The Village Velodrome Appreciation Society

A blog about jitensha and jogging

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Trying to create a running program

On the flight back from Australia I read a very old book on running called Running the Lydiard Way, by Arthur Lydiard.

I had nine hours, so I read the book in one sitting. When I got home, I decided to find out who his critics were, and I found that one critic is the English coach Frank Horwill.

The previous book I read was by Peter Coe, who credits Horwill with creating new methods of training responsible for the success of his son Sebastian Coe.

If there's two coaches I really admire, it's Lydiard and Coe. Yet they advocate very different types of training.

Then I looked at the programmes of Hicham El Guerrouj and Bernard Lagat. They both run fewer kilometers per week than Lydiard advocates, but they run a bit more than Horwill advises.

Lydiard advocates 160km per week plus some easy runs; Horwill says 90 kilometers plus some tough 10 minute workouts is enough. Lagat runs about 110km-120km per week, and El Guerrouj does 112. They both do some of that mileage as intervals or fast runs (I laughed out loud when I read that Lagat runs his 'tempo' runs at "slightly less than a five-minute pace" - that's 5 minute per MILE pace).

But for every Lagat or El Guerrouj doing well on low mileage there's an elite doing 160km per week or more.

But while 160km seems an impossibility for me, it seems I can follow Lydiard to some degree. I want to devise a "Lydiard Lite" programme of about 130km per week. The shorter workouts Lagat and El Guerrouj do will burn me out mentally and physically, but I never tire of long runs - quite the opposite, they let me switch off and forget any worries I might have.

So Lydiard is my new coach for now - but I'll be reading more about Horwill in the future.

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