JIm Spivey, USA Outdoors, 1991,
photo by Victah Sailer/PhotoRun.net
Jeff Benjamin reached out to one of America's finest milers, Jim Spivey right after the Millrose Games. Now a manager at ASICS America, Jim has served the sport as an athlete, coach and in management at footwear brands.
In this piece, Jim Spivey provided us with some thoughtful advice for young milers who are coming up through the American system. Spivey knows all about that. In his early career, Jim was a well respected rabbit in European races. When he got better, the meet directors remembered how fine he had run for them, and it was one of those intangibles that helped Spivey in his career.
Three-time Olympian and Asics employee Jim Spivey was quite impressed with the results of the Millrose Games Wanamaker mile on February 14, 2015. Spivey was especially thrilled and happy about the 10th place finisher. Running a time of 3:57.47, Oregon's John Gregorek not only ran his first sub-4, but also joined his dad and fellow Spivey Asics co-worker , Olympian John Gregorek Sr. as the latest father-son sub-4 minute mile duo.
"I'm very happy for both of them," said Spivey, who consistently ran mile times of 3:49 -3:50 in his career, especially during the 1980s at the Dream Mile Races at the hallowed Bislett stadium in Oslo, Norway.
When I talked with Jim, I asked him what advice he can give to the up and coming mile runners who dream one day of competing at a high level. His answers fell along key workouts marked importantly by nutrition, dedication and consistency:
Long runs - over 45 minutes.
Strides - running 6-10 x 100 the last 4-6 weeks of the season, after each recovery day and each hard workout (so, not after a long run).
Short recovery: the last 2-3 weeks of the season - after a race, instead of running 1-2 miles warm down, run 800 at 6:00 pace (so a total of 3 m's)
Most important is to get in a quick warm down and then food, in order to burn more calories.
Not bad advice from someone whose accomplishments include a 3:31 for 1500 meters, 4:52.44 for the 2000 meters, and 13:15 for the 5,000 meters.
Emulating his idol Sebastian Coe, Spivey also has always passed on this mental mantra to many willing to listen-"The most important part of your body for running is the 7 inches above your neck!"