Monday, December 15, 2008

On Simon and Chrissie...

I have to admit I was a bit stunned when I heard Chrissie had left Camp Cliff to train under the recently-retired Simon Lessing. I've heard a lot of talk since this news broke--everything from, "Her career is doomed", to, "She'll beat Crowie at Kona next year." OK, maybe that's a bit embellished. My take? Chrissie will set a new course record in Kona next year and go on to win as many more titles as she seems fit (which I'm guessing is about three). Here's why:

Sutto (Brett Sutton) remarked on more than one occasion that the hardest part of his job (with regards to Chrissie) was keeping her from overcooking herself. I think Simon is just the guy for this job.

Last spring, I was e-mailing with Simon regarding my own training. I noted that I was injury prone, but was still trying to get my run mileage up to around 50 per week. He thought this sounded fine, but that I should do it by upping my frequency instead of the mileage of my long runs. I dug up his e-mail and this is what he had to say with regards to my personal training:

"Keep your long runs at a maximum of two hours. Beyond that, you're going to do more damage than good. I typically run for 20 miles or two hours; whichever comes first."

I reminded him that I would never be able to run 20 miles in two hours, but I gave his ideas a try. That e-mail was from March 5th, and I haven't run more than two hours since then. I figured I better listen to a guy who has five ITU world titles to his credit. I'm running faster than ever and have been [relatively] injury free all year. The guy knows his stuff.

So how does this apply to Chrissie? Endurance definitely isn't her problem. If you've ever seen Chrissie at the end of an Ironman, you know that 140.6 miles ain't much for her. There are only two things that can stop her from winning four or five more world titles: 1) Injury; and 2) Losing speed as she gets older.

I think Simon's less-but-just-enough method (if that's indeed how he trains Chrissie) is ideal for her. And, if she incorporates a bit more speed training than she has in the past, who knows how low that Kona record can go.

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