Harald Norpoth

Olympic Silver Medalist - 1964 Tokyo Olympics

 

Article of © Steffen Haffner, FAZ of 22.08.02

Harald Norpoth was neither Olympic winner nor European champion. Yet he was considered one of the great runners of his time. The spindle thin man whose appearance of not getting enough to eat always allowed him to shine on the long distance scene. This Thursday he celebrates his 60th birthday in his hometown of Telgte, near Munster, and will not allow himself to celebrate his past successes. "I am not, as a rule, the type to go over and over the past." So he has only invited to Telgte those who have brought sunshine to his life and will do so in the future. Then because he begins his retirement with his new year, he has more time.

Because his knees finally went bad from playing tennis and football seriously and not from the running to which he was so attached, he ended his vocational career. Now he enjoys more time with his wife, his 31 year old daughter and his 30 year old son who live near his home and visit often. And naturally, he'll be active in sports, doing much bicycling as running is impossible because of his knees.

As he looks backs, the activities he had done for the sport, whether for his club or as speaker for the national athletics federation, were as important as his titles and medals.  Therefore, the six plus footer represented Westfalia in all important competitions, always with distinction, never finishing worse than sixth place. These consistent performances were the result of consistent training.

"On 365 days year round I trained outside, whether rain, snow, minus 25 degree weather. His best result was in Tokyo in 1964 when he was second over 5,000 meters. There the young German was with the favorites, Frenchman Michel Jazy and the Australian Ron Clarke behind him, but the American underdog Bob Schul came with a kick. In the European Championships he was twice second at 5,000 meters and once thrid at 1500 meters, three championships at the popular Europa Cup, thirty seven German senior titles, and fifty cross country races. This balance says something for the application of a few 60 kilometer runs. Results like the WR over 2000 meters and the European record over 3000 meters and his best 5000 meter time of 13:20.49, still respectable today, were for Norpoth, mere by-products. How many German runners could finish the European Championships with a time of 14 minutes and wonder that "I was completely recovered after twenty four hours." This thin runner found running for records boring. "I was more the competitive type. I loved tactics. I could not run good times for tempo runs, but in competitions I got serious." From the second or third position he counted on a finishing sprint from 500-600 meters out that would increase his lead.

As important as his many running records is a letter to Harald Norpoth from national trainer Sepp Herberger who was convinced he would succeed as a football trainer. Also, if the track athlete had done sports studies that let him become a football coach, it would not have become a second major career. The sausage-like man always had a technique for winning money for his sports club or DJK of Telgte by playing racehorses and finally was the trainer for the sports club association of Warendorf. And to the question of whether he would rather be a famous football player or a famous runner, Harald Norpoth answers without hesitation, "I much prefer playing football at the highest level as to me football is a skill sport and has stronger interest."

(A look at some of Harald Norpoth's Training Log - 1962 & 1964) 

Norpoth 9 summer weeks in 1962

Week 1
MON – warmup+5X2000m/7:30 pace Rec=400m jog + 3X500m in 76sec to 71 sec.
TUE – Travel to Hamburg. 10 kilos easy in Hamburg
WED – 1500m RACE. – 1st in 3:42.8; last 500m in 69.8, last 400 in 54.6
THU – Travel back. Rest day
FRI – warmup + 5X2000m/7:30 pace Rec=400m jog + 4X500m/76sec,74sec,73sec,71sec
SAT - warmup+5X2000m/7: :30 pace Rec=400m jog + 3X500m in 73sec/72sec/71 sec.
SUN - 15 kilos easy run in Wald

Week 2
MON – rest day
TUE – warmup + 15kilos run in Waldniel. 5X3kilos outdoor circuit laps in negative split.
WED – 15kilos easy in Waldniel circuit
THU – 10 kilos easy
FRI – 10kilos easy in Wald.
SAT – warmup + 3X10X200m (first set group average 36.5; second 34.5; third 33.5
fourth 31.7 Rec=200m jog. Last set in 25seconds.
SUN – 20kilos easy in Wald.

Week 3
MON – warmup+5X2000m/7:30 pace Rec=400m jog + 3X500m in 76sec to 71 sec.
TUE – Travel to Hamburg. 10 kilos easy in Hamburg
WED – 1500m RACE. – 1st in 3:42.8; last 500m in 69.8, last 400 in 54.6
THU – Travel back. Rest day
FRI – warmup + 5X2000m/7:30 pace Rec=400m jog + 4X500m/76sec,74sec,73sec,71sec
SAT - warmup+5X2000m/7: :30 pace Rec=400m jog + 3X500m in 73sec/72sec/71 sec.
SUN - 15 kilos easy run in Wald.

Week 4
MON – 10 kilos in Wald.
TUE – rest day
WED –rest day
THU – Travel back. Rest day
FRI – warmup + 5X2000m/7:30 pace Rec=400m jog + 4X500m/76sec,74sec,73sec,71sec
SAT - warmup+5X2000m/7: :30 pace Rec=400m jog + 3X500m in 73sec/72sec/71 sec.
SUN - 15 kilos easy run in Wald.

