Here is some extensive info from the master coach himself:
I have a few questions.
Regarding “Training Considerations
(by John Davies – Olympic medalist)”
“15. It is a fallacy that anaerobic training develops speed. It in fact counteracts speed.” This is something you’ll hear from a lot of coaches. I don’t understand why this is. My understanding is that it is because your form really breaks down during a workout. This doesn’t happen with me, and if I’d never allow myself to continue a workout if it did. I think the problem is a lot of distance runners think doing 200’s or 300’s is speed-work. Yes, it maybe race pace, but should not be anywhere near all out. I hate when someone will run the first couple and/or last couple too fast and there AWOL the rest of the workout. Being able to hit the times with precision is so vital for a middle distance runner. My thought on it is a workout like 5×300 @ 42 seconds with 2-3 minutes rest is like (intensive) tempo for me, but for a 400 specialist it would be a very difficult SE workout. My question really is-is there another way anaerobic training is detrimental to speed? I know it won’t develop it, but in what way can it hurt?
I hear ya barking 800, I always had teammates who would run every other repeat and then try to blast the last one. I would slightly chill on the next to last repeat just so I could beat up on them during the last repeat.
It is amazing how everything on the track is called “speed work.” But, if you compare it to the butt slow running that many distance runners do on “aerobic” days then I suppose it is speed comparitively.
I don’t think that anaerobic work itself is bad for speed, but when you combine what is probably more like special endurance track work with recoveries that are too short then you don’t get the effect that is beneficial. If you are going to do what I call “segment” training, then the recoveries has to be longer.
I firmly believe that one of the major keys to success for a middle distance runner (especially in the 800) is to be able to merge what sprinters call special endurance with extensive tempo. In the extensive tempo, you run 150’s, 200’s or 300’s with fairly short recovery. In special endurance, you bust out a longer a similarly length segment or maybe even go as far as say 5-600 meters. What you want to try to do is get to the point where you are in a zone between those two-just a bit faster than extensive tempo and just a bit slower than special endurance and keep the recovery short-or make it shorter as the workout progresses.
For example, one of my bread and butter workouts as an athlete was 7-10 x 300 meters with a 100 meter jog. I would start at 46-47 and work down to 37-38. Sometimes it would be 3 x (3 x 300) with a 100 jog within the set and 500 jog between sets. I am a big fan of active recoveries for 800 running because it prepares the body for the demands of the event-especially the second lap.
As to your question about anaerobic hurting speed. I think that if any runner gets too far into acidosis too quickly then they have reached their limiting factor and their pace will inevitably suffer. You are correct not to want to be in a zone where your form breaks down because you would just be reinforcing bad biomechanical habits. Practice doesn’t make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect.
Most distance runners would benefit from true speed development. They could do this once a week by doing short segments (I like 60-80 meters) at top end speed with a very slow walk back recovery or 150 sprint-float-sprints with 250 walk recovery).
For someone aged 18-35 yrs +5ys/-3yrs the answer is yes their bodies could possibly handle the workloads required to make it to 100 miles in 9-10 weeks.Â Most good to elite distance runners do doubles throughout the week, but not everyday.Â Out of shape morons like me don't do doubles but instead like to mix tempo and easy in a continuous run followed by some intervals.Â
remember the median age for this is about 27yrs of age to do this.
Here is an example for a 40 mile/week person to start on a 9-10 week base building phase of what I would setup for someone.
Monday 1.5 miles AM hard, 4 miles PM easy
Tuesday 5 miles AM easy, 1.5 miles PM hard
Wednesday 4 miles easy AM, race specific workout of 3x1k or 2×1 mile, etc.. in PM with 2 mile warmup and cooldown
Thursday 6 miles easy PM
Friday 2 mile @ 5k tempo AM, 6 miles easy PM
Saturday 5 mile fartlek PM
Sunday – some form of active rest
then add 1 mile each week to each easy run, .25 miles to each hard run every other week and slowly increase race specific work to 10K pace @ 10k worth of distance or to 10K tempo and you get 100 miles a week in 9-10 weeks.Â Basically that person is increasing their training time by 30-40 minutes per week.Â It's not easy, but it is not exactly impossible for the serious 800m and above runner to do.
