ARTICLE: Phases, Choices, and Preparation

I've had to take a lot of advice over recent weeks with recent injury-woes and this has led to a major restructure of both my season goals and my overall year-on-year planning.
First, of all, I'm currently looking no further than Snowdon. Even this goal is now only 20 weeks away assuming I can restart training on Monday. I have a hard start, though, as I'm flying out to Singapore Monday morning and returning Friday midnight, meaning a very non-ideal first training week.
I had the first of two laser sessions today (another up Thursday) and I'm seeing my physio again Friday. Saturday will most likely be the first test-run (I should say I got tempted and joined some fellow Crusaders for a 21k hill run, which set me back a few days, but all specialists confirm my tendon troubles are in the early stages, so I probably just about got away with this folly).
My original hope for the season was at least 20 weeks of aerobic base training and 6-10 weeks over 100k mileage. All possibility of this is obviously gone, but I think I can restructure a reasonable plan from the ashes going by the Lydiard principles:
  • Marathon Conditioning: 6 weeks (this should rebuilt some of my aerobic foundation)
  • Hill sessions/drills: 4 weeks (built strength)
  • Anaerobic (Track): 4 weeks
  • Coordination: 4 weeks (built top-end speed, pace judgement and other race specific attributes)
  • Freshening-Up: 2 weeks (final touches and rest before Snowdon at the end of the second week)

I'm going to throw races into the Hill, Anaerobic, and Coordination phase when they can serve a purpose (which they can on multiple occasions, I'll talk about this in a more detailed look at how to use the Lydiard phases in hill running).

I imagine taking 1-2 weeks easy jogging and then start building for the cross-country if all goes well.

I will try and cap my workouts at a much lower level than previously envisioned for this year in an attempt to actually reach the startline of most races. I still believe 10-11 hours and about 100 miles is the way to go but I'm more years away from that than I hoped, and must stay patient.

During this time, however, I will trial Arthur Lydiard's suggestion that you can always jog 30-60 minutes every morning at your leisure. I'm curious if, if done right, this really has the injury-preventive effects that he ascribed to it. There's certainly a lot of anecdotal evidence to suggest it.

My laser surgeon comes from a triathlon background and regularly prescribes biking to his runners instead of extra mileage running. That's probably one area where myself and this otherwise very knowledgeable professional disagree. It will be a cold day in Hell before you see me training on a bike. It may have worked for a few but who ever saw a Kenyan, an Ethiopian on a bike? Or Lydiard's boys? Or Frank Shorter, Scott Jurek, Alberto Salazar, Steve Prefontaine, Joss Naylor, Kenny Stuart, and the list goes on. If they were ever spotted it must have been for trasnport or because they were crocked.


Colm O'Cnoic said…
Eoin Keith, Peter O'Farrell both do a fair bit of cycling - both pretty monsterous on the hills!
Renny said…
Well aware of it, Peter has often advertised the bike to me.

For an even better example there's perhaps the greatest uphiller of all time Robbie Bryson.

I've no doubt cycling provide useful training for the heart. I also believe riding with clip-ons works the quadriceps in a way that is conducive to uphill running.

Its pretty clear that beyond that, however, running is always the best form of training for running. Personally, I dislike gear, I don't enjoy biking (or any other form of transport for that matter, including walking), so its not for me.

I don't think this will be any loss at all as long as I can manage to eventually fill out all the time with running. Strengthening is necessary, but for reasons of personal preference I'll prefer to get those from weights and hill drills.

We also have to keep ourselves in perspective relative to the performances of the 80s. We have declined tremendously. The secret to the success of Western runners in the 80s compared to know was 100 miles plus weeks (cleverly applied and patiently built). There's few, if none, around today approximating that level and we've got all the work ahead of us to return and close the gap on the Africans.

Is 10 hours running and 10 hours biking better than 10 hours running alone. Undoubtedly, as long as you are not too tired. I want to spend 10-11 hours running per week then see if I can add the 30-60 minute morning runs as well and the rest of the time will go to weights, core, and running drills.

Call me stubborn on this, but the day I lose the ability to run, is the day I stop being an athlete of any kind.
Cross training good, running to destruction bad...