Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The hills are alive...

No, those aren't my legs, but Haiden loves Dad's work shoes (what can I say, Tucson is a casual town). Back to the hills for week two of four for my Lydiard Hill Phase, and I'm starting to get into the groove of it. It's 2.25 miles there, then a circuit up the hill, down, three windsprints at the base (all slightly downhill, about 60 steps so somewhere over 100 meters but under 200 meters), then back to the base. I do this four times, and each circuit takes me about 13 minutes. Then it's another 2.25 miles back home, giving me 10 miles for the day. Ah, how I love a routine.

I got some good advice from R.R.C.A. coach Glenn McCarthy, who acted as Arthur Lydiard's translator when he was training coaches in Venezuela back in 1973. Glenn uses a Lydiard-focused approach to coach a masters group in Boulder, Colorado, and has also had some good influence on some of the high school runners there. Here's a nice article where Glenn talks about his approach to helping coach Brad Harkrader, from Thornton High School in Colorado, improve by slowly increasing his base mileage and bringing him to a peak at the right time through the right balance of aerobic work and intensity.

Glenn's opinions on the hill phase are rooted in what Lydiard described to the Venezuelan coaches in 1973. He says that the muscles used in steep hill running exercises fatigue and basically shut down at about 3 minutes, and then need about equal time to recover. I noted that my "up" time on my hill circuit was close to 5 minutes, and I was definitely dragging and losing knee drop and form by the end. Since I was still pretty tired from yesterday's 22 miler, taking his advice of working for a shorter duration on the uphill was easy today. I shortened my hips-forward, knees up, back-leg fully extended drills on the uphills to a little over 3 minutes, then instead of heading straight down the hill, I kept running (slowly) up to the top (it evens out a bit so I'm still able to recover) before heading down. This hopefully keeps my muscles from going right from the uphill shock to the downhill eccentric contractions, which should allow them to recover (Nobby says the same thing, to recover for 800 before heading back down).

With a shorter work interval I was able to get my knees up higher, and hopefully I'm getting more out of the exercises by focusing on better form coupled made possible with the shorter duration. It's a lot to work through, but with people like Nobby and Glenn offering great interpretations of Lydiard's methods, I feel like I'm going in the right direction (up, of course!!)

Training: 10 miles with 4 hill circuits, pretty slow

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