Thanks. My runner showed signs of fatigue two weeks ago--high school athlete--looked ragged in 3x1 mile and subsequent hill session two days later...complained of heavy legs. I reduced volume and intensity and saw improvement this week. The athlete has a solid base--averaged 50 miles a week for 12 weeks with one weekly tempo plus two low-key road races (in lieu of time trials) over that period. I didn't try the long easy run antidote but will do so in future. I'm not sure the runner can distinguish between the Foster definition of fatigue and "tiredness" so I decided to be cautious and back off the training for two weeks or so.
See, the problem I see is that the long runs could fatigue an athlete more. Especially a HS athlete who might run them too hard. Usually people take an easy day the day after a long run, so to come back the next day (or the next two days) and do 2 more long runs... seems counterproductive, even if you run slow, that's still a lot of pounding on the legs. Does no one have actual solid examples (with times and everything) of this working?
No. After almost fifty years no one has times. you have testimony from people like Magee and Puckett. I've talked with Barry about this at least twice. We never got to specific times but it was in the same year as he was ranked #1 in the world at 6 miles/10,000 meters.
We had an interesting variation on the same Lydiard theme as our miles were divided thus during the building phase:
M = 10
T = 15
W = 12
T = 18
F = 10
S = 20
S = 15
The term "quickly" does not compute with what I was taught with Lydiard. Now, you could move into the next cycle, but you didn't do it "quickly". Two peaks a year, nothing else mattered.
I tried experimenting with adding to the above formula but I never got strong enough to pull it off. The base pattern was complex enough if you saw it, if you understood it.
But what did he come back from? Seems like running long would just fatigue you...
He came back from being stale. His times were slowing. He had less zing at the end of races. That improved after the three successive 22 milers. That's pretty much been established early in the thread.
Long running, done correctly, is going to strengthen you. Lydiard's long runs were always done at manageable paces and by people who had done enough mileage that they were able to benefit from long runs. Guys like Magee and Puckett had years of 100 plus mile weeks behind them. If you have a typical US collegiate runner who is maybe doing 50-70 mpw do three 22 mile runs in a row you may well kill him because he hasn't got the background to manage successive runs of that length. If you toss in the fact that he thinks he's a stud who should never, ever be caught dead going slower than, say 6:30 pace, the problem gets worse.
Even if you do the runs correctly and have the background to benefit from them you will feel pretty wiped out while you do them. But once that passes you'll be much stronger. In 1958 Lydiard came out of "retirement" to help Ray Puckett get into the New Zealand team in the marathon for the British Empire Games in Cardiff.
At one time they ran the Waitairua 22 mile course four nights in a row. As they set off on the fourth night Puckett said, "My legs are raw." Lydiard answered, "Mine are too." And off they went. Puckett made the team later on. Being fatigued is normal for people running big miles.
But even when the fatigue passes normal Arthur still believed in using long runs as a restorative. One of his later quotes was, "If you become over trained, do a 20 mile run at a pace so slow that grandmothers pushing baby carriages are passing you."
I really hate wading into physiological discussions because I've never found it helpful and never learned much about it.
But in Arthur's way of understanding things you did extended steady runs to develop your cardiovascular system and improve oxygen uptake which was the basis for all subsequent training.
However, those extended, comfortable runs didn't maximize your muscles' ability to maintain a hard pace so you did intervals, time trials, and races to maximize your neuro-muscular fitness. But Arthur thought that fitness came at a cost, i.e. doing that harder sort of running for too long a time eroded your cardiovascular fitness. So when he saw a runner going "stale" after a long bout of racing and interval work he thought you could rebuild some of that cardiovascular capacity by having a short, intense period of doing the sort of work that developed the cardiovascular system.
I have no idea if he's describing accurately what's going on physiologically. I know that the people here who study that sort of thing will say that Lydiard's knowledge of physiology is out of date and incomplete. To me that doesn't matter as long as the results were good.
HRE, you may hate these physiological discussion, but you repeat the dogma, reinforce the mythology.
It's not about developing the cardiovascular system, becuase that is already developed, it's about developing or maintaining or regaining the skill to run further at any given pace. You know; concentration?
Understood what? Your complex pattern. I understand Lydiards. Are you being cryptic? Not interested if you are.
you can scale the run down for the typical US collegiate runner (down to 13-16 miles instead). i would assume the fatigue would be greatest during the 2nd one and a few days after that... how long does it take for the fatigue to pass? was it common for the 2nd or 3rd long run to be much slower than the first due to fatigue?
