- August 23, 2005 at 8:23 pm #4462
I started running 4 months ago. I am trying to get myself in the best possible aerobic shape and try to do this in the spririt of Lydiards marathon conditioning phase. I do as many aerobic training as possible. I have also been reading here about periodisation, and base building. Lydiard says somewhere todo this conditioning as long as you can afford it, maybe counting x weeks back from a target race. What if I am in no hurry at all and can afford doing base building for a verry long time. What is the maximum before starting other phases of this running cycle/ periodisation. I am not an expert on Lydiard or other training programs and I look really forward to reading your opinions on this.
- August 24, 2005 at 1:40 am #19123
This is a very interesting question and I’m not sure I can answer it but I’ll give you what I know.
If you have read this article you know Lydiard mentions needing 7 months for a complete program:
My original training schedule requires seven months to complete. It starts with a three-month long aerobic build-up, followed by a month of hill resistance. Then you move on to a three-month long track training. So if you are a serious marathon runner and the race is in October, you should start your marathon conditioning build-up in March.
However, as you mentioned, he states elsewhere (I believe one place is within this article) that you can/should continue base training as long as you can afford. Now, I’m not sure he was thinking anyone would say they have a relatively unlimited time. I’m suspecting he was thinking of someone saying their goal race is 10 months off. In that case, he’s saying take 6 months for base training and then roll into the hills and continue on.
Now, an interesting note about this is the response I got about 2.5 years ago when I was thinking of just what you are thinking about that Lydiard said. I went to a couple of forums and asked what people thought if I base trained through the spring and only had one racing season for the year, in the fall. Some people said go for it, quoting the exact passage from Lydiard I was thinking of. Some others said that I shouldn’t artificially extend the base phase, only do so if that’s how a racing season works out. They argued that sticking myself in base building for so long would leave me hurting when I tried to add speed back in and I would be hurting my overall development.
Now, I am doing this year precisely what I was thinking of doing when I asked that question but the situation is different than it was then. After a couple of years struggling, I started this year from scratch so I took the spring to build some baseline fitness, basically what you are doing right now, before going into a training plan for the fall. The results this fall will give us the final word on how this worked but, right now, I feel like things are going very well.
What’s the moral of the story? I’m not sure, maybe I’m just rambling. I think if I were in your situation, I’d probably pick a goal race in the spring and build a training plan around that. Given your situation, that would be similar to what I’m doing this year. It gives you time to build a baseline fitness, then get into quality base training and transition into race preparation phases. You can then go back to another approximately 7 month phase after that to incrementally build your fitness from one season to the next.
- August 24, 2005 at 12:10 pm #19124
very interesting… looking back on my first three years of marathon specific training it is more like a base building with several marathons as LSD runs… then I got with this coaching group last spring and added the speed work (sharpening) and things really started to happen…
I think that the base building needs to be set up dependent not only on how much time you have but the kind of condition you are in and your ultimate goals… most people (as was noted) start with a target race and count backwards… but even if you feel you have unlimited time the MENTAL preparation is important enough that I would feel that too long at base building might take the edge off what you would need to be truly competititve… okay so Lydiard did spring his original group on the world almost unexpectedly but they had a very good bunch of guys working together to stay motivated & keep the edge in their workouts…brought the Hansons group to mind…
I don’t think that being “in base building for so long would leave anyone hurting when they tried to add speed back in and would be hurting overall development”… I think that too many people today rush into both speed and marathoning with less base than they need and THAT is the cause for more injuries than too much base building… sorry for the mangled quote, and I realize that it’s what someone said to Ryan but from what little I have gleaned about his training plans that I don’t think he agrees with it…
- August 24, 2005 at 1:30 pm #19125r-at-work wrote:I don’t think that being “in base building for so long would leave anyone hurting when they tried to add speed back in and would be hurting overall development”… I think that too many people today rush into both speed and marathoning with less base than they need and THAT is the cause for more injuries than too much base building… sorry for the mangled quote, and I realize that it’s what someone said to Ryan but from what little I have gleaned about his training plans that I don’t think he agrees with it…
Rita, I think you know that I in general agree with you and I believe that the people who stated what I was very loosely quoting would also agree that most people rush too quickly into intense training and even moreso into marathoning. However, I think these guys were making a point that I may have done a poor job in explaining.
First of all, I did not intend that quote to imply that “too much base building” would cause injuries. I think it’s well established that I believe base building helps prevent injuries. My belief is that the safest way to train in order to prevent injury would be to base train indefinitely. Speedwork on an inadequate base causes many more injuries than any reasonable amount of base training run at reasonable paces.
As for my point in bringing up those comments, which I probably did a bad job explaining, I believe there is something behind that. Indefinite base building without getting into other aspects of training will lead to stagnation of development. While base training is the foundation of development, it is not everything. We need all aspects of training for complete development. The point those people were trying to make is that they felt I would be going away from some aspects for too long, which would cause that stagnation and slow my overall development. With my situation being different this year than it was at that time, I believe it is working well for me this year. I don’t know if it would have then.
