One can be sure base building is the one essential ingredient in racing well. While I have no quarrel with the person who chooses to go right into racing and speedwork, they must realize they are under optimizing.
I know, I fall into this group frequently.
What gets me worked up is when people ask for your personal advice and proceed to go their own route. Then they ask what they can do to fix it over the next couple weeks because they have a “big” race coming up.
Many times Ryan has pointed out that the bigger the base, the longer the base is to the pyramid of growth. More blocks at the bottom allow a higher peak. Not to mention, they lessen the chance for error. Short peaks are tough to manage. There are many ups and downs. Once you start down the speed path there is no real retreat. You have to break it down and start from the beginning.
Running is like driving a car. Everyone believes they are an above average driver. It is difficult to look at yourself and make solid judgements on what will work best. For many, having an advisor or hiring a coach works well. I’ve had a coach a few times and it is a tremendous help. There are few people I ask for advice from, because that person has to know my running history, my abilities, my training history and a bit about my limitations be they personal or physical.
Ryan has always been a wealth of fundamental knowledge and a great advocate because of his running experiences and willingness to try things on his own. Pski has the greatest knowledge of me and has logged over a 1,000 miles with me. Pski is a dreamer and at the same time knows where the edge of that envelope is. Few people do and few have squeezed out the success he has in the marathon with his short distance times. Zeke and I have talked a bunch over the years about different training regiments and how to tweak or fine tune our approach. I may have heard it from a bunch of other people, but I finally heard it enough from him to incorporate strides into my normal routine.
Ryan and I don’t differ on methology, though our approach is different on many levels. Ryan understands what I’m trying to squeeze out and he bases his comments to me based on me. I appreciate this because he offers positive reinforcement instead of, “Hey, here’s another problem I see.”
These guys are a wealth of knowledge and I would put my training in any of thier hands at any distance.