[Back to TullyRunners Home Page] ... Article Posted June 8, 2005
Follow Up Article I - A Practical Application (Summer Training)
(Josh McDougal Is A Perfect Example Of What Is Wrong With High School Track)
by John Raucci
This will be the first in a series of smaller follow up articles to the primary article written in March/2005 entitled "Josh McDougal Is A Perfect Example Of What Is Wrong With High School Track". I am writing these follow ups in part due to the many sincere inquiries I have received in reference to the original article. I hope that they will serve to broaden the approach to running that I set out to present as well as deal with the practical matter of day-to-day training. In order to gain the most from these follow-ups, I would like to put forward a number of guidelines. First of all, it would be essential to first read and try to understand the primary article if you have not already done so. Secondly, as I will make training suggestions especially in this first follow up, I realize that they may not correspond to the kinds of training prescribed by a given coach for a given team at a given time. If that is the case, I recommend that runners follow the schedules put forth by coaches and not by me. Coaches are uniquely responsible for their athletes, and from my perspective, I would say that such a responsibility should not be violated. Any outside interference could lead to conflict and/or confusion, and that would certainly defeat the purpose of these articles. Thirdly, I would petition coaches to at least re-evaluate that which they consider to be ideal in terms of training and performance. We all work from a sense of what is best, and if we are mistaken in any way regarding the very best, the ideal, everything else we say or do will somehow be thrown off kilter. For example, strange as it may seem, it may not be ideal to stress a runner in order to improve performance. Stressing an athlete will certainly make he or she faster, but, in fact, it might be the alleviation of stress that takes a runner to his full potential. In another example, it may not be ideal for a High School sophomore young man to run a 4:10 mile. He may in fact be doing too much too soon, and his body may react with a vengeance in terms of thrusting him into a cycle of injuries. Finally, these articles should never be viewed as an attempt to help us produce champions now. Rather, they are an invitation to bring together the sport of running with the fullness of health. As my own children will attest, I have slowed the progress of their performance levels in the hopes that a future free from sickness and injury, would provide a foundation for the eventual realization of their athletic potential, along with a continuation of their unencumbered enjoyment of the sport.
This follow up will take on the practicalities of barefoot running, proper breathing in and out through the nose, and aerobic conditioning. As we approach summer, we are entering into somewhat of a gold mine of a training zone. A good summer's effort can bring about surges in the career of a runner. I want to express my appreciation to the runners of Red Hook and Rhinebeck who have helped me to understand running from an unusual perspective, as I have been able to observe them and their progress through our day-to-day efforts. I must confess that if I were to say anything about myself, it is simply that I am a student of running. I have learned much through trial and error, and expect to continue to do so. Please accept this presentation in such a light, and allow your own experience and research as well to guide you in your pursuit of excellence.
Shoeless and Clueless
How do we run barefoot? No question arose more so from the primary article as much as the preceding. This is not an ordinary question, but one that no doubt took humanity millions of years to formulate. In that most of the earth's population for the lion's share of world history went shoeless, who would have thought to ask such a question until recently? In light of that, there is no way to give an adequate answer in a matter of moments. What we have done as a culture is transform a natural form of human behavior (a barefoot lifestyle), into an oddity, and even a crime in some cases. Well, if society at large wishes to corrupt muscle and bone development through the wearing of shoes, this is not a justification for runners to follow suit.
Even prior to the undertaking of barefoot activity, we should give thought to the role of our feet in running. They link us to the earth, and it is through their power and strength in conjunction with muscles in the legs and the pendulum-like swinging of the arms that we cover distance. How can we fail to attend to their strengthening on a day-to-day basis? You will never see a baseball pitcher going to the mound wearing a heavy winter's overcoat. Their arms need freedom to perform. You will never see a football quarterback wearing thick sunglasses. They need to see clearly the entirety of the field as well as the positioning of their receivers. You will never see a hockey player wearing figure skates. They need to stop on a dime and shift directions in a flash. A runner in shoes is in reality no different than a pitcher in an overcoat, a quarterback with thick sunglasses, and a hockey player in figure skates. Now add to shoes gobs of cushioning, motion control, and support from every direction, and what do we come up with? We make of our feet something more aptly described as feet-like! So we return to the question as to how to run barefoot.