Of course, one of the reasons it is so difficult for me to come up with a concrete answer on this, which is also leading to me probably looking like I’m going all over the place, is because I’ve never been in this situation. When I started running, it was straight into a 7th grade track season. That is far different from an “adult onset runner” who is coming in with much different goals and priorities, as well as probably not having the direct guidance of a coach.
In general, I would say it is better to err on the side of too much base. However, at some point, you have to get in the other facets of training or your progression is going to stagnate.
Does that make sense or do I still seem to be all over the place?
- August 24, 2005 at 3:17 pm #19126
actually I think that’s what I was trying to say too!!… base building is great & necessary… BUT what then… for you it was 7-HS for me it was wandering through occasional road races and then wandering through a few marathons…
I think a base is important, just like learning the rules/ettiquette for racing… but at some point you have to TRAIN to race and RACE or just consider yourself a casual runner… which is okay too…
and the stagnation comment reminds me of one of the Kenyan coaches who said that after a sucessful year an elite runner he had worked with thought that he could train himself, so he followed the same plan again and had nowhere near the success of the first year…the reason being is that every plan needs to be tweeked to be correct and most people need MORE work to get more improvement… but that’s a different stage…
back to base building… Ryan, I thought you did a good job of explaining so far… my favorite line is “We need all aspects of training for complete development.”… but the base is like the foundation of a house, it’s not the house, but it needs to be solid…
- August 25, 2005 at 9:49 am #19127
Hello, thanks for sharing your thoughts and making an effort to answer my question. I have been thinking about your input during yesterdays run. I have decided I will do a short ‘tryout racing season’ in March. This way base building/conditioning period will finish just before the end of the year. This is after 8 months (is this still reasonable?).
The change will do me good and I can get acquainted with the other phases of the training cycle and concentrate on other aspects/parts of a complete running program. While I am sure I will not yet be in the best aerobic condition possible, I will benefit from training other aspects/ stimulating different systems and not risk impeding overall progression. As a bonus I will already have the experience of having gone through a complete program when I repeat the cycle.
I do not know what got me thinking of extending base building even longer. I think it may have been the sentence ‘When you start training anaerobic, you have to continue doing it’, but that was probably meant more relative to a running season/cycle versus a running career, as I first interpreted it. Thanks again for your perspective.
- August 25, 2005 at 12:57 pm #19128
I just wanted to commend you for the research you have done. For someone who is quite new to running, it’s not hard to see that you’ve really done your homework. I have encountered many people who have been running for years but haven’t shown the kind of insight into training philosophy and techniques that you already have. Keep it up and you have a very bright running future ahead of you.DijleLoper wrote:I do not know what got me thinking of extending base building even longer. I think it may have been the sentence ‘When you start training anaerobic, you have to continue doing it’, but that was probably meant more relative to a running season/cycle versus a running career, as I first interpreted it.
That’s how it was meant. You have to continue doing it until your racing season is over. Then, after some time to recover from months of hard training, you start all over with the base training. One thing you will quickly learn about Lydiard: while he had a brilliant mind when it came to running, his ability to put his knowledge into words was not as great. Sometimes, it can be very difficult to read his writings or writings based on his presentations and really understand what he’s getting at. However, unlocking his wisdom can very much be worth the effort of figuring out what he’s really saying.
- August 26, 2005 at 1:27 am #19129
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.
- August 26, 2005 at 5:11 am #19130
GTFMemberDouble wrote: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.
I can certainly sympathize; I may not get “worked up” per se, but I do wonder if those who have proven themselves to be this type are honestly worth the bother.
- September 15, 2005 at 10:47 am #19131
After having received some excellent input here on training/periodisation I have been tinkering with a program. I have picked a target 10k race that will be held the second weekend of april. The idear is todo something like this :
now – dec 25 : base building (for another 14 weeks)
dec 26 – jan 22 : hill training / leg speed (4 weeks)
jan 23 – feb 26 : anaerobic training / speed development (4 weeks)
feb 27 – apr 9 : coordination, sharpening / race preparation (6 weeks)
I am happy and confident about this schema and understand more or less what todo in each period. It is not set in stone and I still can modify it. I have one challenge left and I do not yet know how to work it into the schema.
We will have a winter holliday (1 week) from feb 25 – mar 5. I will be cross-country skying the entire day during this period. This is immedeatelly after the anaerobic training at the moment the sharpening and race coordination should start.
I think it is not too unfortunate that the training volume will drop after a probably tiring anaerobic period. I can probably get some runs in during the week, but I cannot guarantee and the sharpening work might be too dificult to organise. (I have been there before : it is high in the mountains with snow on all roads), but I do not expect to loose a lot of condition during this week.
Can I keep my periods as they are and sharpen in 3.5 weeks (6weeks – 1week holiday – 1.5 week taper), or do I need to make base shorter and do another anaerobic after the holliday ? What is the best way to organise ?
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