Frank Horwill



  • These articles were first published many year's ago and whilst some are as relevant today as they were when new, many are now mostly of historical interest as modern research and coaching methods have superseded them.

Notable Quotes

Selected by Frank Horwill

No leg strength - no speed.
Frank Horwill

THE key factor in distance running success is weight relative to Weight. The ideal weight is twice the height in inches converted to pounds, give or take 5 pounds either way. Thus, a 6-foot tall man, that is, 72 inches, should weigh 72 x 2 pounds = 144 pounds. Women should weigh slightly less.
Dr George Sheehan

Losing weight is a simple matter. Draw up a list of high saturated fat foods and ban them from your diet. The ten worst high fat foods are: beefburger, roast pork, bologna, frankfurters, roast beef, bacon, T-bone steak, pork sausage, cheddar cheese and cream cheese. The five worst high saturated fat oils are: Palm, palm kernel, coconut, peanut and cottonseed.
Frank Horwill

The fat burning zone in your running is very close to your lactate threshold running zone. That's around 90 per cent of your maximum heart rate, or 10 seconds per mile slower than per mile in your best 10km time.
Owen Anderson

Iron on its own is practically useless. It requires vitamin C, vitamin B6, folic acid, zinc, vitamin B12 and vitamin E.
Dr.Michael Colgan
Author's note - iron capsules which contain all these ingredients are to be found in QUEST synergistic iron tablets from health food shops.

Many marathoners stuff themselves with any sort of carbohydrates for 48 hours before a marathon. However, high glycemic carbs are practically useless for storing glycogen. All runners should eat low glycemic carbs such as: fructose, soyabeans, kidney beans, lentils, sweet potatoes, apples, oranges, whole wheat spaghetti, oats, brown rice, buckwheat pancakes, whole wheat bread, pears, chocolate milk, chick peas and skimmed milk. High glycemic carbs taken within 30 minutes of concluding training or racing, makes sense.
Frank Horwill

A good way of calculating your carb requirements is to multiply your weight in pounds by four and convert it to grammes. If you weigh 100 pounds it will be 400 grammes of carbs.
Owen Anderson

There are certain things that runners should never utter. One such is "I can't" Instead, say, "I will try."
Frank Horwill

Someone said to me, "Do you think it's right that you as a coach should smoke cigars? " I replied that I did not smoke when coaching. Anyway, a general does not fight in the trenches with his troops."
Frank Horwill

I could not touch my toes with straight legs, but I could break four minutes for the mile.
Roger Bannister

If you are going to be an athlete - look like one. An athlete should be able to hike 100 miles in 48 hours, swim a mile and lift his bodyweight overhead.
Percy Cerutty

Twice I led all the way in the Combined Services Mile Championships, only to be out-kicked by the same army captain. I decided I couldn't sprint so I spent a winter with my club sprinters. I took some stick. They called me an "elephant", and when I turned up for sessions they jeered, "Here comes the donkey." But, I persevered and out-sprinted the army captain (Chataway) on my third attempt.
Derek Ibbotson

It is not enough to win a race. You must contribute to it by taking your share of the lead.
Emil Zatopek

When you are tired, the person next to you is probably tired. But, by increasing speed for a few yards you may dishearten them and may drop them. Many times I have used this trick successfully.
Alan Perkins, National Cross Country winner

Speed is defined as rate of stride times length of stride. There’s not much you can do about the former. However, the latter relies on leg – strenth and you can do something about that. If athlete A runs at 5 strides a second and has a stride length of 6 feet, but athlete B runs at only 4 strides a second but has a stride length of 8 feet, then B will be running 2 feet a second faster than A. Strengthening one’s legs with hopping up grass gradients, stepping up and down onto a chair with a ruck sack containing half your body weight for 30 seconds on each leg, are all worth trying to get those few extra inches of stride length for sprinting.
Frank Horwill

It takes 12 weeks of a minimum of every other day training of not less than 35 minutes duration to bring about major changes in the body for the better. For example, lower pulse rate, reduced weight, the opening up of capillaries in the legs and feet, etc. From scratch, it takes 3 x 12 week blocks of training to get everything working efficiently in the body. That’s 36 weeks in total. One training session takes 10-12 days (hopefully) for compensation to enhance the body’s fitness.
Fox and Matthews

Maximising the VO2 max is the number one priority for all distance runners. The method I advocate is to run full out for 4 minutes. Put a marker down on the track where you reach after 4 minutes. For instance, it might be 1,200 metres. Remember that distance. After suitable rest, run the same distance, at 90 per cent effort. That’s 90 per cent of 4 minutes (240 seconds) which is 240 secs + 24 secs = 264 secs. Run at this rate and distance many times in one session with only 30 seconds recovery. After a month, rerun the 4 minutes maximum effort. You will find that you can now run further than your original distance of 1,200 metres. Your VO2 max has improved.
Olaf Astrand

The 1,500 metres distance uses the LA-O2 energy system predominantly (55 per cent). What does that mean? It mans that more than half of the training reps are between 1½ to 3 minutes duration. For example, 5 x 600m with twice the time of the repetition as recovery. If the 600ms are done in 105 seconds, the recovery will be 210 seconds. Another example:4 x 800m in sets of 2 x 800m with the same time as the repetition for recovery. If the 800m are done in 2 min 30 secs, then the recovery will be 2 min 30 secs. The rest between sets will be double that – ie 5 mins.
Fox and Matthews

There are certain types of runner who will never better themselves. First, we have the moaner, who will moan about the weather, the training session set, the cost of running gear, etc. Then we have the excuse maker, who always has an excuse for not racing well or finishing a session. "I could have done much better, but my big toe hurt." Look out for those words, "I could have …" The simple fact is, if you line up for a race you must think you are fit. If not, don’t race. Then, the most despicable of the lot – the poseur. Only the very best attire will suit them – sometimes it is a complete copy of the GB international track suit! They like to do flashy sprints, but when it comes to anything more than 400 metres distance, they have an "injury". Finally, there is the thinker. This person reads all the magazines on running and hops from one training idea to another in search of a quick solution. They don’t realise that success comes from regular training at different levels of effort each week.
Frank Horwill

Lactic acid is a completely harmless substance. I have injected lactic acid into athletes while working on a treadmill with not the slightest ill effect. So, what makes an athlete slow down in an 800m race? It is the protons that are conveyed by the lactic acid which do all the harm. However, it is unlikely that my findings will alter the hackneyed expression, "Bloggs is coming into the home straight, his legs swimming in a sea of lactic acid." It sounds better than saying "…swimming in a sea of protons".
Professor Tim Noakes, South Africa

Trivial training gets trivial results.
Frank Horwill