The effect of those runs is not mythology. I have, as I said, no idea about whether the runs were effective because they developed the cardiovascular system, the ability to concentrate, or just created loads of good karma that played out in subsequent races.
I have as much reason to accept Arthur's explanation as yours if not more given each of your accomplishments in the sport. I repeated the "dogma," as you call it, because someone asked about the reasoning behind doing those runs so I gace them Arthur's. That may be reinforcing dogma in your view but it's also explaining part of history which was my intention.
It's unlikely that the runs were timed and if they were timed it would have been out of general curiosity. Lydiard never worried about pace or time on distance runs. It was always done by perceived effort and feel. So it's entirely possible that the runs got slower as their number piled up but they could have gotten faster or stayed the same as well. Distance was the focal point.
Thank you for all of your thoughts, HRE.
I see it as a balancing act. As an analogy, imagine making soup. Each phase of the training is akin to putting certain ingredients in. If you pour in something for too long of time, you must go back and add something else to keep things in balance and having the right taste. The soup could taste horrible at one point, but a quick addition of the right thing can quickly turn things around.
Lydiard used the analogy, would you eat a cake half baked - or something to that effect....hmmm food.
After having read a few of these Lydiard threads over the past week, I have to say that you are an admirably patient man, HRE.
So anyone else tried this out? How did you feel on the long runs (especially the second and third)? How long did it take you to recover and when did you do your next "quality" workout?
To back up HRE. From my own experience. As my own long runs progressed I found the recovery improved gradually. From the early ones where I would be shattered for the rest of the day to where I would get home feeling as though I had just had a run around the block and I could carry out normal physical chores around the house and Garden.
Many times I would run 20 miles after work and still be fine the next day.
Arthur talked of this in his early book "Run to the Top". where the guys would do their Sunday run and then in the afternoon support each other with major projects around the home. Concreting Drive ways was a big one amongst distance runners.
In terms of younger athletes, even if it is 13 to 16 miles this should be the same. The longer they stick at it the easier it becomes.
In terms of pace, I found that as I became 'Aerobically" fitter i would be running courses a lot faster. I made a statement on the Lydiard/Daniels thread where I was asked what was the best long run I did. I told of a run I did from Bill Baillie's Holiday home north of Auckland where I covered 22 miles at approx 2:40 marathon pace. It did not feel like that, it was easy, BUT it took a number of years of consistent running to be able to do that sort of run that easily.
I would assume if there was a race in 1-2 weeks (from the point the runner was diagnosed as stale/lost aerobic fitness), you could take 2-3 easy days in between the long runs or after the long runs and then do quality work after that (making sure you still have 2-3 easy days before the race). Is this what the runners did? That way you can still get in a quality workout or a time trial while still recovering from the long runs.
I won't try to describe this scientifically, but I think it is important to understand that not all fatigue is created equal.
In a conversation about an athlete not sleeping enough or worrying about schoolwork, I often say: Stress is stress, no matter where it comes from. But when planning different types of training, training stresses are not all the same. You can be sore from a very brief bout of very fast sprinting when you're just getting used to that type of work. Very sore. But that doesn't mean you're necessarily going to struggle covering the distance on a very long run. My guess would be that this has to do with types of muscle fiber recruited at various paces or gradients.
I know I have days where running fast 300s sounds like the last thing I could do, but marathon pace or a long run sounds manageable, and on other days it's exactly the opposite.
If you're worn out from heavy mileage, the type of thing in this thread is not going to be a good idea; but if you're worn out from race-specific work, you might be able to get some productive training in the form of long runs, while resting whatever it takes out of you to really run fast. It's a tricky line, and I agree completely with HRE that knowing the athlete and his background makes all the difference.
If the runner was stale I would put in 2 or 3 days easy runs before a "quality" workout. I learned from Bill B and Arthur that if you are tired and maybe a little stale you should just run easily until (as they said) "The zip comes back to your legs". In other words : Don't thrash a tired Body.
I have mentioned this on other threads. Many years ago when I was helping Bill B get ready for a World Masters Champs, we were running a 1200m time trial .. I was leading and felt like crap .. Bill suddenly tapped me on the shoulder and said "Shut it down, i feel like crap" .. I was relieved ... we just headed out and ran easy for an hour or so and over the next few days that is all we did.
When we lined up for the next 1200m Time trial we flew. Bill went on to pick up medals at the Worlds.
I have seen Arthur send an athlete away to go run some easy miles and come back in a few days when everything seems better.
Big problem is knowing when to push on and when to back off... This whole deal is an Art as much it is a Science and many people forget that. It was one of Arthur's strengths. He just seemed to know !!!!