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.
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).
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.
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.
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.