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RE: A Lydiard Thread
I've been lurking on this thread and found it very interesting and helpful, and haven't felt inspired to post until now.

In my day job I'm an historian, and I think it is interesting that there is not a good intellectual history of the development of the science of distance running and coaching. Or perhaps I've missed it. Can anyone suggest something? It would make a fascinating history of ideas. I'd be quite happy to hear no one has written this book; always good to have ideas for books to write in my field!

That, in part, is what this discussion is about -- the history of ideas about coaching, and how different schools of thought are related. I think the people who know Lydiard would acknowledge where he drew on other people's influences, and where he genuinely innovated. To say there is nothing new under the sun is true in a trivial way. It really doesn't advance the discussion, as you can almost always find precursors to ideas. It's the combination of old ideas that often constitutes innovation.

To get back to the original premise of this thread; Lydiard compared to Daniels. Well, in Daniels' books a lot of the schedules divide a season's plan up into 3-4 phases of equal time. Though there is a short comment that if you have more than 24 weeks extending phase I -- the steady/easy base building phase -- is probably the best approach.

That seems to be different from a Lydiard approach, where the base comprises a higher percentage of the season, maybe up to 50%.

Personally I have found that the workouts in Daniels' books somewhat more useful than the workouts in Lydiard programs. But for a couple of years now I have preceded a Daniels' influenced workout plan with 12-16 weeks of steady aerobic running with hills towards the end of the cycle, a modified Lydiard approach.

Both Lydiard and Daniels periodize the training program -- this is an important similarity. The contributions from Skuj and ronin a few pages back spoke to the school of thought that--to use a modern phrase--you should be working on all energy systems year round.

These discussions--periodization or continuity--will be eternal as different people probably respond best to different programs. And it seems that a true experimental evaluation of them would be exceedingly difficult to organize, since you'd have to get hundreds of people to agree to have their training program set by someone else for a year or more. High school and college runners provide a captive population for a controlled comparison, but there would be some ethical issues, and results in younger athletes might not apply to mature adults.

Hope I haven't taken this thread off on too many tangents! Keep the discussion coming.

Happy running.

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