I don¡¦t know enough about the Daniels formula to comment on it; it seems he calls for more faster/harder runs (particularly repeats) and not as much emphasis on hills (though someone mentioned he actually does). I have tremendous admiration for Dr. Daniels and his contribution to the sport. He is, without doubt, a lot more current and ¡§up to date¡¨ than Lydiard. He has been labeled as ¡§the world¡¦s greatest coach¡¨ though I still don¡¦t quite understand what it is based on.
I know a bit about the Lydiard system on the other hand. I have been criticized for ¡§being the number one fan of the Lydiard program¡¨ and that I¡¦m being prejudiced toward this particular training pattern. However, the actual fact is that I am the number one fan of the Lydiard program simply BECAUSE I completely believe in the program; not the other way around. The more I learn about it and the more I know about the program (thanks to many practical experiences shared here by people like Kim Stevenson or HRE), the more I¡¦m convinced that the Lydiard program is the most complete training method¡Xa lot more than a piece of paper his schedules are written on; the view so happened also to be shared recently by coach Dick Brown and coach Yasushi Sakaguchi, who has 5 sub-2:10 marathon runners on his team.
The biggest problem, as far as I¡¦m concerned, is that Lydiard has provided actual day-to-day training schedules in his publications. Too many people follow the schedule for what it¡¦s worth without fully understanding the purpose behind it; as Lydiard ALWAYS stressed, ¡§whys¡¨ of each exercise. They rush to conclusions and complain that the system didn¡¦t work when they didn¡¦t ¡§do it right.¡¨
Some one said, and this might have been in some other thread, that Lydiard ¡§slackened¡¨ in his later years and didn¡¦t prescribe marathon conditioning schedule ¡§hard enough.¡¨ Actual fact is; he simply moved away from prescribing specific pace. Whether Snell and the gang ran their 10-miler in 55 minutes or 57 minutes is completely irreverent. In Atlanta last year, Lydiard corrected what I put together in the presentation that ¡§all the runs during the conditioning should be ¡¥easy¡¦.¡¨ I had an argument with him on that. It is not that Lydiard ¡§slackened¡¨ but simply ¡§moved a clock a bit¡¨ and explained how it should all start in the beginning (of ones training history). I¡¦m sure we¡¦ve all experienced that, for the first time you go out for a jog, you¡¦re pretty pathetically slow (seems like yesterday to me¡K), you wonder if you¡¦re doing yourself any good at all. You barely survived a 40-minute ¡§crawl¡¨ and staggered back in the house. But a few weeks later, you feel much better and now you don¡¦t feel bad about even timing yourself. Or you get on a trail and run out for 30 minutes and turn around and go back home. A couple of years later you get on the same trail and run for 30 minutes. You look around to check some familiar landmarks and realize that your initial ¡§turn-around point¡¨ was a half a mile back. It is because you have become that much fitter. You feel just as easy, in fact, because you are more smooth you actually feel even easier but you are running faster. Now ¡§effort¡¨ has a completely different meaning. And ¡§minute-per-mile¡¨ doesn¡¦t mean much at all. Sure, Arthur¡¦s Boys didn¡¦t just jog about. But they weren¡¦t a triple Olympic champion when they joined either. It took Snell 3.5 hours to complete his first Waiatarua which he was cruising in around 2:10 later on.
A problem with setting up specific speed is, more often than not, people set out faster time than his body can actually handle. If it¡¦s too fast, you are shortening your training time and therefore not getting the optimal training gain. Remember, it is always better to start too slowly than too fast. People look at the weekly schedule and effort chart but tend to skip vital messages like this one. Also, remember another line; ¡§it¡¦s not the distance that stops you, but speed¡¨? Particularly in the beginning you need to go far, not fast. Of course, many people just stayed there and that was a problem. Once your fitness level improves, you need to push your upper aerobic limit. That¡¦s when Lydiard included time trials in his conditioning phase. People again took it too rigidly. You just need to run a bit faster than jogging; but you don¡¦t need to check your vDot speed and go on a track with a stopwatch and run to the exact pace.
