why not??? wrote
Nobby, you shouldn't fear Richard Gibbens, it's me you have to fear MMWA HAHAHAHAAAAA (extra echo for maximum scare factor)
HA HA HA HA HA!!! I love this! For that, I'd have to respond.
Hey, now WE are talking. I totally agree with you. I think Arthur knew just enough physiology to be dangerous. I knew that as early as 1986 when I sat down with renowned physiologist, Dick Tayler of Australia. I don't think Arthur quite had a grasp on aerobic vs. anaerobic to be honest with you. But the point is; he had a general sense and what he did worked.
Let me explain about this "interval is not speed training" talk--I'm sure many more others feel the same way as you do. You go out and do some repeats at slightly faster pace than all the other plodding LSD. Now you (1) stimulated your anaerobic pathway so that you can manage the faster pace more easily, and (2) you start to improve your runnig mechanics with faster pace (=wider range of motion) that it would be easier to run faster. Therefore, most people consider interval training as "speed training". Yes, because you get faster. But for most of you, what distance do you use for your intervals? 400m? 800m? Or even a mile??? How's your breathing? You'd be gasping for air, right? Now, THAT, to Lydiard, is anaerobic training--you're trying to develop your tolerance to oxygen debt as much as you can...and you need to do that in order to race well. But one of the first signs of getting into high oxygen debt is nueromuscular breakdown--whether it's caused by lactic acid or whatever; you know when you're getting into it. You start to struggle. Your chin sticks out; shoulders come up... You can't lift your knees as high; you clinch your fist and arms flying all over the place... To Lydiard, this is no state to develop your "fine speed". To him, speed, as a sprinter, is the nerve and technique thing. That is why, toward the end of the program when you're supposed to do pure speed training, he would suggest you go down to the track, run fast for 100m and take a long easy jog around the rest of the track, minimum of 3 minutes... If there's wind, do it WITH the wind because, if you did that against wind (particularly strong head wind), you'll start to break the form. You want to run smoothely and relaxed; none of those tense muscles or clinching fists and locked jaws. Speed training, to him, is this type of things, easy hill springing to strengthen your ankles and work on the form; sprint drills; or running, say, 200 all out a few times with plenty of rest...
I remember talking to Bob Sevene back in 1984...this was right after Joan Benoit won the gold medal. I asked him what his opinion on repetition training and speed training. His reply actually was exactly how Lydiard had explained to me; except, you know how Sev talks, always sounding mad with his deep low voice... He said, "For speed training, to me, is like running 400m all-out... I don't care if you take a whole day to recover till the next one but that's SPEED." Sure, it's an anaerobic affair; but your aim is not to develop your anaerobic capacity (as Lydiard would term it) as much as possible; your aim is to run as fast as possible. You cannot possibly run as fast as possible if you're doing 400m repeats 20 times, or doing them with only 100m recovery in between, can you?
Now as for speed development, remember, Lydiard used to have his marathon runners to compete in the 100m dash at the club meet. I agree with you, I think 800 would be a great development event for young athletes even for those who are aspired to become a marathon runner. Remember, Naoko Takahashi was a 1500m runner when she was young!