Monday, 28 January 2008


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1/1/04: Dick Quax

New Zealand�s Dick Quax was the Olympic Silver Medallist in the 5,000 meters in 1976, set a world record in the 5,000 meters (13:12.86) in Stockholm in 1977, and was the Commonwealth Games Silver Medallist in the 1,500 meters in 1970. A fierce competitor with personal bests of 3:36.7 for 1,500 meters, 27:41.95 for 10,000 meters and 2:10:47 for the marathon, Dick was remarkably successful across a broad range of distances.

Dick has also had a distinguished coaching career. In the 1980's, he coached Nike�s famed Athletics West Club, and has worked with other noted runners, including as 1992 Olympic Marathon Bronze Medallist Lorraine Moller.

PP: How did you train for the Montreal Olympics and your world record in the 5,000 meters?

DQ: My training over the years followed a similar pattern with 3 phases.

Phase I: For example in 1977 I began a build up period (basic preparation) in early March and for the next 10 weeks ran only aerobically. I ran up to 148 miles a week (238k) with an average weekly mileage of about 120 miles per week (190k).

The following is a very typical week of preparation that I followed all through my career:

Mon AM 17 miles on hilly course in 1 hour 39 min (5min 49sec per mile); PM 5 miles in park in 31 mins (6min 12sec per mile)

Tue AM 10 miles in forest 60 min; PM 9.5 miles on road in 54min 40sec (5min 45sec per mile)

Wed AM 16.2 miles on hilly course 1 hour 32min 43sec (5min 43sec per mile); PM 5.4 miles in park 32 mins

Thu AM 7.5 miles in park 44 mins; PM 7.5 miles in park 43 mins

Fri AM 5.4 miles in park 31 mins; PM 8.6 miles on road 52 mins

Sat AM 5.4 miles in park 33min 40 sec; PM 4k Cross Country Relay (1 of 2 competitions during 10 week build up)

Sun AM 21.5 miles on road 2 hours 5 min 27 sec (5min 50sec per mile)

Total for the week: 123.5 miles (198 km)

Phase II: The next phase of my training was more race specific and included a mixture of aerobic/anaerobic running.

Mon AM 20x200 metres in a average of 29.2 sec with 200 metres recovery in about 50 sec.
PM 7.5 miles on a hilly course

Tue AM 5 mile easy in 30 min; PM 10k steady state in 33 min with last 5k in 14 min 30 sec

Wed AM 6 miles easy on golf course in 36 min; PM 5x800 metres average 2 min 12 sec 800 metres recovery

Thu AM No Run; PM 6x200 metres average 26.2 sec 200 metres recovery in about 60 sec.

Fri AM 4.2 miles easy; PM 20x400 metres average 63 sec 400 metres recovery in about 1 min 45 sec

Sat AM 20 min jog on arrival in Los Angeles from Auckland; PM 35 min jog plus strideouts

Sun 10 miles jog.

Phase III: The next phase of my training was to improve my speed and anaerobic capacity. At the time I was in Boulder, Colorado.

Mon AM 7 miles in 40 mins; PM 6 laps sprinting 50 metres every 100m.

Tue AM 7 miles; PM 2 miles steady state 8min 56sec

Wed AM 7 miles; PM 8 miles in 50 mins

Thu AM 7 miles; PM 4x600m with 600m jog recovery average 1min 30sec

Fri AM 7 miles; PM 3x200m with 200m jog recovery average 25.8sec

Sat AM 7 miles; PM 10x300m with 100m recovery 42 � 43 sec

Sun AM 15.5 miles at 8,500�

PP: If you could relive your running career, what, if anything, would you do differently?

DQ: There is not much that I would do differently on reflection. This applies especially to the training I employed. A system that develops an aerobic base such as the Lydiard system is as relevant today as it was when Peter Snell et al were competing in the 1960s and then John Walker, Rod Dixon and I in the 1970s. The same system has been proven time and time again with runners from around the world, including New Zealand runners as Anne Audain, Lorraine Moller, Nyla Carroll, Toni Hodgkinson etc.

I would pay more attention to recovery procedures such as making massage part of my training regime. I would also make sure to work on my diet to help aid recovery. Had I focused more on recovery I may have been able to increase the volume of training during the build up period.

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PP: What have been the most satisfying aspects of your coaching career?

DQ: Seeing people improve especially those athletes who perhaps had a little less natural ability but were prepared to work hard to achieve results. While I was at Athletics West I helped Ed Spinney who had been written off as not having enough talent to reach international class. Ed worked tremendously hard. When all the other runners went out for a 22-mile run, Ed would run the 3 miles to my house where we left from and when we finished would run home again. Eventually he ran 3 minutes 57 sec for a mile, which no one thought he was capable of.

I have always enjoyed the challenge of working with athletes who others had written off. Tom Byers and Mary Decker-Slaney both had a lot of difficulties early in their careers but were fantastically talented and it was very satisfying to be able to get their careers back on track.

Seeing Lorraine Moller come into the Olympic Stadium and take 3rd place in the mara

n Barcelona was also a great thrill.

PP: What advice would you give to talented young middle distance runners?

DQ: Make sure that you are getting good training advice. I have seen too many good runners not reach their true potential simply because the coaching that they were getting was not based ontraining methods aimed at developing an aerobic foundation.

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