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 Sub 4:00: Alan Webb and the Quest for the Fastest Mile
OldManRunner
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
Rochester, NY
Joined: 28 Nov 2004
Posts: 262

Sub 4:00: Alan Webb and the Quest for the Fastest Mile Posted: Sat Apr 01, 2006 12:13 pm 

Anybody else familiar with this book from Chris Lear, the author of Running with the Buffaloes? I ran across it in the bookstore the other day, but had never heard of it before. Running with the Buffaloes is my favorite running-related (non-training) book, so I was psyched to find it but wondered why I hadn't heard of it. Case in point, Rickshaw, I've never seen it come up in any of the Google Ad Sense or Amazon or whoever's ads you're running on this site, nor have I ever seen it pitched on any other running related site. It was published in 2003, same year as Buffaloes, but I think was written after Buffaloes.

I'm about 1/2 way through, and although so far I'd rate it slightly below Running with the Buffaloes, it's a good read.


Rickshaw
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
San Francisco, CA
Joined: 26 Nov 2004
Posts: 1157

Re: Sub 4:00: Alan Webb and the Quest for the Fastest Mile Posted: Sat Apr 01, 2006 12:45 pm 

I've heard of it, but don't know much about it. Probably it's popularity suffered a bit since Webb hasn't had as many steller races in recent years as he did earlier on. Give us a quick review when you're finished reading it!

There also a recent book about Roger Bannister's quest for the 4 minute mile which I've been meaning to check out. Anyone read this one?


mfox

South Orange, New Jersey
Joined: 19 Dec 2004
Posts: 367

Re: Sub 4:00: Alan Webb and the Quest for the Fastest Mile Posted: Sun Apr 02, 2006 7:17 pm 

I've read Roger Bannister's book. it was interesting to read about what running and traing was like around that time and about how he trained pretty much on his own. From a historical perspective I think it is a "must" read, but an otherwise just decent book.

Rickshaw
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
San Francisco, CA
Joined: 26 Nov 2004
Posts: 1157

Re: Sub 4:00: Alan Webb and the Quest for the Fastest Mile Posted: Mon Apr 10, 2006 11:02 am 

I managed to get a copy of Sub-4:00 and read it last week. I thought it was pretty good, and definitely in the same style as Running With the Buffaloes, so anyone who likes one will probably like the other.

I thought the book was poorly-named. It's not really about Alan Webb, and it's definitely not about his quest for a sub-4:00 mile. The misleading title is probably why I didn't have much interest in this book when it first came out. Really, this book documents a season with the Michigan track team, in very much the same way that Running With the Buffaloes documents a season with the Colorado cross-country team. Webb is the most prominent character, but by no means the only one.

One interesting thing I took away from Sub-4:00 and Running With the Buffaloes is that competing at the top collegiate level is more about injury prevention than anything else. Everyone seems to be injured about 50% of the time. The runners who are most successful at races aren't necessarily the fastest ones, but the ones who manage to keep healthy. This seems a little disturbing. Are the atheletes pushed too far?

Webb seems like a pretty normal guy with super-normal running ability. I think he made the right move in leaving Michigan. He is a very detail-oriented, by the numbers kind of guy, who likes a meticulously-crafted and tracked training plan. The training he got at Michigan was probably good in its own way, but sounded more like it was crafted by feel and instinct. It also focused almost exclusively on running, whereas Webb is also a big proponent of other cross-training like weights and plyometrics and other drills.

What's Webb been up to recently? I haven't heard his name since the 2004 Olympics.


OldManRunner
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
Rochester, NY
Joined: 28 Nov 2004
Posts: 262

Re: Sub 4:00: Alan Webb and the Quest for the Fastest Mile Posted: Tue Apr 11, 2006 11:46 am 

The US Track and Field web site credits him with running a 3:48.92 mile in 2005. Obviously he's been busy! Ranked only #2 in the US by US Track and Field, though, with a smattering of international top 10 results in the mile and 1500.

Rickshaw
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
San Francisco, CA
Joined: 26 Nov 2004
Posts: 1157

Re: Sub 4:00: Alan Webb and the Quest for the Fastest Mile Posted: Tue Apr 11, 2006 12:55 pm 

Good info-- so Webb is doing well. I wonder who the #1 ranked US miler is, then?

Rickshaw
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
San Francisco, CA
Joined: 26 Nov 2004
Posts: 1157

Re: Sub 4:00: Alan Webb and the Quest for the Fastest Mile Posted: Mon May 01, 2006 9:44 pm 

Webb raced a 10K at an invitational meet yesterday, just edging out Dathan Ritzenhein in 27:34. It was Webb's first ever 10K race! It was also a PR for Ritzenhein (27:35). http://www.iaaf.org/news/Kind=2/newsId=34449.html

Webb also ran a personal best 3:32 for 1500 meters last year, so he's in good shape. I guess his successes just aren't as newsworthly anymore.


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