A few minutes with Greg McMillan

© Copyright - 2012 - Christopher Kelsall 

Greg McMillan is into his fourth year running adidas-McMillanElite - a post-collegiate program for runners who compete over distances from 5k to the marathon. McMillanElite, Inc. is a non-profit Olympic development running team based in Flagstaff, Arizona. 

The team is a collaboration between adidas and McMillan Running Company. McMillan is a coach, competitive masters-age athlete and physiologist. He incorporates training methods from some of the most respected coaches and physiologist from around the world including Joe Vigil, Arthur Lydiard, Dr. Dave Martin, Gabriel Rosa and others. 

Recently adidas-McMillanElite athletes have enjoyed success at the Olympic Trials Marathon that took place in Houston, Texas, with Brett Gotcher running 2:11:06 and Nick Arciniaga finishing in 2:11:30. Team McMillan won the USATF National Club Cross Country Championships December 11, 2011. They have won three of four years. The year they didn’t win, they did not enter a team. 

Christopher Kelsall: Nick Arciniaga’s 2:11:30 marathon time is impressive considering his 10k personal best of 28:29 and half-marathon of 1:03:22. Where you surprised by this result? 

Greg McMillan: All his workouts indicated that he could run that time and he had run 2:11:47 at RNR San Diego the previous June so it was very doable. With regard to his shorter distance PRs, we must remember that these days, many athletes like Nick are going to the marathon quickly after college and not worrying about their shorter distance times. The old concept of run as fast as you can at 5K and 10K then move up isn’t financially possible for athletes like Nick. They have to go to the distance where they can survive financially and that’s certainly not the track. I’m sure Nick could run much faster than his current 10K and half-marathon PRs, but he’s focused on the marathon and running faster at shorter distances isn’t his priority. He’ll likely lower those times when he gets a chance to race a fast 10K and half-marathon. That said, however, we are working hard to improve his speed in training and you’ll see that with what we hope will be some breakthrough performances over the next couple of years. 

CK: What workouts did you have him run to demonstrate his ability to hit the time indicators? 

GM: Our main marathon predictor workout is a 15-mile Japanese-style tempo run. The first 11 miles are run at marathon effort (not pace since we are at altitude) with the last 4 miles nearly all out. If an athlete is able to perform well in this workout while tolerating the mileage and other workouts in our marathon training plan, then there’s good chance of success in the marathon. Over the years, I’ve gathered enough data from all the athletes in our program that I get an idea of what to expect on race day. What’s interesting, of course, is the individual variation. I know how Nick needs to perform to predict his time which is a bit different than how Brett Gotcher needs to perform to predict his time. Coaching is all about individualization. 

CK: How far out from race do you have athletes do the Japanese style tempo run? 

Read the rest of the interview at Athletics Illustrated

Read over 100 interviews by Christopher Kelsall at Athletics Illustrated

U20s Day 6 Recap: Tia Jones Wraps Up U20s With Gold

Earning her second international gold in two seasons and her first IAAF World U20 Championship, Walton High School (GA) junior Tia Jones closed 2018 with quite the performance with a win in the 100 meter hurdles on Sunday in Tampere, Finland. 

Breaking Down The Final Day Of The AAU Club Championships

The final day of the AAU Club National Championships on Saturday was full of record-breaking and elite performances. 

U20s Day 5 Recap: Team USA Finally Lands Gold

The IAAF World U20 Championships have, at times, been a frustrating experience for Team USA.

Day 6 Semifinal Results Promise Epic Ending For AAU Club Nationals

2018 AAU Club Nationals Highlight: 9yo Destyni Devine Breaks Club 200m Record

The sixth day of competition at the AAU Club Championships on Friday was brimming with promising semifinal performances, which bodes well for the final day of competition.

Matthew Centrowitz Joins UW As Volunteer Coach

UW Press Release

Miami Gardens Xpress Has Become An AAU Dynasty

2018 AAU Club Nationals Highlight: 13yo Cha'iel Johnson Breaks 800m Record

It’s tempting to focus solely on the incredible individual performances of superstar athletes such as Tyrese Cooper and Cha’iel Johnson at this week’s AAU National Club Championships, as they have been dominating their competition and producing one stellar result after another. 

Coleman Returns To Top Of The Men's 100m; Rabat DL Recap

There were plenty of reasons to doubt Christian Coleman entering Friday’s Rabat Diamond League 100m. This was his first race in six weeks--the missed meets attributed to a hamstring issue that turned him from unbeatable in the winter to mortal in the spring.

U20s Day 4 Recap: Americans Lead Medal Count

While Team USA continues to struggle picking up gold at the World U20 Championships in Tampere, Finland, the Americans have proven one thing.

PattiSue Plumer Named Texas Women's Distance Coach

The University of Texas has tabbed PattiSue Plumer to head up the women’s distance program. 

Cha'iel Johnson Takes Down Record No. 2 At AAU Club Nationals

Cha'iel Johnson Runs From Her Heart

After watching two records go down, the premiere event of day five at the AAU National Club Championships was the 400m, but the best is yet to come as finals haven't even kicked off yet.