Day #14: “Distance-doping”

On day #11, we discussed “turn-doping” – running long around the turns in training in order to bank brawn and grit and fitness. Today, let’s talk about doing the same with pure distance.

Joan Benoit Samuelson, winner of the inaugural women’s Olympic Marathon during the 1984 Los Angeles games, is rumored to have “distance-doped” throughout her training career. Not to be confused with Lance Armstrong’s brand of cheating to which he has recently confessed, Joan Benoit Samuelson broke no rules. Indeed, her regimen upheld the highest ethos of the Olympic Games. On a given distance run, lore has it, Benoit would finish her runs by running right on past the mailbox that marked her property – a good half a mile or more she would go before she turned back towards the finish and completed her run. She regularly added a mile to her daily runs – but had the honesty and good sense not to record the extra mileage. In this way she banked those miles. Only her heart – and destiny – knew the real fitness in her legs.

“Distance-doping” is something like storing up treasures in heaven – where they cannot be erased nor destroyed. Watch the video of Benoit’s race above — and you will be convinced to be like Joanie!

On one of your upcoming runs, try out “distance-doping” for yourself.

All the best!

~Coach Reed