Tuesday, April 25, 2006

You Can Run in Ovals?

A few days ago I posted about my long term goal of breaking 2:30 for the marathon. Somehow I've managed to amass a few kind readers who offered some encouragement as well as advice. Never at a loss for words, Duncan offered a little of each. "...After this June marathon, become more of a critical thinker. You know your body better than Lydiard would have. Go with what works for you. Experiment more. Get out of WWLD. Push back just a tad from that damned dogma, science, and structure that seems to be so pervasive out there in the running world for reasons varying from altruistic to pure dollar greed. Am I saying to stop following Lydiard ? Hell no. You wouldn't do it anyway--understandably so. However, perhaps rely more on his principles and less on what he wrote on page 30, Chapter 6. Listen to your own instincts not what someone said or wrote for a large audience. Push the envelope. Along those lines, think about laying in your speed and hills sooner in your training. Consider mixing it up in parallel instead of laying the elements in serially. I'm sure some of your mentors may disagree with me or maybe I'm somehow quoting some vague prinicple of his which always seems to be the case here, like some sort of religious counterargument--I dunno. Screw it--to drop 9 more minutes you may have to become an iconoclast or grow in other directions to some degree: small or large. Perhaps not...but just think about it after June. You know yourself better than anyone else. Cliche' yes, but appropriate to close with nonetheless."

I honestly take this in the spirit I feel it is given, as I really like and respect Duncan, and in truth it echoes much of the sentiment I run up against when people discuss the merits/drawbacks of my training plan either online or in person. As far as getting my nose out of Arthur Lydiard's text and not training to a printed schedule for the masses verbatim goes, I think I'm on my way. I do use three different schedules by Lydiard as a guide (1964 Run to the Top, 1978 Running the Lydiard Way, and 1995 Running to the Top), combined with the lecture and "Introduction to the Lydiard System" I post on my sidebar. I think my log resembles the "spirit" of these schedules and principles without following any of them to the letter.

Simply put, here is how I try to implement and distill Lydiard training in my schedule-

Conditioning phase: Roughly half the total preparation time, 7 weeks for me. Get your endurance first, it takes the longest to build, and you keep it the longest. Three long runs a week, the longest being at least as long time-wise as you plan spend running your marathon. Alternate easier days and harder days, all aerobic running. Throw in striders when you can.

Hill phase: 4 weeks, with three hill workouts a week with windsprints to build strength while maintaining endurance through longer runs on alternating days. Build strength and add it to your endurance.

Anaerobic/track phase and coordination phase: 4 weeks: I diverge a bit from Lydiard's traditional training here. In his schedules he prescribes 4 weeks or longer of hard, anaerobic work. Repeats or intervals, time trials of 2 miles to 10K, and fast 100 strides every 200 meters or the like on alternating days. He follows this with 4-6 weeks of "coordination" training, including pace judgement time trials of 20K up to the full marathon, along with shorter time trials and workouts of 50-sprint, 50-float. I tried to follow this to the letter last time and I feel I was "oversharpened" or a little stale by the time the marathon came around. This time I'm combining these two phases and reducing them to 4 weeks (instead of 8-10 or so). During each of these weeks I'm planning a fast time trial (2 miles to 10K), a day of intervals or sprint drills, and a day of pace judgement 20K to 35K time trials.

Two weeks of taper and then the marathon.

It is Lydiard training, but I am adapting it according to my time-frame and my past experience (where I felt tired the last few weeks). Stay tuned for tomorrow's post, where I'll run off at the mouth a bit about why I like waiting to add strength and then speed separately.

Oh yeah, I ran on the track for the first time in more than 3 months. I met Lucas and the East Side Track and Altitude Club for a 6x800 workout at Sabino High School, which has the finest track I have ever set foot on. Most of the guys are a bit older, so the recoveries tended to be a little long as they regrouped, and they run half the workouts backwards (clockwise), which made things interesting. Lucas typically took the first lap or so with me tucked in behind, and I finished off the second lap. I think he ran every first 400 at exactly 1:16, which made for a very smooth workout. 2:31, 2:32, 2:31, 2:31, 2:31, 2:27. I probably felt so good because the recoveries were long (close to 3 minutes for a SLOWLY jogged 400), but as a guest I didn't want to step on any toes.

Training: 7 miles, including 6x800 on the track


Anonymous said...

please tell me that WWLD stands for a What Would Lydiard Do? bracelet! That would be awesome.

Also, I think an open track meet should be put together on Sabino's nice new track, but not run counterclockwise, I don't think I even know how to turn right.


Marc said...

Thanks for your distillation of Lydiard and for offering up Duncan's advice - both valuable for this runner, more ingrediants for the soup.

This running business is so much like cooking. At first you follow the recipe book to the letter, and then you start to experiment and improvise to your own taste.

Thomas said...

Yeah, I was struggling with the meaning of WWLD as well.

I get the impression you know very well how to improve - more so than just about any other runner whose blog I read.

Mike said...

I'm with you Mike, that track just looks fast. The only other time I've been on it was for the last 300 of the SOB 10 miler, where even the fastest track in the world wouldn't help my kick.

Good point Marc, the hardest part is not having a "control" pot of training soup you could cook next to the doctored version to see which one ended up tasting better. I for one could never improve on mom's meatballs, even though I disagreed with some of the ingredients.

Thanks Thomas, starting out overweight and out of shape like I did helped pad those early PR's!

Sasha Pachev said...

Mike - I agree with Duncan. I have written something to this effect in the past - the greatness of Lydiard (or of any great coach for that matter) is not so much in his system, as in instinctively knowing what to do for every individual runner to help him reach his potential. You will need to learn to listen to your body, ask what it lacks, hear the answer, and then work on improving it.

Your patterns so far indicate that your 2:30 marathon show stopper right now is your 5 K speed.