Hadd’s “One Approach to Distance Training”

Foreword by the Editor

“Hadd” was the nickname of a long-distance running coach, who for many years gave his advice freely on the LetsRun.com discussion boards.

He wrote a series of posts in 2003 titled “One Approach to Distance Training”, which is the core of this website. These posts were referred to as the “Hadd Monster Thread”, as the nine main posts total almost 60,000 characters – and in between, he replied to a lot of questions as well.

The Monster Thread was previously compiled and published as a PDF, but I believe it is even easier to read this as web pages with links. Also, it is easier to read this website on a mobile device than the original PDF.

I believe that this information is useful to a lot of runners, and think that Hadd would want everyone to be able to read this. Unfortunately, the original posts on LetsRun.com are deleted, and many of the PDF and Word copies have disappeared. (You can still read the original posts on the Wayback Machine, however.)

I have taken the liberty to do some minor editing and structuring of the posts, to make it a little bit easier to read. I have also done some research to find the references, and provide links to these. In addition, I have created some graphs that the author expressed wishing that he could have included himself.

Hadd’s real name was John Walsh, who lived in Malta until his too early death in 2011.

Please let me know if there is something to be added, removed or improved on this website.

, 28 March, 2019


Foreword by the Author

Editor's note: This is how the first post in the series started, as a foreword or introduction to Part I.

Recently I was asked a number of questions by Wise Man on an earlier thread. Questions that basically asked for more general guidelines on how best to proceed rather than very specific one-off replies to individual queries. The questions were basically along the lines of “how do we put into practice training as you suggest”?

Try as I might, I could not think of a way to put the answer to this into concise form (never did master the art of the one-liner). The more I thought, the more I could think of to say. I came to see that any attempt at brevity would simply result in further questions down the line. Yet I do not like NOT answering…

Another thing that held me back was my doubting there was wide enough genuine interest to justify a whole thread. I was held back to even as late as last night, basically doing the Gollum-thing…

“You’re gonna sound like an arrogant know-it-all (gollum, gollum)”

“But we only wants to help, precious…”

“You’re STILL gonna come across as an arrogant…”

So, as I said above, this morning this suddenly got easier to post, and I would like to thank those of you who expressed their appreciation of my earlier posts in the “most informative” thread. I’m glad that some of you are finding them of value. You helped convince me to go ahead with this.

Enough preamble, therefore. Let’s go to work…

So I am going to write this as I would approach it. And hopefully along the way a number of people will be able to see how they, personally, fit into the picture. Note, this is only ONE approach to training. There can be many. Other coaches on here may have other (equally good, or better) ways of working. But this way is worth looking at, because it works.

Put up the Under Construction signs therefore, and just view this as a work in progress. There will be more posts added by me. I have not laid this out in chapters like some planned book. So, if some bits are incomplete, or I can later think of instances that might not be covered by parts I have already written, I will come back and fit them in.

I think the best thing would be for me to number each part therefore, in the knowledge that there might well be later addenda to part I (or part II), for example, and so everyone will know where those addenda belong. Although there is no plan (for the good reason that it gets longer the more I think about it), I have a good general outline of what I want to say and where this will go. I would expect 4-5 long-ish posts by me (not counting replying to questions), culminating in an actual real life example of all that goes before being put into practice.

Obviously, if there are questions, chuck them in (although I may defer them to later, if I know I will answer them in a future post). They may help me to nudge this in the direction it needs to take, and keep it applicable. I will try to make it as general as possible.

Before I forget, I would suggest that if you have not already done so, you read my earlier long thread before getting into this. May help to make it easier to understand. (And you don’t have to tell me it’s long, I wrote most of it!)

– “Hadd”, 6 March, 2003


Table of Contents

Estimated reading time for all parts: 1 hour.


Further Reading