GCR: During your many years of research what are some of the most important findings which runners can use to become stronger and faster racers?
PS The key finding is the understanding of why distance running works in terms of muscle fiber recruitment and glycogen depletion that occurs over time allowing a different population of muscle fibers to be activated when you run long enough and at a sufficient intensity. A runner can’t train slow like an ultra marathoner as they rely on fat as a fuel. That gives total credence to Lydiard’s method of distance training. The second part is understanding a bit more about overtraining and staleness and how important that is. Finally, there is the idea of the relationship between endurance fitness and tolerance of high intensity training. Additionally, I gained an understanding about the hormone cortisol when it is released under stressful situations like intense physical stress or sleep deprivation and its causative effect in breakdown of muscle tissues.
GCR: Is there anything you would do differently in your training if you knew then what you know now?
PS I wouldn’t be a slave to Lydiard’s elaborate training schedules. I would have been smarter about the value of recovery which may have resulted in fewer injuries as I did incur two stress fractures. In the distance training phase I would schedule a session weekly of easy repeat quarter miles to keep my leg turnover.