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Former marathon world record holder Steve Jones outlines six ways to streamline your training — and set a PR.
It’s a warm morning in Boulder, Colo., and the sun is just stretching down the iconic Flatiron mountains in the distance. Steve Jones is clad with a red ball cap and a chai tea in his hand. Everyone who knows him calls him Jonesy, a reference that both fits his modest, man-among-the-people persona and belies his stature as one of the greatest marathoners in history.
“Take off your watch,” Jonesy says, pointing to the wrist of one of his runners. “You’ll get it back after the workout.”
Jones, 58, a former marathon world record holder who now directs a group of runners in his longtime home of Boulder, coaches the same way he trained: Simply. At the end of the day, he says, running is a simple activity that shouldn’t be complicated.
A whistle and a stopwatch dangle from his neck as he approaches his runners, who are performing various types of pre-workout drills and strides. He checks in with each runner, starting the morning off with a joke to lighten the mood before giving final instructions for the workout.
Jones, who ran 2:08:05 at the 1984 Chicago Marathon to break the world record, is known in the running world for his numerous marathon wins in London, Chicago and New York, as well as his fearless front-running racing style. The Welshman raced on feel and would commonly power away early in marathons, always brave enough to give it a try. Jones was never one to follow a pacing strategy. He never ran for records or for big paydays. He was just simply running — as hard as he could.
In today’s world of professional pacemakers and amateur pace groups, high-performance sports drinks, GPS watches, heart-rate monitors, innovative shoes and special foods, everything is seemingly calculated and quantified — no matter if you’re running in the front, middle or back of the pack. It can be confusing and overwhelming — but it doesn’t have to be.
“Patience, patience, patience,” Jones tells his runners in his thick Welsh accent as they circle the turf field. “Just relax and let it flow.”
Half a minute later he blows the whistle twice, signaling the end of the workout. His runners drop to their knees, some walk in circles with their hands on their head. “Good effort, everyone,” Jones says with a chuckle.
Here are Jones’ six tried-and-true strategies for simplifying your training and maximizing your results in 2014.