Tinman check out this I dug up. Makes sense doesn't it? Did ya ever wonder why Lydiard used shorter intense days altered with longer but slower days. His system of conditioning wasn't about a single run. Each day was linked to another.
A model for the Lydiard method:
The model that is going to be presented here is just that; a model that will help you with your training and understanding of Arthur Lydiard's training methods. It is not a new theory, you'll see by some of the quotes that many of the great coaches think in this model's framework even though their methods differ from Arthur's. Arthur has often been accused of talking in ambiguous and confusing statements. This model will help explain those ambiguities and help you, as Arthur said, "balance" your training.
First a quick look at the model then a quote by the marathon coach Renato Canova with some discussion.
Below is the model which represents one dozen muscle fibers in your leg, they are stacked in five levels. The five levels represent the effort required to recruit the fibers to do work (run), "A level" being the easiest to recruit and "E level" the most difficult. The individual fibers have different endurance levels which vary depending on how well your training program is designed. After the model are some assigned values which represent an average runner.
Fibers 10 - 12 Low endurance worth 2 miles
Fibers 7 - 9 Medium endurance worth 4 miles
Fibers 1 - 6 High endurance worth 10 miles
Note that even though two fibers have the same endurance (example: fiber #1 and #6), it will require much greater effort to use the fiber on the next level up (#6 on level B) .
Here is a Renato Canova's comment on a similar model:
"Our engine doesn't work like the engine of a car. If I have an engine of a car going for 5,000 revolutions, and 200 kilometers of speed, and I want to go at 100 kilometers of speed, revolution can be 2,000, but the way of working is the same. In our engine, the situation is different. Could be that I have a muscle of 100 fibers. If I go for maximum speed, I use all 100 fibers. If I go five kilometers, I use 20% of these fibers, always the same 20%. If I go a little bit faster, maybe 50, maybe 60, but when I never go for max intensity, I have a big percentage of fibers, maybe 40 percent, that are not activated."
What does this tell us? First that one way to recruit all the fibers (up to number 12) requires maximum intensity (like uphill sprinting) and second that if you run the same distance (let's say 7 miles) every day the same fibers will be used (most likely numbers 1-6). Those fibers will develop very very well but fibers 7-12 just go along for the ride and don't develop at all. One key to Arthur's program is expressed by paraphrasing Tim Noakes, MD ("Lore of Running" pg 12). "Optimal training should be at all running intensities so that all muscle fiber types are equally trained." It sounds like speed work is needed, right? Well not exactly. The other key to Arthur's training: duration ( or volume ), Peter Snell, PhD gives us a clue on this: "The adaptation of any given muscle to endurance activity is likely to be proportional to how much that muscle is used. To ensure that as many fibers as possible within a muscle are used, there must be an adequate combination of intensity and duration." So how does this relate to training? Next we'll look at different workouts and see how they relate to this.
A slow long run: (Less than 85% Marathon Race pace)
The pace requires 3 fibers to be active (fibers 1, 2, and 3) , now after about 10 miles they begin to fatigue so 3 more are activated (fibers 4, 5, and 6). They also can last for 10 miles (like the average runner in the model). Then 3 more are called up (fibers 7, 8 and 9), they haven't been used much because they are hard to recruit so they last 4 miles, then 3 more are called up (10,11 and 12) and they are low endurance and last only 2 miles, then you have to stop. So what happened, we just ran 26 miles to work all the fibers .
An optimum higher speed long run (between 90% - 97% marathon race pace)
Now the pace requires 4 (Fibers 1,2,3,4) to work at the same time, after 10 miles the next 4 fibers (5,6,7,8) are called in. Now remember two of these are medium endurance (7 and
and they last only 4 miles so at 14 miles 2 more fibers (9,10) are called in and Fiber 10 (low endurance) only last 2 miles so Fiber 11 (low endurance) comes into play at 16. At 18 miles fiber 9 and 11 quit so fiber 12 (low endurance) is called in but since only 5 and 6 are still active the pace slows). What happened here is in less than 20 miles all the fibers had to work. Note that they only worked aerobically and not anaerobically like a speed workout would have them work.
Tempo Run / Threshold Run ( Jack Daniels PhD - "about the pace for a one hour race" )
Let's say threshold pace requires 9 fibers but now they are not as efficient because not all the oxygen they need (as evidenced by the rise in lactate) is being delivered. Still we have plenty of endurance for this type of workout. After 3-4 miles Fibers 7, 8, and 9 fatigue and 10, 11, and 12 jump in for the last part. You can see why this is a stimulating workout ( high oxygen usage for a large number of fibers). You feel invigorated but this is where runners and physiologist go wrong. Those last recruited fibers don't really learn to use oxygen efficiently (they won't be forced to develop capillaries and stamina characteristics because of the short time that they have to work).
Now after a few years and cycles of Arthur's Marathon training. Your fibers start to look like this:
Fibers 10 - 12 Low endurance worth 6 miles
Fibers 7 - 9 Medium endurance worth 8 miles
Fibers 1 - 6 High endurance worth 12 miles
This a key ingredient of Arthur's training. While everyone else has improved fibers 1-9 with tempo runs and fast training, only the marathon runs at a good pace (1 1/2 - 2 1/2 hours at 90% marathon pace) get to and really change those 10 - 12 fibers, the exact ones that are needed at the end of every race. Through the marathon training they are trained the proper way without oxygen debts (better oxygen usage, better capillary supply, better efficiency). Everyone else slows down but your 10-12 fibers are better conditioned and you maintain your pace.