Run With The Best >> Run with the Best - The Book

Run with the Best

The Book


Written by Tony Benson & Irv Ray the book was first published by Track & Field News USA in 1998 and was an instant success. Comments to the effect that this was the best coaching book "I have ever read" were common and led T&F News to request a second edition - which was published in 2001.

Following the decision by the publishers not to proceed with a re-print of the second edition the demand for the book has skyrocketed and used copies have been sold on the internet for amounts in excess of $300.


The contents of the Introduction, which includes the Run With The Best philosophy, may be found below the list of chapters.










Section 1.  The History and Philosophy of Coaching

Chapter   1.  A Brief History of Training Methodology

Chapter   2.  The Importance of a Coaching Philosophy

Chapter   3.  The “Run with the Best” Program

Chapter   4.  Periodisation of the Year

Chapter   5.  The Major Training Components

Chapter   6.  The Aerobic Training Components

Chapter   7.  The Anaerobic Training Components

Chapter   8.  The Auxiliary Training Components

Chapter   9.  The Training Plan

Section 2.  Training Tools

Chapter 10.  Performance Indicators

Chapter 11.  Training Indicators

Chapter 12.  The Long Run.  Speed through Endurance

Chapter 13.  Surge Intervals:  Where Threshold Meets MVO2.

Chapter 14.  Sprint Intervals:  Where MVO2 meets Lactic Acid Tolerance

Chapter 15.  Will Power Training:  Where Dreams Meet Reality

Chapter 16.  Race Practice Training:  Putting It All Together

Chapter 17.  The Hallmarks of A Champion

Chapter 18.  Running and Breathing Techniques:  Getting the Most form Your Training.

Chapter 19.  Training For The Future:  So You Are Not Left Behind.

Chapter 20. Junior Athletes:  Plan to Perform as Elite Seniors.

Chapter 21. Age Group and Recreational Athletes:  Create your Personal Program.

Chapter 22. Marathon Training – Pushing the Limits

Chapter 23. Steeplechase Training – The Art of Interrupted Running

Chapter 24. Treadmill Training – When it’s Impossible to Train Outdoors

Chapter 25.  Rehabilitation Exercising:  The Price of Sub- Optimal Training.

Chapter 26. The “Run with The Best” American Program:  A Dual Peak Season

Chapter 27. Developing the Complete American High School Team Program

Chapter 28. Developing a National-Level High School or Junior Age Athlete

Chapter 29. Sample Training Programs

Chapter 30. Training Guidelines

Chapter 31. Examples of Various Types of Workouts

Chapter 32. Computerized Training – Taking RWTB to the Next level





I have successfully used the "Run With The Best" system for many years to assist athletes of all age and ability levels to reach senior national class and even achieve international representation.


By following the simple guidelines, which are modelled on Arthur Lydiard’s conditioning theories, Percy Cerutty’s naturalistic approach and my both experiences in Kenya and with Kenyan athletes, a coach can develop any 14 to 15 year old high school athlete of moderate ability into a national class junior and any 17 to 18 year old of similar ability into a competitive senior by the time that athlete reaches 22-24 years of age.  Given more time with these athletes a coach could well see many of them gain international representation.

The “Run with the Best” system would have remained merely a system I used and a set of notes I handed out at various seminars and courses around the world had it not been for Irv Ray.  At the very time I had finally documented my ideas for presentation.  With his boundless enthusiasm fired by his excitement at finding something he had been seeking both from within himself and a wide variety of external sources my bland pile of lecture notes were quickly christened the “Lydiard / Cerutty / Benson Training Model” and headed for the publisher under the title of “Run With the Best”.

Without Irv this manual would not exist and I thank him sincerely

The challenge then became to produce a clear, concise manual that would be easily understood by coaches and athletes and which would be keep on the coaches' desk, not filed away on some shelf.

"Run With The Best" is intended to be a working manual for coaches.  It will assist them to apply training proven principles to help a great number of athletes reach their full potential and to perform at their best when it counts the most.  It is a manual that aims to help the coach work with the "grassroots" school and club athlete who forms the foundations of Track & Field as well as provide a resource that will significantly boost the performance of even an elite athlete who has not been previously exposed to its concepts.

The manual encourages coaches and athletes to take a step back from an environment constantly inundated with new theories and/or alterations to previous theories.  It recommends coaches do not deviate from carefully prepared long term plans as a result of reading articles which describe a famous athlete’s short term training routine or imply major physiological gains can be achieved in short blocks of training

This training system does not claim to invent any new type of training or offer any “quick fix” training schemes.  Nor does it try to supply training examples of world class runners.  Rather it recommends coach’s revisit training principles and methods that, with some refinement due to perceptive insights and changing world competitive conditions, have a proven record of success in the modern era and have been verified by innumerable scientific studies.  We therefore dedicate this book to four men from four different countries who we believe significantly influenced modern distance running and to three coaches who influenced either one or both of the authors during either their competitive or coaching careers.

Arthur Lydiard. Eschewing the massive interval training workloads advocated by the European coaches of the 1950’s Lydiard introduced the concept of marathon training during the Preparation Period for all runners from 800m to the marathon.  His methods produced world beating New Zealand athletes, led by Peter Snell and Murray Halberg, of the 1960’s and the successes of athletes from other countries he worked in such as Mexico and Finland provided the foundation for most of the present day training principles.

Percy Cerutty.    Like Lydiard, Cerutty also rejected the European approach and his successes in Australia paralleled Lydiard’s.  He was the first coach to thoroughly discuss strength training, technique and diet.  Herb Elliott, considered the greatest miler/1500m runner of all time, was produced by an approach that valued long runs as much as Lydiard did and varied pace running which is so common to the Kenyan approach.

Bill Bowerman.  Brought Lydiard’s concepts to America and adapted them to the US college based system.  In particular he stressed the concept of over compensation in relation to the balance between training and rest.  University of Oregon athletes from Burleson to Prefontaine benefited from his knowledge.


John Velzian.     John has lived in Kenya since the 1950’s and coached, among others the great Kip Keino.  His administrative and coaching input have became an integral part of a tradition that is continually growing in Kenyan runners.

Pat Clohessy.     A contemporary of  both Cerutty and Lydiard but was philosophically more attuned to Lydiard he has coached or advised many top athletes, including Billy Mills, Robert De Castella, Simon Doyle, a 3:31/1500m runner and, more recently, Shaun Creighton, who has run 27:31 for 10,000m

Joe Vigil.            His coaching at Adam’s State University has consistently transformed average high school runners, such as Pat Porter,  into national and international calibre athletes and his scientifically documented training programmes have strongly influenced distance running in America.

Fred Wilt.           The coach of Buddy Edelen, a former world marathon record holder, his “How They Train” books were invaluable to two generations of athletes and coaches.  He was also perhaps the first coach to present the physiology of coaching in easy to understand layman’s language.

Over the years the alterations and adaptions made to particularly Lydiard’s and Cerutty’s theories by some astute coaches have led many other coaches into misunderstanding the original concepts that underpinned the Lydiard and Cerutty methods- which in turn means these coaches are ignoring training systems that produced world records and Olympic medals!

As you read "Run With The Best" we suggest you revisit the times and performances of athletes such as Elliott, Snell, Halberg, Mills, Clarke, Ryun, Gammoudi, Keino, Lingren, Dellinger, Clayton and Prefontaine and note the common threads between the philosophies of Lydiard and Cerutty, the adaptions made by many great coaches to suit specific environments and the way the African athletes train.

We hope you can use the manual to benefit your athletes and increase the satisfaction you gain from Track & Field.






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