Monday, November 19, 2007

Ask the Mystery Coach

Hi mystery coach,

I am now have done almost 3 months of Lydiard base training,my question is; I plan to keep base training for two more months, I have found running the same number of miles week after week has been making me very tired.

Do you think it would be better to run 3 weeks of increasing miles then have a low mile week?
I feel I could make better progress this way! as at the moment I feel am getting slower and slower each week!

cheers rick

Rick, If you are getting slower it sounds like you have an imbalance in your program or have reached the maximum gain for this build. To properly evaluate your training schedule you should have an evaluation run at least once every three weeks. I like using a 3 mile steady run about 13% slower than your best time during the previous racing season (a 6 minute per mile 5 K runner would run at about 6:47, a 5:30 per mile runner at about 6:13 and a 5 minute per mile runner about 5:40) Running these runs should not be faster each time but make a note of your heart rate during the run or how quickly you recover to 120 bpm and 110 bpm. Those numbers should go down as you become more fit. If they get worst you are not recovering between workouts which may be why you feel you need an easy week. There is a difference between needing an easy week and having an easy week built in. The Finns who used the Lydiard system before the Munich Olympics had a 70% week every 4th week and used it to stay ahead of the recovery curve not to catch up on recovery.

A trap runners fall into during the conditioning phase is running too much of their mileage at too high of an effort. If you look at the original Lydiard schedule only 20% of the week was harder than 1/2 effort (one ten mile run at half effort and one ten miler at three forths effort). I used to tell my runners that 1/4 effort was a run you could repeat as soon as you came in, a 1/2 effort was a run you could repeat the next day. A 3/4 effort run would need an easy day but could be repeated the day after. "Never take away from tomorrows workout" is a very important mantra to be thinking about during the base phase.

As you can see the conditioning phase builds up by the consistent volume you do day after day. Too often runners ruin their seasons by hammering the distance thinking it will make them tougher, they end up wearing themselves out.

Since you have been running volume for 3 months already you may have reaped most of your gains by just doing volume so it might be time to condition other aspects of your running. Lydiard's original plan called for 10 weeks of marathon conditioning then 6 weeks of hill conditioning. Changing over to hills just might be the stimulus that you need to continue your improvement.


running faster with the ALIEN LIZARD said...

thanks mystery coach for your help.
i just ran a 10 mile race on sunday in very cold and windy conditions, [ 42f and 20 mph winds ] my time was my best in 3 years. proof that mr lydiards training is working very well.
i will take in what you said and work it into my training plan,
cheers rick

Eric said...

Perfect timing! Thanks for the refresher on base, Mystery Coach.

Anonymous said...

Thanks. Some timely advice.