We can start by paying attention to our way of walking. If we can walk more so the way we were designed to, we can make somewhat of an easier transition to proper running. Our feet were created to touch the ground. In so doing, we should stand flat on the ground. Proper walking is done heel to ball. Shoes often force us to walk ball to heel. We should gradually shift to barefoot walking. We can do it at home, in the yard, and in certain outdoor environments that pose no significant danger to our feet. When we wear footwear, there should be no heel or uneven lift. Good footwear should allow our feet to remain flat on the ground. This will allow the muscles in our legs to come into a proper configuration without having to shorten in order to compensate for height stemming from heels. There should be ample room for our toes, as our toes were designed to spread and grip. They should not be confined in tight fitting shoes. Take a look at the shape of the foot. Can you see anything that would indicate that the foot was created to carry or lift objects as well as bear weight? Our feet are instruments of mobility. And they do best when unencumbered, even by the weight of a shoe. Should we wear shoes, they should be as light as possible. Heavy shoes cause foot muscles to exert themselves in ways they were never intended to. During winter, my kids wear karate shoes, which are flat to the ground. In the summer, we wear sandals. When possible, it is better not to wear socks. Air circulation is very good for the feet, and the free flow of air can help us to avoid trapping the kinds of bacteria and fungus that are behind so many skin problems.
Shifting to barefoot running should be slow and gradual. We will be using foot muscles that have been inactive for long periods of time, and we need to give them a chance to regain strength. A rapid and decisive shift can result in injury. So don't just toss away those awkward cushioned shoes. Just wear them less and less. You can begin by switching from running with shoes to running without them during a given training session. Proper running is done ball to heel. The heel is a bone, and when it lands on the ground as a result of a running stride, shock shoots throughout our network of bones reaching even as far as the skull. Jump in the air and land on both heels, and you will get a sense of what this kind of shock is all about in its travel from one bone to another. Ball to heel running is not just for sprinters. It is the correct way for all runners. It not only helps shock to be naturally absorbed and dissipated through the legs, but it extends the stride length and increases rate of leg turnover thus making us faster runners. When we run barefoot, we should naturally land on the ball. However, even in shoes, we should consciously and gradually affect a changeover in ball to heel running if we have not yet done so. Heavy cushioned shoes will force us to land on the heel; so the sooner we can get rid of them, the better.
Barefoot running is best done on open fields. In Red Hook, we use the playing fields around the Middle and High Schools as well as some local parks. Choices for locations to work in may vary from area to area. Where choices are limited, there may be a certain kind of boredom arising from being taken off the roads and confined to limited spaces. But perhaps, we as runners got a bit spoiled with the open roads and their endless scenery. Baseball players practice over and over again in the same field, and likewise football and soccer players. Basketball players go to the same gym, and shoot at the same baskets. Hockey players go to the same ice rink. Do we, as runners, need to be any different? In addition, there is one enormous benefit to running away from roads and onto fields. That is the issue of safety. Nothing is more heart breaking than the sad news that we get virtually every year that a runner was hit by a car.
Natural earth is somewhat broken and uneven. When we run barefoot, such earth gives our feet a complete workout as it elicits infinite types of muscle responses due to the infinite and infinitesimal variations in the terrain. (In regard to the latter, a barefoot warm-up is ideal before a race because it triggers all muscles as they were designed to come into use). As we shift to landing on the ball of the foot, we will strengthen the muscles in our calves, as we will begin to rely upon them quite heavily. Needless to say, strengthened calves will have a positive effect upon our overall ability to run. As we develop barefoot running, our form should naturally improve. We will learn to land lightly upon the balls of our feet, and spring vigorously with each step. By getting into the habit of a light landing, we will pick up an immense amount of efficiency when called upon to perform. Like the Africans, we will utilize energy to thrust us across the surface as opposed to crashing into the surface with typically forceful strides that drive us downward with each succeeding step.
