas at Austin and a 4-time Southwest conference champion at the 3000 meter steeplechase and 5000 meter distances. He represented the United States internationally at the 1993 IAAF World Half-Marathon Championships in Brussels, Belgium and the Niagata (Japan) Ekiden Relay. Steve currently coaches the Olympic Development athletes for Rogue Athletic Club. He has been the head coach and one of the founders since 2009.

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