Running advice from a 2:14 marathoner

This week I had an awesome 2 hour conversation with Roelof Veld, former Dutch marathon champion. He ran a 2:14 marathon in 1978, unbelievably fast. He had some great advice, like “drinking beer is an important part of training“, “running a fast marathon just comes down to starting fast, maintaining your fast pace and then speeding up at the end” and “the most important part of it all is to have a lot of fun doing it“.

Roelof Veld and Floris Gierman talk about Marathon Running

At his peak, Roelof trained 12 times a week, for example Monday – Friday 5miles / 8k in the morning and around 12 miles / 19k at night, then Intervals on Wednesday and a 2 hour run on Saturday. Many of his runs were at a low Heart Rate. There were no Heart Rate monitors in 1978, so he would count his own HR directly after completing a trainings run or interval.

He’d train for 2 fast marathons a year, each had a training cycle of about 4 months to prepare. His peak training weeks were around 124 miles / 200k. There were 3 building weeks, then 1 step back week. For example:
– week 1 = 75 miles / 120 k
– week 2 = 81 miles / 130 k
– week 3 = 87 miles / 140 k
– week 4 = 81 miles / 130 k
– week 5 = 87 miles / 140 k
– week 6 = 93 miles = 150 k

An example of his interval training:
– 20 x 400m @ 70-72 seconds, with 200 meter (1 minute) recovery, or
– 10 x 1000m @3:10 – 2:45 minutes, with 400 meter recovery

Roelof Veld Marathon Running
Sport heros Roelof Veld en Egbert Nijstad. Photographer unknown.

In 1978 Roelof won the Dutch Championship marathon in a time of 2:14:02, this was also a new Dutch record. Currently he is an active consultant for the Dutch Athletics Union, a sports association committed to the development of the sport of running in the Netherlands. It was a pleasure meeting him and an eye opener to hear about his training approach.

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