About those old wooden hurdles that looked like fences. My father was a college hurdler in the 1930s. He officiated high school meets through the 1970s. He looked at aluminum hurdles with their plastic tops and laughed. In his day the hurdles were so heavy that the runner went down not the hurdler when striking one. My reply was, "I guess you didn't charge them." He said, "What are you kidding. Of course we did. If you went down you went down!" At my college the school record in the highs had been set in the 1930s by a then national class athlete. 30 years later the talk was that he could place a dime on the top of a row of hurdles and knock them off without hitting the hurdle. 25 years after I graduated the curator of the school hall of fame asked the old record holder if that had been true. He said it was so. Being a farm boy who practiced on his own homemade ones barefoot he trained himself to get that close to each hurdle.
The champions of those days mostly ran on their natural ability and toughness. If you read about workouts that they did, you would be amazed at the times that they recorded. There were some coaches who were way ahead of their time but info wasn't disseminated as it would be later on. My high school coach was a prime example of this. His coach knew little about running the mile. He discovered a system of roads going up hills of varying degrees. He would jog a mile or so to the area and run the hills which were of different lengths as well at different speeds. He would jog in between until he felt ready to go again. After 45 min. or so he would jog back to his school. It worked pretty well as he was the best in the area. But most runners of that era were vastly undertrained.