Nice input. I recall that Rob De Castella made a comment while living in Boulder, CO that the university runners did not understand the difference between running slow and running easy. He said they train too hard on most of their distance runs. While he and others who were close his ability were running 6:15-6:30 per mile on most of their runs, the university runners were running 5:30-5:50/mile. Why do I bring this up? First, because use of the numbers properly can be helpful for some runners. Since Deek could run 28:30 for 10k in Boulder where the air is thin his average distance runing pace was 4:35 pace per mile/6:15 per mile which was 73.33% of is 10k pace. Now, take a very talented fellow from the local university with a recent personal best of 30 minutes on the Boulder track (probably mid 29s at sea level) and use the same formula (4:50 pace per mile/.7333) and you see quickly that he (the university runner) should be running about 6:35 per mile if he wishes to emulate what the best pros do in Bouler. Do you see why kids from the local univeristy were getting injured? They were running to darn fast most days (5:30-5:50 per mile).
* Over the last 3 years they have slowed down quite a bit from where they were (they had to learn the hard way, unfortunatley the delay wasted away precious time for those young fellows) which has reduced breakdowns, and I will argue enhanced performances too.
The point is, some folks can intuitively understand what efforts need to be done in training, and they train well and perform well. Too many, however, burn out or blow up because they are so driven to succeed that they push too fast, too hard, too long. Giving them some precision of paces can help them significantly reduce their problems. I will say the majority of runners overtrain 3-4 times per year. They waste away precious time that could be used to grow fitter and faster. Sure, a good coach like a good chef may not need a recipe in front of them, but most athletes do. That is, as soon as the coach turns his head to acknowledge another athlete who needs guidance, the first kid is running too fast... or once in a while too slow. Telling the kid "Your 800s should be close to 2:30 since we are training VO2 max today" provides framework for the kid to both understand the objectives of training and the tools to do it properly.
It is always situational.
I understand your point wholeheartedly. All due respect, however, one thing that I would beg to differ is that a good coach should be able to teach athletes how to train by feeling; to develop his/her “inner coach”. In essence, teach them how to fish instead of giving them fish. The whole point of Lydiard saying that “the best way to motivate athletes is to teach them WHY they do certain exercise, not only WHAT and HOW” is this. If, “as soon as the coach turns his head to acknowledge another athlete who needs guidance, the first kid is running too fast... or once in a while too slow,” that’s because the coach has not done his/her job of explaining WHY they are doing that particular workout and motivate them to do it the way it should be done.
Second half of Arthur’s life was dedicated to “coach coaches”; that is to spread the principle of “how to fish” instead of handing out fish one by one to each and every individual who seeks it. If he’s the only one who knows that magic touch, and hadn’t passed his preaching to his disciples, then the Lydiardism would have been dead with the old man. That was neither his intention nor his wish.
I personally much prefer the way Kim’s friend does; a Daisy run. Numbers can be way too threatening to young developing athletes regardless of how much they love to have them. It is the old American way of business; MBO (management by objective) that Dr. Deming so disapproved of. As a statistician, his conclusion of “quality control” was “to make employees happy.” How much more “objective” do you want to be? Or do you need to be?
I recall a story about Bill Bowerman to the effect that he'd send his guys out to do a distance run at a six minute pace and naturally they'd all go flying off and hit the mile in 5:40 or so. Bowerman would have driven to the mile mark with a watch and would stop the runners and make them stand there until the six minute mark. There's always a tendency to want to go fast.
Lydiard always knew that and generally, despite his comments that he was not an LSD advocate, he spent a good deal of time trying to have people get rid of the idea that harder is better, as have you, from all I can tell.
But another big part of Arthur's approach was, as Nobby points out, to get athletes to understand their bodies and what it was telling them. As we're on a thread about his approach, it's important to point out that he was NOT a numbers oriented guy. You couldn't get him to talk about running at specific paces at gunpoint.
That's not to say that a coach shouldn't assign paces. But a coach who does that is moving significantly away from Lydiardism.
I think it was you who pointed out how Arthur "paired" up certain runners to get the job done. Pairing up the wrong runners can leave them aching or injured. That is what happens at a place like CU where you take 15 talented and competitive runners whose goals are (1) make the traveling team in cross country (top 7-9 runners), (2) prove they belong as part of "the group". So when one of the runners who is #15 takes off because he is having a "good" day, the pack sucks him up and continues to pound out a pace faster than they should be running. So it has something to do with the mix of egos. I read recently where Ritz said on the days that Wetmore said "run an easy 8", he would go pound 15. When asked later what he had done he would reply "easy 8". Perhaps these young bucks need to learn but the unfortunate injuries what they should be doing.
