When I talked to Peter I think the question he had the hardest time answering was how to spell McFarquhar. I don't think that Peter would have argued with the claim that he was a lazy trainer.
Where is McFarquhar these days and what sort of runner was he?
Rich, Don is in Auckland, a confirmed bachelor, must be in his late 60's even 70 now. Has quite a stable of athletes. Always has had since I have known him (25 years plus). I see him once or twice a year.
Don's greatest strength as a Coach is he conditions athletes really well. Very much on Arthur's principles.
It has been said that he does not bring athletes to a peak or add the finishing touches, that could be debated. Sometimes I have wondered whether some of the athletes he has had get really strong and then if they don't get the results they want they head for another Coach.
However, I know if I wanted an athlete to go through a consistent, good old fashioned Lydiard Buildup. Don's the Man!.
As I said in the earlier post. Don is one of this Sport's Gentlemen. Always encouraging of other Coaches and always asking how things are going. Quite happy to answer any questions or give you help if you need it. Just a really nice guy.
Here’s my thought; Bill Bowerman, certainly one of the greatest athletic coaches of all time, was probably best at coaching milers (Bill Squires is definitely one of the greatest coaches for longer distances particularly marathon) and he would have gone down in history as one of the best coaches for track and field in general regardless of his acquaintance with or without Lydiard. He coached Otis Davis for his 400m gold medal in the Olympics and was coaching very decent athletes way before he met Lydiard. He coached Bill Dellinger to the Olympic spot well before the explosion of the Lydiard method in 1960. I would still say that he started producing even better middle distance runners after he learnt the concept of “jogging” and employed that concept into his athletic training. There’s this famous picture of young Bowerman leading U of O runners through bushy mountain side, “jogging”. I believe he had coached at least 12 sub-4-minute milers, if I remember it correctly, more than anybody in history (unless you count some coach who might have “trained” African runners to sub-4-miles). I think you’re correct about his tailoring the program to suit the individual. One of his strongest assets as a coach was his ability to observe. He certainly was a far-thinking man, who tried synthetic track surface and unique shoe sole we all became acquainted with known as “Waffle Sole”. He coached sprinters, he coached shot putters, he coached discuss throwers, he coached milers and he coached marathon runners. Not too many coaches in the history of sport showed that much versatility as Bowerman did.
In my opinion, there are two (actually three) types of good coaches; those who can peak athletes well and those who can develop athletes well (and those—very few—who can do both). Bowerman, without doubt, was very good at peaking his athletes (not that he was not good at developing athletes). He was in fact master of that. Dick Brown, then already very well-established athletic coach, was also very good at peaking his athletes. He guided Mary Decker to her double gold medal at Helsinki world championships in 1983 (those who are young readers, they already hosted the world track & field championships once!) as well as helped Vicki Huber’s comeback trail to 1996 Olympics. His resume also includes Shelly Steely, Anne Marie Lauck and Suzie Hamilton. He respected Bowerman a lot and paid regular visit to him, talking and learning running and training. One day in early 1996 he expressed his feeling about perhaps lacking something in his training program; something to “develop” athletes further. If the athlete has the ability to produce “80” and his coach can pull out the best performance out of him, he could produce “80”. Most people can produce 50 or 60. Now in order to compete against the best in the world, you need “100”. So basically pulling out 100% of “80” is not going to be enough; you need to “develop” him from 80 to 100. Bowerman handed him an old red booklet called “Arthur Lydiard’s Athletic Training”. He encouraged Dick to explore more into the Lydiard method.
Bowerman was known as someone who has made comments such as “Why do you need to run far? If you’re competing for 5000m, all you need is endurance to be able to run 5001m” or “Why do you need to do hill training? I’ve never seen hill on the track!” Many people like to just look at certain comments and rush to conclusion that that is his/her philosophy without fully understanding more into between the lines. Yes, Bowerman has made those comments. However, also came from the man himself were such comments as “This kid was running up and down the mountain about 8 miles one way instead of taking a bus. He has very good 400m speed as well. I think we had potential to produce the world’s first sub-4-miler before even Bannister (about this unknown young high school runner he knew in early 50s).” Or when you look at some of his runners’ training such as Wade Bell who was basically an 800m runners; “(He) would run about 25 miles every Saturday…” or “(he would) get up and run 15 miles around Spencer’s Butte (some hilly course as I understand…).” And here we are talking about a half miler.
