This celebrated Hungarian coach started his track career as a pole vaulter before
becoming a successful 1500 runner. He had several Hungarian titles to his name and
competed in the 1936 Olympic 1,500. Furthermore, he was a member of the Hungarian
team that set a 4×1,500 WR of 15:54 in 1939. His motivation to change from pole
vaulting to track running came from watching Polish 10,000 OG champion Kusocincki,
who, according to Frank Litsky would run 200 repetitions in training. (This training
method precedes Gerschler‘s interval-training innovations as Kusocincki must have been
doing this in 1932 or before.) During his running career, Igloi spent time in Germany,
Finland and Sweden learning about training methods.
During the Second World War, Igloi was in the Hungarian army. After the war, following
a period in Siberia,,Igloi became a professor of history at the University of Budapest. He
also became coach of Honved Budapest, the Hungarian Army sports club in 1950. Two
years later he was appointed to the Hungary coaching staff. Success as a middle-distance
coach came quickly.
In 1955 his three athletes, Sandor Iharos, Laszlo Tabori
and IstvanRozsavolgyi (See The Hungarian Trio Profile),
achieved nine WRs. In a November issue of Sports
Illustrated that year, the headline was ―Hungary becomes
a Great Power—in Track.‖ Most successful was Iharos
with five WRs. This series of WRs by Hungarians was
without a doubt the biggest national breakthrough in the
history of middle-distance running. And it was all done
by Igloi athletes.
After this amazing success, everyone was expecting
Hungarian dominance in the 1956 Olympics; however,
the Soviet invasion of Hungary in October 1956
destroyed those expectations. Iharos, who had set a
10,000 WR earlier that year, didn‘t even attend the
Games. And Rozsavolgyi disappointed. Only Tabori ran
close to expectations. Igloi was able to attend; he must
have been bitterly disappointed.
After Melbourne, Igloi did not return to Hungary. Instead he went withTabori to the US,
where he developed a new school of runners in California. Again he was successful with
the likes of Jim Beatty, Jim Grelle, and Bob Schul. His athletes achieved one WR
(Beatty, Two Miles) and 45 American records. Igloi‘s only Olympic success was with
Bob Schul, who won the 5,000 in Tokyo.
After another period coaching in Greece, where his runners achieved 157 Greek records,
Igloi finally returned to his homeland after the fall of the Soviet Union.
In his coaching career his athletes achieved an amazing 49 world records and 35
European records. However, it must be said that a lot of his athletes had more success
against the clock than against other competitors. His dour approach to the sport was not
always conducive to inspiring his athletes to competitive success.
Like Gerschler, Igloi studied physiology and concluded that interval training (IT) was
better than long steady distance (LSD). He preferred intense IT sessions with short rests.
Also, like Gerschler, Igloi believed that medical understanding was essential in coaching.
―Thus the era of the coach-physician had arrived,‖ wrote Tony Ward. ―A scientific
approach, stopwatch precision in preparation, the aids of medical science—all these were
brought to bear to improve, to hitherto unimagined levels, world-class performances.‖
(Modern Distance Running, p.41)
Mihály Iglói was a Hungarian distance running coach. Iglói coached runners such as Sándor Iharos, István Rózsavölgyi, László Tábori, Bob Schul and Jim Beatty. Counting both outdoors and indoors, and distances no longer officially recognized, Iglói’s students achieved 49 world records.
The key to Iglói’s methods was interval training. Arduous training sessions twice a day sought to develop both speed and stamina. A typical Iglói session involved tens of repetitions of sprints of up to 400 metres with only short jog recoveries, distance run in the longest and hardest sessions totaling up to as much as 35 kilometers. Compared to other similar interval training systems, Iglói’s had an emphasis on repetitions of such short sprints as 100 or 200 metres. His method was also inspired by the ‘style’ running of the 1930s in that he never used a stop watch but regarded his runners intensely and broke up the set of intervals when the described speed (e.g. ‘good swing tempo’) could no longer be run as relaxed as demanded.