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Poster: craig mcmahon
Subject: RE: Renato Canova - Arthur Lydiard Coaches Roundtable
Well, certainly part of it is idiots like JR here. Another part, though, is that when Canova says "well, Lydiard was right about this, but with my runners, I find I have to do ____ instead. . ." you claim that as "Lydiard bashing" or "insulting the man."
The sport is much different today at the top level than it was in 1960. I don't mean "people have run faster," I mean structurally, it's very different. If a 3:54 miler runs 4:12 in his "off season" now, (as Snell might do in an exhibition race) his contract could very well be cut. Meb has spoken of "reductions" built into his Nike contract where if he finished lower than X in a race, or ran slower than Y, his base salary would be reduced.
Let me make it perfectly clear, I'm not "bashing" Snell. He could run 4:12 with a big last quarter in his off-season, and that doesn't reflect poorly on him as an athlete or his training program. It's only that NOW, if a 3:54 guy runs 4:12, he's in trouble. Whether that kind of attitude is right or wrong isn't important in this case, because said attitude is the norm, and modern racing is a professional sport, for better or worse.
Canova's training is in response to these structural changes to the sport. It doesn't "invalidate" Lydiard's principles at all, but it does update them. I know, I know, I know. They don't need updating because they're perfect. Well, the rest of the world would beg to differ.
If you're an amateur and don't need to be running at a really high level against Ethiopians and Kenyans 9 months a year, you can probably run damn well off Lydiard's "original" program. On the other hand, if Canova's highly tailored, specific approach is the difference between 2:04:30 and making the Kenyan Olympic team and running 2:05 something and being left off, well, I think it makes sense to give yourself that shot.
Of course the fundamental principles under which Canova bases his training are the same ones Lydiard described. Principles don't really change- but structure does. Lydiard's athletes (and most of us) competed for personal satisfaction, pride, joy, because it was fun, and (at the top level) national glory/patriotism. I'm not saying today's professional athletes don't- but in addition to those things, they're also making a living, and that isn't an inconsequential addendum.
I fail to see how Canova operating under Lydiard principles, but changing details to meet his athletes' individual needs should earn the dismissive attitude toward his training. Deek's coach operated under Lydiard principles but not the strict periodization and doesn't get dismissed (nor should he!). Harry Wilson doesn't get labeled a charlatan, despite the similarities between his program and Lydiard's.
I get that Lydiard catches and unfair amount of flack (mostly from JR and Cabral) but at the same time, I disagree with the idea of looking through a "Lydiard perspective" for everything. Great coaches came before Lydiard, Lydiard was a colossus himself, and great coaches have come after Lydiard. Let's not get carried away and act like once Lydiard stopped coaching, no one ever need change anything again.
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