Training Log-- Bill Rodgers
Bill Rodgers is famous for winning the Boston Marathon four times. He is also famous for running ludicrously high mileage. Rodgers' career exemplifies the benefits of setting goals and making running a habit. While Rodgers ran in high school and college, his running career began in 1970. He didn't love training in college. He ran with Amby Burfoot, his captain, who had won the Boston Marathon, but he'd often show up to long runs with a crippling hangover and a smoker's hack. Upon graduating, he quit running, picked up smoking in earnest, and rode his motorcycle everywhere until it got stolen. Without transportation, he started running to work and found he liked it. Then he got fired, but he kept running. He went to the local YMCA and ran 10 miles a day on the indoor 12-lap-to-the-mile track. He found the simple monotony soothing, and he could focus and excel around the endless loops in ways that he couldn't in the real world.
Soon he ventured outside, trading the track for the tight loop around Jamaica Pond, where he'd run sixteen miles around the 1.6 mile loop. He began running with the Bill Squires and the Greater Boston Track Club out of Boston College, and found he was pretty good at racing.
Like his old captain, and any competitive runner in Boston, he tried to win the Boston Marathon. He dropped out after twenty miles, quit running, went stir-crazy, then got back into it with a vengeance. He dropped out of the next Boston, but hopped back in and finished fourteenth. He ran the New York City Marathon (when it was four loops around Central Park), finished fifth, then won the Philly Marathon a few weeks later.
In January of 1975, he redoubled his efforts. He ran ten miles every morning, ten miles every afternoon, slept ten hours a night (with a break at 3am to eat spoonfuls of mayonnaise or bacon bits or pizza or pizza covered with mayonnaise and bacon bits), and hit the track once a week with the track club for some long intervals under Squires' direction. He placed third at Cross Country Nationals (losing to Frank Shorter), placed third at at the International Cross Country Championships (at the time, the highest place ever by an American), won the Boston Marathon (in an American Record), then won it three more times (and won New York four times, too).
For Rodgers, running began as a sport, but it wasn't until he made it a habit that it became his calling.