The evidence contained in his blogs that suggests that Hill probably needed to peak for only 6 weeks is his statement that he usually felt a training breakthrough after about 5 weeks of heavy training, after which his relatively poorer racing performances (due to his heavy training) suddenly improved dramatically so that despite the continued heavy training, he was running near-personal-best times. If only he had begun his taper then, rather than killing himself by continued excessive training, the outcome may have been different.
That Hill was unable to stick to the winning formula he discovered in 1969 and 1970but chose rather to train harder, hoping that this would improve his performanceis such a common response among runners that it must be considered almost natural. His experience brings to mind the wisdom in coach Bill Bowerman’s famous dictum: “If it works, don’t fix it.”
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Eighth, Hill was unquestionably hindered in his running career by having to hold down a full-time job. The fact that he had to work probably contributed to his poor performance at the 1972 Olympic Games, when he was forced to compete against athletes like Frank Shorter who had no such commitments.
But in the final analysis, I have a feeling that Hill’s fanaticism was the real cause of his downfall; he simply wanted too much to win. This certainly was the belief of the winner of the 1972 Olympic Games Marathon, Frank Shorter, who thought Hill to be “too precise, too compulsive and seems possessed with the scientific method” (Shorter & Bloom, 1984, p. 77). Shorter preferred his own more intuitive approach (Shorter & Bloom, 1984).