Q & A: Records that have lasted the distance

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The Independent Online
Q. Why are all the British middle- and long-distance running record, ie 800 metres to marathon, more than 10 years old?

A.The last time one of these records was improved was when Eamonn Martin ran 27min 23.06sec in Oslo in July 1988. The records show that the nine and a half years since then is the longest span of time (this century) that at least one of the records at these four distances has not been broken.

It is remarkable that we have gone nearly 10 years without an improvement at one of these distances, given the know-how and scientific approach to training methods. The top British distance runners of the 1970s did high-mileage training 100 miles a week at a fairly sedate pace. Long-distance training is now regarded as "junk miles"; those who advise the runners talk of "quality running" and have them running faster with less mileage. Heart-rate monitors are used to check that they are training at what the coach believes is the right pace. It makes one wonder if today's runners and their coaches have been blinded by science and are overlooking one or two simple truths about training.

Wilfred Morgan,

Birmingham

ANSWERS PLEASE

Q. Judged by the difference in League places between the position the club was in when he arrived and when he left, who is the best Football League manager of all time? And the worst?

Steve Wetherill, Nottingham

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