Tuesday, December 05, 2006


It’s no surprise that Andrew’s comment about following Lydiard’s standard schedule got me thinking. It would probably be possible, but I’d have to shift my whole day an hour earlier – getting up at 4 and going to bed at 8. There’d be little else going on in my life; no interview blog, no articles, no reading of blogs, no TV, etc. I don’t even think I could do any more group runs because I couldn’t justify doing a 3 hour run every week, along with an hour of drive time.

Maybe I just don't want to find out my limits bad enough.

But I was thinking; if duration is more important than distance, shouldn’t I be comparing how long it took Lydiard’s athletes to complete his standard schedule, not how many miles they ran? If those guys were running 6:00 pace, they’d be running 10 miles an hour. Therefore, they’d be running 10 hours per week – not including any supplemental training they added on top of the standard schedule.

If that’s the case, I'm there, as my last two weeks have been closer to 11 hours of running. Maybe I should stick to 80 mpw, but work on cutting the doubles from my program. Then if I want to increase my mileage, I’d just need to add some doubles back in.

Based on time, Lydiard’s standard schedule would look like this for me;

M 11-12
T 8
W 11-12
Th 9-10
F 13-14
Sa 8
Su 16-18
Total 76-81

I can see doing that in singles.

Last night I jumped on the treadmill for 6 miles. I was feeling pretty good, so I ran 3 at MP. This morning was an easy 10 miles.

Quote of the day;

“Be aware to challenge your fear of learning.” – Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull


Don said...

Measuring your training in duration rather than distance sounds like a close cousin to Long Slow Distance (LSD). The natual incentive is to run slower, because it doesn't matter how far you go. By contrast, measuring distance makes you want to run faster, so you get home for a beer sooner.

I'm taken with the Pete Pfitzinger article in the latest Running Times called "What Do We Know?". He says that LSD is for novices, and gives reasons.

You and I can no longer call ourselves novices, want to or not. I think that we have to train specific distances at target paces, usually faster than LSD.

Bart said...

A potential problem that you may run into by training by duration rather distance is that a year from now you may well be where you are now, wondering why you only ran 80-85 miles a week during between January and March.

Chad said...

Don, I'm not talking about LSD. My pacing isn't going to be based on distance or duration - but on how I feel.

I'm saying if someone writes a plan that says 100 mpw. Does that mean everyone should run 100 mpw no matter if they're running 6:00 pace, 8:00 pace, 10:00 pace, etc? It'll take the first group 10 hours, another 13:20 and the last 16:40. Maybe the author meant to say that 10 hours of aerobic conditioning for the week was enough.

Bart, I guess that's possible. But as long as I continue to push out my monthly and yearly totals, I think that's the main thing.

I'm on-pace for my best yearly mileage ever and it's still only going to be 60 mpw. So if I run 80-85 from January through March, I should be in decent shape as spring rolls around.

Of course, I'll 2nd guess everything a year from now - that's what I do.

Andrew said...

I have no answer re: duration vs. distance - except that I can see how both would work. There is such a thing as the law of diminishing returns and I grant your point about the whole time shift. I do find myself asleep around 9 instead of 10.

On the other hand, there is something to the concept of 'doing something you haven't done before' to really get those drastic improvements. This could be distance, duration, quality, or even consistency.

In fact, I think if we all were more consistent doing whatever plan we decided upon, we'd meet our goals with a bit more ease. At least I would. That's my schtick this season. I have a plan, I need to stick with it. In the meantime I might stumble across great ideas and advice that frankly, need to wait until the next training cycle. Just so I don't get caught switching horses midstream.

But let me make a pitch for triple digits. I don't know what Lydiard was thinking, but I know that hitting 100 miles feels different. Hitting 100 miles each and every week makes me tired, fatigued, sometimes a little fuzzy-headed. I really feel the training. This could not be said of the my previous training.

And since I began running 100 miles per week with some consistency I have seen my stamina improve, my speed increase, my times drop, and hard paces become easy. My long run is a mere 3 miles longer than the run 2 days before and only 20% of the week's total. And to top it off, my confidence is improving.

And over time, those additional 20 miles per week must add up to some type of improved aerobic capacity I couldn't obtain at 80mpw.

That's a soft pitch and there's more than one way to make a fast runner. Have fun and oh, I do recommend switching to all singles. It will do a world of good.

Anonymous said...

Don't be too worried about yearly mileage, or measures based on that, since the total/average will be affected by how many recovery/injury weeks you have.

There's no need to choose between the faster-paced 80mpw and the easier paced 100mpw. You can do 'em both, and the 90mpw in between. They'll stress you aerobically in different ways and that's good.

Consistency is great, but if you're too consistent you're not challenging yourself. The body thrives on mixing the stresses up.

Don said...

If you stay on pace for the best yearly mileage ever, and don't get hurt, I doubt you'll be second-guessing yourself much in a year. You go!

Thomas said...

I haven't got Ron Daws' book with me at the moment, but I think he included a quote by Peter Snell saying something like "we ran most of the distance at 7:00 pace, but we should have run 6:00 at least once a week".

Chad said...

Andrew, good comments. I like the idea of 'doing something you haven't done before'.

I agree with not switching horses mid-stream either. I gotta find a horse first.

Evan, while I don't "worry" about yearly mileage, I do like to see it get higher and higher each year. Yet I don't really want it to go from 3,000 to 4,000 in one year.

And the question really isn't about 80, 90 or 100 mpw. I guess my point was that I just can't see myself running 100 mpw in singles.

Thomas, that's interesting. I guess I can't see Snell and the boys "only" running 7:00 pace. Lydiard talked about doing as much steady-state running as possible. 7:00 pace would be more like my steady-state than their's.

Anonymous said...

Lydiard's suggested paces have always confused me, I have trouble believing that people can work at that high a percentage of their best aerobic effort day in, day out. And the "oral history" of what Snell etc did was that they did a lot of running close to 7:00/mile, well over any reasonable estimate of their marathon pace.