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Balm Man
This has been a fantastic thread. Thanks to all of you who have taken time to contribute insights and clarify others' understandings.

I think that one of the things that doesn't get mentioned as much as it should is the mental development that should occur when one is building an aerobic base. During this base period, one should be learning to run in a relaxed fashion and cultivate a mindfulness of each present moment. This at first takes concentration, but becomes second-nature after a while. (I suppose it is akin to Zen meditation in this respect.) At first, one notices "hey, my hands are all tensed up" or "my arms are tight" or "my face is all contorted" or whatever. But, through practice, one learns not to will one's self through the run, but to allow the run to flow through you, as you're relaxed. Learning to pay attention to my body and run in a relaxed fashion wasn't anything I learned in HS (in spite of the fact it was there in Lydiard)--another case of understanding only when one gets a bit older.

Then, once one learns to relax through training one's mind during the initial aerobic building phase, and one gets to interval work etc. one learns to relax and let the interval work happen (as opposed to willing yourself through it), as well. (This non-willing has a name in Taoism: Wu-wei.)

Lydiard didn't talk in such Eastern religious terms (correct me if I'm wrong), but it's clear from his writing that he didn't intend the aerobic building to be simply putting on miles and bringing about physiological changes in red blood cells etc. as a result. There is important mental training going on with the below-LT aerobic work. And the ability to be aware and "run relaxed" is something that, when cultivated, is supposed to carry over into intervals and into racing as well.

Those who worked with Lydiard--please correct me if I'm wrong, but this is one thing I take from his writing.

(This isn't intended to refer to Daniels, just to be clear--Without some substantial aerobic work, it's awfully difficult to step onto a track or hills or whatever and do LT work while retaining a properly relaxed and fluid state. This is so obvious as almost not to be worth stating, except for this. It's not simply the absence of physiological changes in the legs that prevent one from doing fluid intervals and LT work. It's also the absence of psychological changes that should occur if one is doing one's aerobic base work properly, that can prevent it.)


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