Monday, November 27, 2006

Who's this Lydiard guy anyway?

Oh, oh... That was a question my coach/wife asked me the other day after reading one of my laments about training plans and the lack thereof. Arthur Lydiard was arguably on of the greatest athletic coaches of all time and more specifically he is the running coach to whom Andrew now subscribes.

I've been sitting on the fence with no good arguments except basic laziness and an unwillingness for change. My old program is just so comfortable and easy that I'm tempted to stay with it for another marathon training cycle. But on the other hand, I'm getting older and improvements are getting harder to come by and so maybe I do need some kind of drastic change. The Lydiard program would only slightly increase my total mileage since I'd stick with the 6 days of running per week but would have benefits in the range of efforts that it calls for. With a total of 20 weeks to go before Boston it should also be a good opportunity to see if there is still hope for me or not. Counting backwards; 6 weeks co-ordination and taper, 4 weeks anerobic, 4 weeks hill resistance, leaving 6 weeks for aerobic conditioning. And to start I'll be going by time and not distance, ok coach Andrew?

Speaking of the devil you just have to read his hilarious description of our Sunday 20 mile run around the hill and dale of St. Andrews. It had me laughing so hard I couldn't see the computer screen from the tears in my eyes.

I do beg to differ on a few minor points though. We did not run over every hill and dale in my little town. In fact I made a special point of taking it easy on Andrew avoiding most of the hills at least as far as possible. The 'jaunt' though the woods was not an attempt to lose my partner but a strategy to 'sneak up' on yet another hill. And 'hilly highway'? Sorry, not real hills but next visit we'll make sure to visit where I work at the bottom of a cliff.

It was another great run, even if it did start in total darkness and was run on slippery frost glazed roads for the 1st hour. Our 1st five miles were on my normal town loop with a return by the golf course to avoid the hills. After a quick pit and water stop it was 'down' the hills again for a scenic jaunt across the ocean floor and then twisting and winding back and forth through town as the sun rose on a beautiful calm morning. We eventually made it home for another quick water stop before finishing off the run with an easy out and back on the highway. The pace picked up only slightly for this last bit but 20 miles is still 20 miles and I was having a hard time keeping up at this point. We were both happy when the finish was at last in sight. Thanks Andrew, I needed that!

Good running.


Mike said...

Since Lydiard was such a huge proponent of training your aerobic system first and foremost, have you considered adding more time to the conditioning and subtracting it from the coordination/anaerobic phases? The way you have it set up now it seems close to a 60/40 split between aerobic and anaerobic focus, though the marathon is almost a 100% aerobic event.

Just a thought to put out there, though I'm sure what you have planned would work well too.

Unknown said...

I vote for Lydiard. I want some more examples of how well the Lydiard method works. I know Arizona Mike is a prime example of the benefits. You might just find that it works for you.

And if you must see a photo of me in my pink poncho you can click on the link to Michelle's blog and there is a photo of us all in our poncho's before the start.

Phil said...

Mike has made me a believer. I'm not ready for the rigors of the program, but watching his progress since switching to the Lydiard approach has been nothing short of dramatic.

Andrew said...

I agree with Mike. Pare down the anaerobic side for the benefit of additional weeks of aerobic training. In no way does this make it easier - it just trains a different system. The system used during a marathon incidentally.

The Lydiard program is designed to make physical changes to the cardiovascular system. That is the reason you see leaps in performance from level to the next in runners. The ability to run fast is extended to cover 26.2 miles. This makes all the difference.

While there is more than one way to skin a cat a lot of other programs either are designed to A) accommodate your schedule or B)sharpen your current conditioning.

Lydiard is neither. You must accommodate him. Changes need to be made in order to do it. This is the first indicator that you have entered serious training. Secondly, Lydiard changes your conditioning to a level never dreamed of.

Pare back the speed and hills, keep the coordination phase(for this will teach you your new marathon pace)and load up on the aerobic conditioning.

Go for it!

Mike said...

I really like Andrew's comment, though if you've never done a hill phase I think trying to keep at least 3 weeks of one would really help. It's still very much part of the aerobic conditioning, but it is a nice bridge between the the conditioning and faster training.

Andrew said...

Mike does know better than all of us how beneficial the hill work is. I still have yet to do it so I shouldn't advise against it.

Put that in, and go to it.

Olga said...

Oh, now I feel so un-proper un-trained...somebody hit me on a head! Or better yet, come and run with me, push me and kick me screaming:) Best of luck!

Love2Run said...

Thanks for the comments and interest everyone.

My feeling is that my 'base' is fairly good and I should be able to slip into the conditioning phase without too much problem. The plan is to do 6 weeks and then evaluate. I might then take a few weeks from the co-ordination/anaerobic phase and add more base or jump right into the hills.

It should be interesting though to see what happens if I can stick with it.

UMaine Cooperative Extension said...

"It should be interesting though to see what happens if I can stick with it."

I can tell you what will happen, your hair will turn red and you'll grow a beard.

Andrew said...

That is so cruel.

Chris said...

Nobby Hashizume speaks!

The co-founder of the lydiard foundation and world's leading authority on the Lydiard method will be on Victoria Radio from 3:30 pm to 4:00 Friday November 2nd. THAT's TOMORROW!

Tune in.

Anonymous said...