Where Your Dreams Become Reality
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Poster: Huckleberry Finn
Subject: RE: Renato Canova - Arthur Lydiard Coaches Roundtable
I agree with Lydiard here: I wouldnīt say that THE MOST IMPORTANT WORK YOU DO is your race-specific training. Why? Letīs compare a runner A whoīs an "aerobically" trained athlete completely without race specific work, and runner B, who does only race specific training. Letīs say they are 800m runners. Runner A does ONLY slow aerobic running, with some pure short sprinting to prevent loosing speed. Runner B does interval training at race pace, short reps, short rest and longer ones with longer rest. He must have superior economics/efficiency at race pace, you think. He does some easy running in the warm ups+cool downs and maybe between intervals. Then you start racing 800m. Runner A is rusty in the first race, and thinks that why I didnīt get anything out of me. Runner B ran with good technique, started fast and looked great, although the last 200m was a bit worse. But it will get better as the season progresses, he/she thinks. The following will happen during the rest of the season: runner A will improve drastically race after race, looking strong, recovering quickly. Runner Bīs races get worse and worse; he goes out fast, looking great, until the pace slows down even more quickly than it did in the start of the season.
You see, runner A did great even COMPLETELY neglected the race pace work. I donīt say that was the optimal way to train but if I have to say what is the most important training even for an 800m runner, thereīs no question what it is. Itīs the slow aerobic running, by slow I mean that you stay under or at the aerobic threshold. Of course you can and should do some "aerobic training" at higher intensities also in the base phase. But should be done just enough, not too much and not too intense. And of course you can and should do the race pace strides in the base phase, but the point was what is the most important training of a distance runner.
What Lydiard and Canova thinks about interval training, when "Lydiard was quite carefree about interval workoutsas long as they were reasonably challenging, he did not worry so much about how far or how fast each one was", this is also a golden attitude in my opinion in the pre competition period. Then your goal is to get your heart rate close to itīs maximum, and that could be done by just running hard, thereīs million of ways to do this. Of course you can do this running at your race pace, when speaking about middle and long track distance running, so you get the race pace work also in the same session. But the ultimate goal is to get the aerobic/anaerobic power in shape AFTER the base work youīve done in the base phase.
Conclusion, the race specific work is often overemphasised at the expence of basic endurance training.
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