Bill Bowerman is one of the greatest individuals I had ever had the opportunity to get to know. Not the one to take credit for anything, he was always open about admitting, perhaps even more than necessary (as I mentioned earlier), that he owes his success to Lydiard. Upon his receiving Medal of Honor from President Kennedy (for spreading concept of jogging), he said “I’m but a disciple. Arthur Lydiard of New Zealand is the Prophet.” He also said that “there’s no better coach in the world than Lydiard.” To go back to the very first original question; I think it’s silly to compare coaches like Lydiard, Daniels, Bowerman or whoever. I used to laugh about the English expression of “one of the best…” To me, best means only one. But we really don’t have to limit it. There are many great coaches around; Lydiard, Bowerman, Squires, Koide, Cerutty, Nakamura, Van Aaken… They were/are all great in one way or the other, each on his own way. We all know the contributions of Lydiard and we all know Daniels’ contributions. Only the insecure would try to figure out one is better than the other, or to say one is worse than the other—that’s even worse!
And to add one more comment; someone a couple of pages ago complimented my comment to "Depressed". Thank you. But as far as I'm concerned, if you're a coach, you need to know how to motivate. If your coach knows everything but can't motivate, might as well go buy a book. That IS the art of coaching, the "X factor", isn't it?
I once thought I was a confirmed bachelor too.
Interestingly, Peter told me that Don used to say that once an athlete had done the conditioning phase that there were many ways to handle peaking and you really didn't have to spend a lot of time or energy doing it. That sorts of fits with your comment about athletes getting really strong an then heading off to another coach.
When I asked about what sort of runner he was I meant what sorts of distances and times did he do.
I had a very nice conversation with a friend of mine from Wisconsin this weekend. As we talked about how important it is to do aerobic training to run fast, he mentioned to me that one winter (in Wisconsin, which is cold and nasty) he ran 124 miles, then 100, then 90 and at the end of the 90 he ran a 13:40 for 3 miles indoors, a p.r. by about 30 seconds. Guess what? He didn't do any speedwork, just solid distance running; twice a day.
I had a very nice conversation with a friend of mine from Wisconsin this weekend. As we talked about how important it is to do aerobic training to run fast, he mentioned to me that one winter (in Wisconsin, which is cold and nasty) he ran 124 miles, then 100, then 90 and at the end of the 90 he ran a 13:40 for 3 miles indoors, a p.r. by about 30 seconds. Guess what? He didn\'t do any speedwork, just solid distance running; twice a day.
That\'s good for him. But not everyone is biologically the same as he is. Some can\'t run that fast off just miles alone. Everyone has to find their nitch.
Sorry Rich, I have no idea what Don did as an athlete.
In my early years of running I remember him running but that is all.
Point well-taken. It would have never worked with me personally. When I first met Lydiard, I could run 34-10k off base work easily. He analyzed me program and quickly told me to do some intervals (he prefered to call "repetitions"). "You're trying to eat a cake half cooked," he said. I was not one of those people who could run distance work fast (like Quax or Clarke) but when I started working on my hills and forms and reps, I could feel my form changed, strides lengthened, form more upright, etc. Without these, I could have not run "fast". Once adjusted, I got down to 32 fairly quickly. However, I believe what Tinman is suggesting is, as Lydiard had always stressed, that most people still believe that anaerobic training is the MOST important part of the training program; as far as Lydiard was concerned, it was the LEAST important. For all I know, someone like Henry Rono could have just interval hell out of himself for a few weeks and race himself into shape and run the world record. "What you do to sharpen up probably don't really matter," as Peter Snell said.
Now, however, I'm going to contradict myself here, I disagree with Snell somewhat. For someone like me, who needed to orchestrate sharpening work, the Lydiard schedules, as shown in particular in the original books, make perfect sense--it has certain flow; more volume to less volume; slower reps to faster reps; everything is synchronized so beautifully. Ron Daws, in his first book "Self-made Olympian" said that you should capitalized what you have developed best (in the early stage of sharpening); stamina. He recommended a ladder workout of some huge volume but at slower pace. That concept worked perfectly for me. Because at that stage, there's no way in hell I could have run "fast" at all!
Now another misinformation apology (surprised no one caught it and complained...); Snell's conditioning before Rome was 11.5 weeks, not 9. He "only" did 8 weeks of conditioning before his 3 world records in 1962. And to second Kim's point, I remember Snell saying something like "...even though my conditioning was patchy, I made sure I'd do Waiatarua every Sunday..." something like that. Which "patchy" conditioning he was talking about, I can't remember, because he had so many of them! Only once did he actually covered more than 1000 miles (1012) in 10 weeks period and that was before Tokyo.
Correct me if I am wrong,
Your last anaerobic workout would be 4-6 weeks before your peak race. Coordination phase would be time trials, race pace intervals (with lots of rest), strides (50/50 or 10 x 100m) and a long aerobic run. Taper and continuation of races would consist of shorter time trials, light race pace stuff, strides, reduction in mileage and the races are the hardest efforts.
Oasis: Sorry for butting in, but...If you have done those 50/50s or 100/100s (sprint/ floats), then I'm sure you'll agree that they get QUITE anaerobic, as of course do the time trials and development races. by "anaerobic workout" do you mean interval workouts?
