Coach Bill Squires
- By Doug Kurtis
Free Press Columnist
Coach Bill Squires is easily described as a coach with character and a long list of successes. Next week Squires will be speaking at a number of the local running stores to promote his new book "Speed With Endurance" developed with another successful coach Bruce Lehane.
Squire's taught and coached at Boston College but he is prominently known for the athletes he helped in the Greater Boston Track Club. They became some of America's greatest marathoners. Bill Rodgers, Alberto Salazar, Dick Beardsley and Greg Meyer are among them.
Speed With Endurance shares the coach's principles of a comprehensive system of training and an integrated process of combining workouts to maximize a runner's ability.
Squires believes that runners perform best when geared toward two competitive periods a year. The book defines a wheel of development, which rotates between an alpha phase, S.W.E.P. Speed With Endurance Phase, race specialization, peak season and regeneration. It emphasizes that from both a psychological and physical perspective, athletes need to have oscillating periods of intense effort interspersed with other less intense efforts.
The coaches concluded that the phasing of their training and racing methods comes from the nature of humans. "They need ebb and flow, variety, stimulus and recovery. They respond to progressive training, with one stage of work preparing them for the next, done in harmony with their ability to absorb, recover, and benefit from the work done."
They consider numerous factors when selecting training levels. The S.W.E.P. can't be done without the Alpha Phase. This first stage of fitness is ability to run with control for an extended period of time. They describe five ingredients of the Alpha Phase, which include long runs, hill interval training, surges within long runs, short speed strides and mid-intensity tempo runs.
In general the coaches believe that some runners never run enough to get their aerobic house in order. "In running, there is a paradoxical principle that, within limits peculiar to each individual, the more you run - after a period of adaptation - the easier it gets. There is a point of fitness when you suddenly feel a flow, a ready current of energy that buoys you up when you are running and has you feeling like a kite on the wind."
Their book describes the value of good technique. It lists two most common faults of distance runners as having their foot land too far in front of them - ahead of the center of mass - which causes braking action upon impact and slightly squatting when running, which causes less than full leg extension and a resulting loss of speed. They remind runners to: "always run tall and place your feet right under your center of mass when running. You'll be faster for it."
The coaches point out the differences between doing a good workout and running a race. "A race is run at a significantly greater effort, pulling out more energy than the body can restore. A proper workout will build in more energy in the recovery process than it pulls out. A race tends to be nerve wracking with prior race anxiety and a range of emotions afterward to cope with, from elation to disappointment.
Runners will enjoy reading the coaches strategies on how to develop increased will power by incorporating the principle of intentionality into every run.
If you want a front and center seat to the insights of Speed with Endurance come out to one of the following local running stores at 7 pm: 2/20 - Total Runner, Southfield, 2/21 - Running Fit, Ann Arbor, 2/22 - Running Gear, Brighton. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for specifics.
Contact Doug Kurtis at Detroit Free Press, 600 W. Fort St.