Sunday, December 26, 2010

Coaches and Coaching,pt.1

Years ago I wrote an article that was published in Track Coach entitiled: "On Coaching Runners." In retrospect, I see where it could have probably used one more rewrite but the content was solid and it was a needed critique on coaches. I was very happy to have it published by the people who also give us Track and Field News as well as Track and Field Technique.At the end of this article today I will post the link where you can read "On Coaching Runners" if you wish.
What I want to address at this time will be more about coaches and their training programs than about actually having what I would call a "hands on" coach.The local bookstores,magazines and internet are loaded with training schedules written by athletes,coaches and training "experts." Unfortunately, there is a fair amount of misinformation out there as it relates to training schedules.
As for those of us who live for the run, we have all had the coaches and tried the different programs over the years. For many of us, we have a program we've adapted from years of experience and it's one that fits us well. We know it works because it can bring us to a point of fitness where we can compete if desired, and,this is important, rarely get injured from following it.
However, there may be some of you who are having trouble choosing or adapting to a training schedule. You feel you want one because at some point of the year you would like to race and be as fit as possible. Here are some things to remember while seeking the right program for you. I would start by saying that you don't have to be an exercise physiologist to understand a training schedule.A schedule is all about common sense and being logical. You start out easy to gain optimal aerobic fitness, then you move into a training period that builds basic strength through workouts that incorporate hill training, and then you move into a sharpening phase that incorporates faster,speed centered workouts that leads inevitably to a specific racing season. It all makes sense doesn't it? This training builds from an easy base period to where you can gradually handle more strenuous demanding workouts and eventually races. Think of this analogy, if you wanted to bench press 300lbs,you wouldn't begin by training at 250. You would work up to that point by using progressively heavier weights.This is the essence of all physical training,easier conditioning sets the foundation for more stressful work. The man who originated the training program I outlined above was New Zealand coach Arthur Lydiard. I'm sure most of you out there have heard of him. If by some chance you haven't, simply Google his name and you will see the incredible and lasting contribution he has made to running. No other coach has come close to what he has has accomplished in distance running.I'd strongly recommend his updated book,Running to the Top, published by a German company(Meyer and Meyer) if you are seeking training advice that works.Meyer and Meyer has also published books by Lydiard geared specifically to masters' and women runners. The one thing to keep in mind,and it is the thing that Lydiard taught repeatedly, was that you adapt his schedules to fit who you are but you don't deviate from the essence, which is making sure you follow the base,hill and sharpening phases. Remember,easier to harder in training. One of the many things you learn from Arthur Lydiard is that you can't race at your optimal level all year,there will come a point where performances drop off. That is just part of the natural cycle of conditioning and how your body works. Lydiard's program is time tested and has produced Olympic champions,world record holders and successful runners of every age,from child to well into the master's divisions.
On Coaching Runners--link---

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