I worked/ran with Mike McClendon who was on the team with Pre at Oregon. He told me that Bowerman would stop him at each mile and have him wait until 6 minutes before letting him go with the runners who were just getting to each mile mark on pace. McClendon run 1:48 and 4:00.1 before injuries in his junior year stopped him. He was 15th at NCAA when it was in NYC - '69 I think.
That may be the story I heard.
Nobby and I were discussing the Dixon boys last night. Rod often is cited as a guy who used Arthur's approach successfully. But I know that Rod always says he was coached by his brother John, who, Rod always said, gave up his own career to coach Rod.
I'm pretty sure that John made the NZ team for World Cross Country at least once, but other than that, I don't know anything about hs own running. Do you know anything about the distances he raced and how fast, what his connection to Arthur was, if any (sort of seems like there would be as Rod acknowledges a Lydiard influence,) whether John continued to race at all as Rod developed?
I need Kim's help here in detail but Dixon kept telling me the incidence prior to 72 Munich Olympics that he and John sat down with Arthur for over 6 hours, talking about training in detail. Dixon says that Kiwis had always been known to run a lot (in the olden days when people like Billy Savidan, Cecil Matthews and Harold Nelson). It sort of peaked during the Lydiard era and he certainly "perfected" the aerobic conditioning concept. Anyways, I guess I digressed a bit. Rod says that it's not that John "refers" to the Lydiard program but the concept has always been inbuilt in all the Kiwi runners anyways.
I thought there was some stories about John in "Aim High" but I guess I was wrong. I remember reading more about him somewhere--could be old issue of New Zealand Runner but I couldn't find them (my running library is as messy as yours!).
Nobby & Rich : I am not a big expert on the Dixon's although I know Rod (not well).
Regarding background to John, Yes ! He was an excellent athlete as a Junior and was also part of the 1975 Cross Country Team that won the Woirld Champs in 1975. He made other teams as well.
John was part of a group of Juniors who, and I say "probably", trained along Lydiard lines in the mid/late 1960's. The best being Rex Maddaford who of course went on to finish 9th in the 1968 Mexico Oly 5k (one of a few low altitude athletes to make that final).
Rod came along a little later but really did not run well until he ran a 4:07 mile as an 18 year old.
I know for a fact (from old friends in common)that Rod really "came of age" in terms of pushing his body to the limit when he ran an outstanding relay leg in the prestigious "Takehe to Akaroa" relay in 1969. I believe that it was about then that he got his act "together" and stated training consistently with his brother.
He made the 1971 NZ Cross Country Team and then made preparations for 1972 aimimg at making the NZ Team for Munich.
This is where John "sacrificed" his own "career aspirations" as in the NZ 1500m Champs of 1972 he acted as "rabbit" for his brother and ran awesomely well for 1200m to set Rod up for the run home. Rod and Tony Polhill were locked together for the enire last 100m. They both ran 3:41. Tony just getting the nod if I am correct.
I watched that race and it was held in foul weather conditions, pouring rain and quite windy. That morning I had taken Bill Baillie out for a 20 mile run and we remarked at how bad the weather was looking for later in the day and that hopes of qualifiers would be dashed. We got it wrong !!
2 weeks later John again paced Rod for 1200m at Mt Smart and Rod ran another 3:41 (soft track), he beat Tony but both ended up being selected for Munich and of course as History tells us both made the final with Rod 3rd.
I know Rod and John trained around the Hills of Nelson and after the race at Mt Smart John consulted Bill Baillie about moving to Auckland to Train. Bill said he felt they would be better off in the familiar surrounds of Nelson rather than come to Auckland. All the "support systems" (ie family etc)were down there. There were no such "systems" in Auckland. They took Bill's advice.
What actual training the guys did but I do know that the long Sunday run was very much part of the NZ running culture at the time. The Dixon's were very much part of that Culture.Also they trained on countryside very much like Jack Foster trained on although they ran on the raods more. But the hills were just as tough !.
As for meetings with Arthur I am not sure of detail but would say there was a strong likelyhood of them happening.
I am not familiar with John's best times but they will be realtively quick as he made those Cross country Teams when we were at our Strongest.
Hope this helps.
I knew you'd be good for some info here. Thanks. Nobby sent me a photo of John in a race. Looks just like Rod. Maybe I'll post this question on the NZ run forum and see if anyone has JD's times and distances.
Yes, looks just like Rod...except less hair! I need to talk to Rod soon so I might ask him about his bro.
Speaking of Dixon, I think I've posted this earlier (like 27pages ago?) but he told me that one time in Europe he and John Walker both went to track and Rod did something like 12~15X400 in 60 seconds while john did 5 or 6 times 400 in something like 53, 54 seconds (what's the number I gave last time?). "John could tolerate much faster work but we both came out from track having achieved exactly same physiological reaction," he said. Granted, John Walker was a faster miler and eventually Dixon moved up to 5000m; but they were very close in the mile race in 1974.
wouldn't it have been something if John Walker had a brother named Rod?