Week 5
MON – rest day
TUE – travel to Malmo. Rest day
WED – 10 kilos easy
THU – 10 kilos easy
FRI – 3 kilos warmup + 20X1min Tempo 1 minute pause + 4 kilos cooldown
SAT – rest day
SUN - 1500m RACE. In Malmo – 1st in 3:42.0

Week 6
MON – Travel back from Malmo. Rest day
TUE –15kilos run in Waldniel, that΄s 5X3kilos outdoor tempo as circuit laps in negative split.
WED – 8 kilos esy run in Wald.
THU – 12 kilos easy
FRI – 15 kilos easy run with SHORT PAUSES FOR RECOVER
SAT – rest day

Week 7
SUN – 15kilos run in Waldniel. 5X3kilos outdoor circuit laps in negative split.
MON – 12 kilos easy
TUE – 15kilos run in Waldniel. 5X3kilos outdoor circuit laps in negative split.
WED – 3 kilos warmup + 20X1min Tempo 1 minute pause + 4 kilos cooldown
THU – rest day
FRI – rest day
SAT – 3000m RACE in 8:17.5
SUN – 10 kilos easy in Wald. with SHORT PAUSES FOR RECOVER

Week 8
MON – warmup+5X2000m/7:30 pace Rec=400m jog + 3X500m in 76sec to 71 sec.
TUE –10 kilos easy
WED – 3 kilos warmup + 20X1min Tempo 1 minute pause + 4 kilos cooldown
THU – Rest day
FRI – warmup + 10X200m in 36sec REC=200m jog + 4X500m/76sec, 74sec,73sec,71sec
SAT – 15 kilos easy run in Wald.
SUN - 15 kilos easy run in Wald. with SHORT PAUSES FOR RECOVER

Week 9
MON - 3 kilos warmup + 20X1min Tempo 1 minute pause + 4 kilos cooldown
TUE – 15 kilos easy
WED – rest day
THU – warmup + 9kilos negative split that΄s an outdoor 3X3kilos circuit
FRI - warmup+5X2000m/7:30 pace Rec=400m jog + 3X500m in 76sec to 71 sec.
SAT – warmup + 4X5X200m in 34sec; 31sec 28 sec: 26 sec REC=200m jog + cooldown
SUN - 15 kilos easy run in Wald. with SHORT PAUSES FOR RECOVER

 

 

Norporth – second part

1964 (Begins Sept. 1)

01.09 – 18km easy + 2x1200m/3:25 + 1X500m/1:12
02.09 – 9.6kilos (8laps) in 40min
03.09 – rest day
04.09 – 5000m warmup + 2X2400m outdoor run (2 laps of 1200m)/8:44/8;27 Rec= 5 to 10 minutes.
05.09 – rest day
06.09 – rest day
07.09 – 15kilos (12 laps)
08.09 - 15kilos (12 laps)
09.09 - 15kilos (12 laps)

10.09 – travel to Cologne. rest day
11.09 – 5000m run in Cologne – 13:58 win over the Polish runner Boguszewich
12.09 – travel back
13.09 – 50min easy run
14.09 - 50min easy run
15.09 - 50min easy run
16.09 – rest day
17.09 - 50min easy run
18.09 - 50min easy run
19.09 – rest day
20.09 - 50min easy run
21.09 – rest day
22.09 - 50min easy run
23.09 - 50min easy run«
24.09 - 50min easy run
25.09 – 7200m easy run (6 laps in 30min) + 2X500m/75sec Rec=5minutes pause
26.09 – rest day
27.09 – warmup + 1500m tempo run in 3:52
28.09 – rest day
29.09 – 18 kilos easy run
30.09 15kilos=That΄s 12 circuit laps in crescendum (negative split) from easy run to tempo pace in 55:48 total duration (1st - slower lap in 4:55; last – faster one in 3:58)

01.10 – 45min run
02.10 – Travel to Toquio
03.10 – X
04.10 – 45min as 1min fast-1min slow
05.10 – 20 kilos easy run with short rest recover periods
06.10 – 20 kilos easy run with short rest recover periods
07.10 – 4 kilos easy +6000m with runners Lutz Philipp and Leizrich
08.10 – 6kilos medium run + 1000m track 5000m pace tempo + 5X80-100meters strides + 4000m cooldown
09.10 – 16kilos =8kilos easy and last 8kilos in negative split
10.10 – In Toquio stadium – warmup + 5X2000m/7:06/7:20/7:00/6:23/6:05 – with 62 sec last lap set. Rec=400m walking + 2000m cooldown
11.10 – 4X2000m warmup up with 400m walk + 10X400m/63.5 Rec=400m walk+2000m cooldown
12.10 – 2000m easy run + 3X1000m/2:41 – 2:41 – 2:39 Rec=several minutes
13:10 - 40m easy run
14.10 – short easy run
15.10 - 5kilos easy
16.10 – warmup + 5000m (heat ?) in 14:11
17.10 – very easy run
18.10 – 5000m Toquio – warmup +Silver medal

1964 TOQUIO 5000m final
1 Bob Schul, USA 13,48,8
2 Harald Norpoth FRG 13,49,6
3 Bill Dellinger USA 13,49,8
4 Michel Jazy FRA 13,49,8
5 Kipchoge Keino KEN 13,50,4
6 Bill Baillie NZL 13,51,0
7 Nikolay Dutov URS 13,53,8
8 Thor Helland NOR 13,57,0

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