Arthur¡¦s original runners ran fast but I would not call them ¡§tempo¡¨ runs either. They ran hard, but they were still all ¡§within themselves.¡¨ I would not try to analyze and figure out their training speed based on their mile time or 5k time; I believe Snell ran about 10 seconds faster in the mile than Barry Magee, a marathon man, yet they train Waitak together. Was one running too fast or too slow than the other? I think they were both just fine.
Another problem with writing down a schedule is all those numbers. I can get on a track today and do 3-mile of 50/50 IF I consider my ¡§sprinting¡¨ to be 20-second 100m ¡§dash¡¨. People have done that before too; 100„e100m? Why 100 times? If performed 100 times, do you think it would be an all-out sprint? 50/50, or 100/100, of sprint/float is designed to sprint full out and ¡§merely stop accelerating¡¨ to ¡§float¡¨ until the next sprint. It¡¦s a tough workout. As someone mentioned, could be one of the toughest workouts. I used to do them 5 laps; 2k and it was pretty much my max. If done in a sub-par effort, the effect of this workout will be completely different. Again, you shouldn¡¦t, nor you want to, write down specific numbers beforehand. You should be sprinting flat-out and shouldn¡¦t take too much recovery either; and when you get ¡§stuffed¡¨, you are done. If you write down in your schedule, say, 3-mile of 50/50, your fear will take over and start doing those sprints slower than should be. That¡¦s not what it¡¦s supposed to be. It could be four and a half laps¡Xthen when you hit the wall, you stop. When you achieve desired physiological reaction from this workout, you¡¦re done. In this case, desired physiological reaction is; you can¡¦t move your legs much at all! Somebody asked what the prerequisite(s) for this workout. I¡¦d say, follow the rest of the Lydiard program before the last 5 weeks; 10 weeks of 100 miles a week; 4 weeks of hill springing, 4 weeks of 2~3 times anaerobic workouts. Now you¡¦re ready to attack this type of training. Now I¡¦m a bit exaggerating; but seriously, you don¡¦t want to start jogging 20 miles a week at 12-minute-mile pace and one day decide to do this workout¡Xthat ain¡¦t gonna work. There is a specific place for this type of workout in the Lydiard program and there is a reason for it. Just because all the schedules are written down and out there, you cannot, and shouldn¡¦t, shuffle them around and place all the elements in a different order (unless there¡¦s a damn good reason that makes sense). I¡¦ve tried that and didn¡¦t work.
So back to the original question; Daniels or Lydiard, which one I¡¦d want to coach me. At this point, neither (even if Lydiard was alive). What do you think is the most important element in coaching an athlete? There is a scene in one of my favorite movies, ¡§the Right Stuff¡¨, that Gordon Cooper, played by Dennis Quaide (spelling?) was asked who¡¦s the best pilot he¡¦s ever seen. He usually gives ¡§you¡¦re looking at him¡¨ as an answer but in this occasion he paused a bit and said quietly, ¡§some of them are just pictures on a wall¡K¡¨ There are a lot of coaches out there, many high school coaches or some local guys, who just love the sport. They drive kids around all over the place or hand out some of the old out-of-print priceless literatures so young kids can learn a thing or two from ¡§real stuff¡¨ (and end up losing them!). When I was a coach for a corporate team, I cared for my athletes. Their boyfriend/girlfriend problem was my problem; their work problem was my problem; when they sneeze, I brought herbal medicine to them. They were beyond my paycheck (as a professional coach); they were beyond a tool for a coach to be famous. 10 years later we still be in contact. There are many enthusiastic coaches out there who care for their athletes like that. They may not know some scientific terms or have a shoe contract; never been mentioned in a running magazine or won an award. But I want someone like that, who loves the sport and who cares for his/her athletes, to coach me. I know Lydiard at least once was like that (and much more than that too, I must add). I remember receiving a hand-written letter from him from this hotel in Chicago in the 80s. Here¡¦s the famous man on his lecture tour around the world; and he had time to spare to write me a note from a hotel room. I was deeply touched by that. But in his later years, sadly and quite understandably, his position had become more or less a standard schedule provider; which actually created false idea of a kind of a person he really was. I¡¦m not at all saying that Dr. Daniels is not like that but I simply don¡¦t know the man. I can name three or four individuals in Minnesota alone that I respect a lot more as a coach affirmatively simply because I know them.
Kim: I talked to Dick Quax about a week ago. He said hi.