Alan Webb’s Final Workout
"No, I've done more than asked my entire career. Today, I simply want to do enough. I'll run 29-flat and call it good."
By Jonathan Marcus, High Performance West
In the fall of 2013, Alan Webb asked me to coach him. Honestly, he didn't so much ask as he was desperate and had few other options. We'd been friends for a long time, I was coaching his wife, Julia, and he was done moving his family around the country for his athletic pursuits. I was local, available, knew him and enough about training to warrant his confidence.
He had plans to transition from competitive running to the triathlon. But first he wanted to break 4 minutes for the Mile once more, as a farewell. He chose the Millrose Games at The Armory, the site where he first broke 4 minutes as a high school senior.
He had 6.5 months to prepare. But there was one condition. Alan only wanted to run 3 days per week. To callous himself for the triathlon, he desired to incorporate a hearty dose of swimming, cycling, and strength & conditioning work into this training. And he wouldn't sacrifice the much needed time in the pool and on the bike he needed for running.
He didn't break four. He ran 4:06.11 in his final professional race.
I take full blame. That has always been my personal rule of coaching. I call it the Coaching Faustian Bargain. When the athlete succeeds they, rightfully, deserve 100% of the credit and when they don't — the coach takes 100% of the blame.
Alan's final workout was 2 x (6 x 200 meters @ 31 - 29 seconds with 200m recovery jog) and 400m recovery jog between sets. The session was drafted to freshen him up. He always felt great after running quality 200m reps.
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