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History 101- Introduction- From the Beginning to the 1950's

This Course is part of The Scholar Program. You are welcome to purchase this course individually, but if you purchase The Scholar Program membership for $29/month you will gain access to every program in the HPW Academy of Scholarship. You can find more details on The Scholar Program here.

What can you expect from History 101?

Why should we learn how Olympians did in 1890? Because training evolves in an almost natural selection type way. We ebb and flow between speed and endurance, bouncing back and forth as we go. We keep what works, ditch what doesn't seem to. But it's not a perfect system, sometimes we discard ideas that are too far ahead of their time, other times we venture too far in one direction. This course is designed to provide you a deep understanding of how training started. Where did intervals, fartleks, and base training come from? They started in the early 1900's and they might not look exactly like their modern incarnations, but understanding where they started allows us to know where they might evolve to.

Topics covered include:

  • The evolution of training- the natural ebb and flow of volume versus intensity.
  • What did training look like in 1900?
  • The invention of the fartlek.
  • What Paavo Nurmi can teach us about the mix of speed and endurance.
  • A history of interval training
  • How we progressed from an all or nothing approach of training.
  • What Bannister, Landy, and the quest for the 4-minute mile can teach us about the evolution of training.
  • How some coaches were decades ahead of others and how we can do the same.
  • How training functions via natural selection, keeping what works and ditching what doesn't.

How will this course be delivered?

Through a combination of video lectures, readings, powerpoint presentations, podcast style audio recordings, and more. We attack teaching from multiple directions in order to help the student absorb the material best.

What we guarantee:

We will continue to develop and curate content that we think is valuable for the coaching community. We promise to continually update this content so that it is the best coaching resource on the planet. You'll be the first to hear about our lessons in coaching high school, college, and elite runners.


Your Instructor


Steve Magness & Jonathan Marcus
Steve Magness & Jonathan Marcus

STEVE MAGNESS is the bestselling author of Peak Performance: Take Advantage of the New Science of Success and The Science of Running. He is a coach to some of the top distance runners in the world, having coached numerous athletes to top 15 at the World Championships and Olympic Games. As well as having coached six Top 10 performances at a major Marathon (Boston, NYC, Chicago). He's coached athletes such as Natosha Rogers, Neely Spence-Gracey, Sara Hall, Mark English, Jackie Areson, Brian Barraza, Sarah Crouch, and many more. He currently coaches at the University of Houston. Known widely for his integration of science and practice, Magness has been on the forefront of innovation in sport. He serves as an adjunct professor of Strength and Conditioning at St. Mary's University.


JONATHAN MARCUS is the director and co-founder of High Performance West. He's developed athletes to national championships, Olympic Trials Qualifying standards, and national records. Some of the athletes he has coached include: Tara Welling, Nicole Blood, Eleanor Fulton, Mckayla Fricker, Daniel Herrera, and more. Previously Jon was the Head Cross Country Coach at Clackamas Community College and an assistant Track & Field/Cross Country Coach at Portland State, University of Portland, and Warner Pacific College. He graduated with a B.A. from Columbia University in the City of New York in 2006.


Frequently Asked Questions


When does the course start and finish?
The course starts now and never ends! It is a completely self-paced online course - you decide when you start and when you finish.
How long do I have access to the course?
How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 30 days and we will give you a full refund.

Get started now!