I like to build through the week in a progression on mileage with wed being my peak performance day of the week, then start to wind it down a bit with Friday being a rebound test day and let the body start recovering for the next wednesday. For someone who is in the military I would alter the training a bit, to make mileage heavier on weekends, while I was in the USMC and training at 80-100 miles per week for marathons it was easier to do back to back days of 6-8, 12 and 15 or 6-8, 10 and 18 with a tempo run mixed in on friday PM, saturday, and sunday and veg out afterwards when in garrison. I personally tended to overtrain if I stacked the weekdays with to high a workload, because I would plan on not resting on the weekends when I should have been and those long mileage days were always followed by a couple of beers in my barracks room playing tecmo football, before falling asleep. I went thru a lot of trial and error to make myself a succesful distance runner for a period of 2 years and it never panned out the way I wanted to. Mainly because I thought at 19-20 yrs old I could make myself into a succesful marathoner at that age and for that age I wasn't bad, but I needed about 5-6 more years of mileage to know for sure, the answer was probably doubtful. I am certain I would have broken 3 hrs if I stuck to it, but another runner/coach showed me the light after my 2nd unsuccesful attempt at a marathon and were my true talents lied and that my friends is another story.
For someone aged 18-35 yrs +5ys/-3yrs the answer is yes their bodies could possibly handle the workloads required to make it to 100 miles in 9-10 weeks.
Did Lydiard really say this should / could be done? This seems way too exreme a progression but I am not really familiar with Lydiard's training.
Actually there a couple of caveats to this, you are to work yourself to 100-140 miles per week through gradual progression, most typical people going for this mileage already run 30-50 miles a week. Lydiard is a fine man and much like Percy Cerutty in what he was trying to accomplish and you can't argue that his methods have not worked, but most who try to mimic his training as coaches have not been all that succesful. I believe most of that is due to poor athletic guidance as coaches and those who add counterproductive twists to his training. Mostly they probably ask for too much mileage too quickly before a transistion into anaerobic work which will often lead to injury.
BTW, a good read on Lydiard is his book "Run to the Top." You'll find you probably you disagree with some of it, but regardless it is an interesting read.
Is anyone aware of any current runners who have progressed in milage so quickly. It was my general impression that it would take 3-4 years for a person who regularly runs 30-50 mpw to get their weekly milage up over 100 without completely breaking down.
lydiard did not want you to progress that fast. he wanted at least 10wks of the level you were trying to reach before you started the next phase.
i believe the difference in his success and the lack of others is that he did not have his athletes racing until they were ready. they most likely took a few years to dev before they started competitive racing. too many coaches try to have their athletes racing fast too soon. yes they might be faster in the short term but their overall development is diminished.
% of volume- i believe in the Daniels belief of 25-30% of weekly volume for your long run.
at Arkansas the distance guys only go 12.5-14.5miles on avg but they run it around 5:30 pace or faster. this is only 15-20% of avg mileage which is usually 80-85mpw now. i believe the 12.5mile run record is like 62mins (sub 5 pace) by Alistar Cragg.
the most extreme example of a athlete increasing mileage is Vicky Gill (15th NCAA XC). she came to FSU and had only been running 2-3years at that point, but she was putting in over 100miles a week for most of that.
when i look at older shedules from world classrunners in 800m i see a difference, especially the rest period. In 1960's did lets say 10 x 300m in racepacetime ( 38 – 39-40") between 300m jog or walk, 1 or 2 600's in 1.18 -1.20, walk back same distance. Now you see that athlets shorten there restperiod 3 ( 3 x300m) with only 50 or 100m jog, in 1960 Snell runs 1.44.3 on a grassfield, now 50 years later 1.44.3 is still a very good worldtime and we have better material and fields in rubber.Or is it a misunderstanding ?
i love lydiards style…..however i am not sure i understand how to take his style with a very short high school season, and then transition that to our summer cross country program and into that season. does anyone have an idea how i would break this up? how can someone break the lydiard system into 400–800-1600–3200. thanks for the help!!
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