Ah, all English names sound alike to me...
Ah, all English names sound alike to me...
They do? Soh what?
You guys made me curious, so I did some digging...
The guy was good!
John Dixon was NZ Cross country champ in 1975 (38:33) and also '78 (36:09). Are those 12k times? Not that it matters much in cross. Rod, of course had several XC and track national titles.
As Kim mentioned, John was part of the WINNING NZ team at the World Cross in '75, in Rabat, Morocco, finishing 26th behind countrymen John Walker (4th), Euan Roberson (5th), and Dave Sirl (25th). Kiwis behind him were Jack Foster (36th), Kevin Ryan (71st) and Dick Quax (91st). The top 6 scored for the team. They were just inducted as a team into the NZ Sports Hall of Fame.
I must point out that none of those fast Kiwis caught our own Bill Rodgers, who took the bronze!
I maybe wrong but I believe that John Dixon was a sub 29 min 10k, sub 13;50 5k and ran close to 3:42 > 43 for 1500.
I know he was lethal over 12k of cross Country and had countless good Road Relay legs to his credit.
Jack Foster squeezed his 5k down to 13:46 so I reckon JD would have been around that point.
I also dived back into my Training Diary from late 71 thru to late 73 as I was part of a group in Hamilton who trained together really consistently. At that time there were groups like that all over NZ and if you travelled around you could 'hook up" with a group and the training would possibly not differ that much.
When getting ready for Cross Country / Track we did this pretty much to the letter
Sunday: 2 to 21/2 hours
Monday : 45 min to 1 hour on River paths (Varied pace)
Tuesday : 13 miles on Hilly Country Roads : Aerobic run(clay surface)
Wenesday : 45 min to one hour on River paths incl 5 k time trial (Bit hapahazard on this one at times !!)
Thursday : As for Tuesday
Friday : 45 mins on Golf course with 6 to 10 X 100m easy strides
Saturday : Club run or Cross Country race
As you can see, this pretty much is the same as Arthur's "Run for as long as possible" schedule.
We did this after 5 pm every week day as we all had 'normal jobs'. The 13 milers were interesting as they were done in the Countryside and in Mid Winter there was no light at all and on some nights you could not see your feet or the surface of the road. Great times and camaraderie!!
Good stuff : Yes !! those were 12k times, but you should see the courses !!!!!!. None of this Euro, Flat, glorified Track race courses.
I have to cast my memory back but the 78' course was 'flatter' than most. Hence the faster time.
BTW : Jack Foster was right behind him that day. 46 years old !!!!!
I've always thought that the small size and population of New Zealand had certain advantages in terms of producing good distance runenrs and that advantage was enhanced because so many of the best runners were based around Auckland. If a Kiwi got serious about running, it seems like it would be almost impossible not to get to know other Kiwis who'd been successful runners because of the small size and relatively intense concentrations.
Rich, true that most good runners were in the Auckland Area, but when you consider that more than half the population of NZ lives North of Taupo you can see why.
BTW : In the heydays of the 1960s/70s and 80s there used to be an Auckland V Waikato Cross Country meet. If you ask any Aucklander what that was like they will tell you it was almost tougher than Nationals.
The 60's/70's Waikato had the likes of John Davies, Mike Ryan , Norris Wyatt and Jack Foster.
What a foursome against anyone in the world at that time.
This goes to HRE too; seriously, we hardly tapped into tactics and, Kim, you actually brought an interesting point. In the original Run to the Top book, there's a picture of Baillie beating Snell in XC race. Lydiard said that the race was run on a hard surface and Bill, who was a driver (as Arthur described), had an advantage. Particularly in XC races, there's a lot of "other" factors involved in winning and losing of the race. This is what Lydiard meant by saying "consider your streangths and weaknesses". I really honestly thought Noguchi would win Athens Olympic marathon (Jonas, remember I called you the day before the race?). It is because of the course, type of training she was doing, how others would mostly likely run, etc. In fact, I also thought Deena had a chance to win a medal as well.
One of the things about Lydiard was his almost "cold" calculating view on performance. It's not a matter of how fast or how slow you've run. You have to consider your training, temperament (as Lorraine said about Ann Audain or Allison Roe), tactics others employ, type of surface (road, track, XC, etc) and the course (hilly, flat, water jump???), weather and all that. You can never be sure and you can never write anybody off. As Lydiard always said, 1964 Tokyo 1500 final and 1974 Commonwealth Games 10000m final are two races everything went as Lydiard predicted. He predicted because of his runners' strengths and weaknesses, others' training and strengths and weaknesses, temperament of competitors, etc. As an athlete and as a coach, you'd have to consider all these factors. And this is perhaps most fun part...