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i like consistency but also like randomness. One without the other is a sure fire way to lose performance capacity, the same as any other balance disrupting behavior that occurs over the tong term.

Lydiard created what i see as a continuum. It extends from the average person who cannot run 20 minutes continuously through to the elite marathoner. Wherever your starting point is thats where the Lydiard schedule begins. For an elite Kenyan there may be less of the aerobic base building and more of the strengthening aspects of the program. For a larger westerner the base building is probably the lacking component. For almost everyone in the Western world the base is missing. I don't see this as just the base for distance running. I see this as the base for life. It extends from our lifestyle where we sit down a lot of the time (school, couch, study desk, office desk, all forms of transport). Cultures which have retained some physical elements of their tradition tend to have a higher base level of what can be called life fitness. Africans are amongst the most fortunate of these.

Where do you begin on the Lydiard Schedule. Can you cover 22 miles weekly, just short of strain, just short. Can you run 8 miles every morning in addition to normal training, week in week out for 3 months? Or do you find it more difficult to timetrial? Where is the lack?

Since this is Daniels v Lydiard i will throw my two cents in. Daniels is very very good. An outstanding contribution to British and further distance running. But also a trap that many fall into. As one famous coach once said "Interval training is a very powerful tool and you can go a long way with it quickly, but it is also very dangerous." Lydiard was an inspired intuitive genius. He was also a reformer. He re-formed distance running by a new methodology. Brilliant. The problem is it is too simple for most people to accept. Build your pyramid the periodisers would say. Well Lydiard was also a periodiser. Periodisation is the breaking up of the training period into separate periods each containing a different emphasis. Lydiard says base train then hills then intervals then sharpen to peak. Each is a distinct period with a different fundamental purpose. Each one is built on the strength of the previous level.

The problem i have with Lydiard is that i see his bias towards the marathon. Whilst this is of no real problem it does lend to over distance. I agree with over distance as a general rule but not at the expense of the overall balance of qualities required for shorter events. I guess i'm really concerned with the 800m and the balance for that event is far different than that of the marathon and even the 1500m. To criticise Lydiard over 800m running is quite ludicrous and every time i have had an issue with an aspect of his schedule, i'm later proven wrong, often after finding a new way to think about something, Arthur's way.

Seriously, get drunk or stoned or whatever you do for relaxed concentration and focus, then read Lydiard's Schedule and his writings over slowly with much breathing and no rushing. There are layers in his thinking that are worth exploring. I've had some fun with it.

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