I didn't really need this evaluation to tell me things have improved during the past two weeks, as a few other good signs have appeared. The miles are generally coming more easily, the long runs are ending with longer totals and fresher legs, and my general mood and disposition have improved remarkably. Since last week marked my last of 10 weeks of conditioning, it's nice to feel the fitness finally creeping up a bit. - Mike Salkowski 8/19/08 The More "Good" post.
What Mike expresses perfectly above is the goal of the 10 week distance phase. Back before Arthur Lydiard was famous internationally (pre Rome Olympics 1960) he wrote an article*** for the New Zealand Amateur Athletic Coaches Association Monthly Bulletin. A key quote from the article:
"Let me be clear on this point - there is no need for guessing, only patience and self control by racing and training fast at the correct time. We all that we have to be racing fit to win championships, but if we were to race and do fast work continually, the strain would eventually wear down our condition so that we would become jaded mentally and physically"
When Mike crashed (from two much fast work and racing (three hard marathons)) this past spring he needed to balance out his training by deconditioning ((my made up term) the hyped-up racing state that he was in (Lydiard noted: You can not hold on to it forever). If it takes 6-8 weeks to build up this hyped-up racing state (for some it may be less) it takes at least that long for you to decondition that racing state by not racing or doing fast work. This a point that coaches and runners miss in the Lydiard system all the time. Arthur stuck that 10 weeks of distance work in not for aerobic conditioning (he never uses the words "aerobic" or "anaerobic" in the whole article (nor the words "oxygen" or "oxygen-debt") but because he observed his runners could train year round and continue to improve by letting them get away from racing and fast work. (his training was as he said "designed for the development of the athlete, not for immediate spectacular results").
Of the five important points that Lydiard stresses as important three of them ( 1) develop long term potential, 2) develop stamina first and 5) pick your peak) ) are rooted in the ten weeks of ("train don't strain") distance running. That ten weeks are the most important point of the Lydiard system.
Tomorrow's post will discus what to look for in your evaluation runs during the ten weeks of distance running and Thursday will be about how Mike is going to accomplish Arthur's other two points ( 3) develop speed, 4) coordinating speed and stamina.)
*** (If anyone would like a PDF copy of the article email me at MysteryCoach [at] gmail [dot] com)