Sunday, June 5, 2011

John Davies?

You know you are getting old when during the course of a long, easy Sunday run with friends you casually mention the name of a favorite runner from decades back and they respond by saying,who? How many people,especially younger ones,know who John Davies was? If you know, then you are obviously someone who loves the sport and knows it's history. John was a protege of Arthur Lydiard. He won the bronze medal in the 1500 at the 1964 Olympics, finishing behind winner and fellow New Zealander, Peter Snell(see pix above). John later turned to coaching and was an immense help to many athletes. Among the notable runners he coached were: Dick Quak, who won silver in the 5k at the 1976 Olympics as well as Lorraine Moller,bronze medal winner in the marathon at the 1992 Olympics. Moller by the way,did this at the age of 37 and also ran in four Olympics. To my knowledge, Dick and Lorraine went on to coach other runners and Lorraine is on the staff of the Lydiard Foundation. Writing about this makes me think how important it is to pass on our love of running to others. I'm sure we've all had, at one time or another, friends,neighbors and kids asking about our running or coming to us looking for advice. Good advice and encouragement go a long way in establishing a lifetime connection with running. Well,as I say,I digress. The following are some of what John Davies calls,"Training Considerations": "1.You need to be at a peak for the day. It is not necessarily the best athlete who wins,it is the best prepared." How true this is,if you follow the competitive side of running you will see evidence of this all the time. 2. "Choose the event that bests suits you,basic speed is the governing factor." As they say,it's a no-brainer. How many times have you seen runners struggling to excel at distances they don't have the footspeed for? 3. "The aim is to develop sufficient endurance to maintain the necessary speed over the race distance to be successful." 4."In middle distance and distance events,a high aerobic threshold is necessary." How many of us really obtain optimal aerobic fitness in our training? 5. "Stamina can be continually developed." 6."Aerobic development is a limited factor." 7. "Once anaerobic training is started,it must be continued,otherwise development is lost." 8. "Once conditioning is finished, the performance level is determined." Again,the necessity of building a high aerobic threshold is evident. 9. "Conditioning requires many kilometers in training.It can only be accomplished aerobically." The value and proper way to train aerobically is one of the most misunderstood principles of distance training. 10."It is a mistake to use anaerobic training during the conditioning phase." An understatement if there ever was one. 11. "Anaerobic development only takes 10 to 12 weeks to achieve maximum levels." You mean I shouldn't do "intervals" week in and week out? 12. "Anaerobic training should be done in relation to reactions,not by using hypothetical figures such as number of repetitions,etc. The athlete should decide how many reps is enough." Each athlete is unique,they have their individual strengths and needs training-wise. Slavishly following a workout schedule and ignoring how you feel is pure foolishness. Part 2 to follow soon.

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