I would call them interval workouts (V02 max) but I thought Lydiard refered to them as anaerobic reps during that phase.
The sprint floats, timme trials during coordination and taper phases shouldn't be as difficult as intervals, is that correct.
The idea is that in Lydiard's sharpening phase, no EXTENDED anaerobic work is done. So, one isn't running 15-20 x 400 fast, which is extended. One might run a fast 800 or 1500 or 300 or even do some 50m sprint, 50 floats or 100-100s which are not nearly as extended. So, yes, some anaerobic running is done, but not for too long.
So, if we were to summarize that, we'd say a healthy dose of lactic acid but not one that lasted very long?
Jsquire as well as oasis:
In Lydiard's term, you NEED to develop your anaerobic capacity in order to race well. However, it would brings your good aerobic base down if prolonged. Now this would be more or less a layman's term (sorry Arthur!); and someone like jtupper can clarify. In his term, it only takes 4 to 5 weeks to develop your anaerobic capacity to maximum with heavy load of anaerobic workouts such as intervals, repetitions, time trials, tempo runs or races--however else you want achieve it, he wouldn't mind. You need to maintain this ability to exercise anaerobically untill the race day(s) but if you keep doing such workouts, you'll affect your aerobic capacity adversely; if you stop doing it, you'll quickly lose this ability. So this is the dilemma. This is where 45/55, or 50/50 or whatever you want to call it, comes in. This is NOT strides; these "sprints" would have to be done full sprint with very little break. The idea is this; if you do something like pull ups; your arms get tired very quickly but if you take blood sample from your legs, its pH is not quite affected by lactic acid built-up in your arms. Only your "working muscles" get high lactic acid level that won't affect your over-all body pH level. We are trying to achieve the same physiological reaction with this "sharpeners" Arthur used to call. Because you sprint very fast with little break, your legs will get very very tired after about 15 or 20 of them (somewhere around a mile to 2k) if you're a regular runner, up to 5k if your name is John Walker or Lasse Viren. This is enough to stimulate your anaerobic metabolism to maintain your anaerobic development without affecting overall aerobic base adversely. This, I guess, is the answer to the whole argument in the earlier pages about how these 45/55 should be done--this is the purpose of it so you'll know that it shouldn't be at 5k pace or easy strides. It's a full-out sprint.
I apologize for not giving you more detailed answer on the track schedule. You can check any website Mike Salkowski provided a page or two ago and the general schedules are posted there. The only problem with that is that, once you reach coordination phase, the day-to-day schedule MUST be tailored very closely to individual's reaction. Just a few weeks ago, this college coach called me up and told me how his team's doing. Based on the runners' reactions, we ended up prescribing two completely different schedule for the following week for two different groups. Even though Lydiard has written down general schedule, this has to be clearly understood and practiced.
I've read Lydiard's argument about the muscles only becomeing filled with lactic acid when doing sharpeners (sprint-jogs), but it isn't supported by anyone who has ever done lactate testing. If you do 50 sprint, 50 jogs for a few laps, you can max out on lactate production as shown by very high blood plasma lactate levels.
I think Lydiard was right that sharpeners are an excellent training tool, but not for the reason he stated. One can be right about the method to use in training but wrong about the explanation. No disrespect intended to a great coach.
I am finally understanding Lydiard's anaerobic, coordination and taper phases. Your explanations are brillant and am now able to comprehen them. My training is the past has been very unstructured, not enough base/hills, too much anaerobic work and improper tapering. I look forward to putting forth the knowledge I have gain from you and others into my training. Arthur Lydiard was definitely an innovater and his training ideas are second to none. I have total confidence that my running will enter a new level from "Running the Lydiard Way". Again thank you for your time and patience.
Yeah, I think he had a few of those! But at any rate, has there been any test done for such exercise "like" Lydiard sharpeners? I'd be curious to read that if you can either let me know the site (if it's posted somewhere) or send me a copy?
Just one more thing quickly...I thought you mentioned something about Arthur calling anerobic training something or another... As I said earlier, he really sucked at terminology. He like to refer anaerobic training in his program as "run one fast, jog one" and claimed that it's not intervals. It is intervals training in a loose manner. You just don't predetermine the number of reps or pace. You just repeat till you "hit the wall", or can't go on any more. Simple as that.
Tinman: This does not refute your point at all, but that's not how Arthur told me to run sharpeners. He said to keep moving pretty fast on the alternate 50s or 100s, not jog (what many people call "float"), so that you don't really recover much. Thus, they get VERY intense by the last few. It is a short but tough little workout. Intense enough to get good anaerobic stimulation, but not long enough to wear you down. I have no idea about blood plasma lactate, but I wouldn't be surprised if that is true, based on how they feel.
I post this just to clarify and see if others agree about how to run these.
Nobby, Kim, et al - is this how you do these?