Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken's
Interviews and


Frank Horwill died in December 2011 but left a mark as a revolutionery coach and, was founder of the British Milers Club, that added so much to middle distance running in the United Kingdom since the early 1960's.
    This was from my interview with Tim  Hutchings and Frank Horwill published on the 21st of August 1982 in Athletics Weekly.

To Frank "Do you think that because you have a certain flamboyance and dynamism as a coach that is why people brand you as eccentric as well as controversial?"
     " The reason people say that I am eccentric is because I have done things, said things, tried things that have never been tried before. For instance the ' five-pace system' of training, which is training at 5000 metres pace, 3000 metres pace, 1500 metres pace, was a new idea and I introduced it in 1971. One man, Peter Coe, took notice of it and thought it was a good system of training.
   ' Now since I introduced that in 1971, physiologists have come along and said you should train at 80% effort, and 90% effort, and 100% effort. If you work out all these percentages from a person's 1500 metres time you get the five-pace system. The only thing is I discovered it in 1971 and the physiologists now come along and say, yes that is right, this is the way to train, so that is that. You see every coach who has introduced something different has been looked upon as eccentric or dangerous. Lydiard was discarded by his own people. His own governing body actually issued a pamphlet saying--without mentioning his name--that this type of training is dangerous. Igloi was an outcast in America because of his views but no other coach has produced as many world record holders or American champions as he has since or before."
" Looking back over the years who stands out as the greatest over 1500/1mile?"
  " Well. okay I am an old man now and I look back with particular affection to Jack Lovelock (1936 Olympic Champion in 3:47.8 in Berlin. which was a World record, with Glen Cunningham of the USA 2nd and Luigi Beccali of Italy 3rd)- Because he was the first man to discover the significance of weight relationship to oxygen consumption. He was the first man to examine the mechanics of running by running beside a wall, a little bit higher than himself, and he figured that in order to run one must go straight, and anything that goes up in the air was wasteful, so he was the first man to work on that. He also was a decicated athlete from when he was at school he would go out for a 30 minute run and from where the school tuck shop was he would sprint hard to the school entrance and that is when he made his break in the Olympic Games. He actually went with 300 metres to go. That was one great athlete. Another great athleate. To my mind was Peter Snell. I met Peter Snell over here and what I liked abvout him was his ability to say--
' You know I trained wrongly, I now know that I did not do proper training. I could have done better now I know more
about it. I would not have done half the things Lydiard told me to do as I now feel I have more KInowledge'. I have enormous respect for Jim Ryun because anybody who would do repetitions and in his rest time start lifting weights appealed to me."

Alastair Aitken

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