During summer training in Red Hook, we meet each morning at 6:45 A.M. We run in the cool of the morning while dew moistens the fields. Afternoons are usually hot and uncomfortable. What's more, in New York, ground bees often lay in wait throughout the fields as the day wears on. They have a nasty sting. If you step on one, you will know it. Just pull out the stinger; squeeze out the poison if you can (you may be able to see a little liquid come out); ice the wound, and apply a paste of baking soda and water. In a day, you'll be fine. At first, I was upset at those irritating insects that got at me more than once. Then, I thought, well, this is just nature's way of saying that we should get up early and train in the morning. I have never seen a problem with them in the early morning, as they seem to be more numerous in the thick of the day. As we become proficient at running barefoot, we should be able to gracefully add miles and miles to our training repertoire. Gradually increase the mileage, but do not fear to run further and further. A normal summer's training day for my kids is a 2-hour morning run, which is about 15 miles. Then, they add 3 to 5 miles of jogging in the later part of the evening. They love it, and rarely complain of soreness as the summer proceeds. However, all of our training is long and slow, and this standard should be applied to any dramatic distance increases in training. The so-called pounding becomes a non-issue as we become better at running without shoes and land on the balls of our feet even down steep hills. In time, our feet will toughen as they form a leather-like exterior. And our toes will spread wide indicating new muscle strength in the forefoot. Unlike running shoes, which shoe companies recommend that you replace every 3 to 6 months, your feet will last for many decades, and improve their strength and power with time. And you got them for free in the first place. How's that for a deal?
If you need to use running shoes when conditions or rules apply, always wear lightweight flats with an adequate width—the lighter the better and the flatter the better. In Red Hook, the kids are using the Nike Free. As with flats, they allow some better flexion of the foot muscles. However, personally, I do not like them. They will not allow you to come anywhere near barefoot running in a true sense. They have a heel, possess too much weight, and are cushioned among other negatives. On the other hand, it is difficult to find any footwear that is perfectly designed to work in absolute conjunction with that most masterful creation, the human foot. In Red Hook, we have added this new barefoot dimension to our training. We are all stronger, healthier, and even happier as runners. We wish you all the best should you decide to likewise vary your training in this regard!
Darth Vader - The Master Breather
After the primary article was circulated, I quickly came to see how difficult it is for those in the running community to take on the challenge of breathing in and out through the nose. However, I have become convinced in no uncertain terms that such breathing is vital if we want to achieve our potential and maintain optimum health. There are difficulties with nasal breathing, but those difficulties arise only when we use competition as a parameter to judge various techniques. I have been working with this type of breathing now for three years and am well aware of the trauma associated with taking this style of breathing into competition. Many would say, "Why bother?" But if we rely upon the status quo, we will always be faced with the now entrenched problem of running and the associated injury and ill health, not to mention the overall drain upon human efficiency when breathing and heart rate fall into the patterns we often see before us.
I cannot say how many times I have attended track meets and listened to coaches screaming at the top of their lungs to runners – "Drop your arms, don't tighten up, hold your head up," etc. etc. I have yet to hear any coach yelling out – "Watch your breathing, don't hyperventilate, or slow your heart rate." (I think my own heart would stop if I heard such language as the latter directed at the runners). It is believed that 10% of our energy during performance is devoted to respiration. If we are really serious about efficiency when we run, how can we neglect or worse yet ignore the matter of efficiency in respiration? Suppose we could take that 10% and drop it to 5%. Would we not then be able to devote another 5% of our energy resources to the running muscles giving us additional power and strength?
If we ask our runners to emulate the great athletes who make the impossible look effortless and the unimaginable, ordinary, how can we not push our runners towards the achievement of true, proper and peaceful mode of respiration? Running efficiency begins with breathing efficiency, and breathing efficiency begins with a correct understanding of human respiration. Proper breathing is done in and out through the nose, slowly and deeply and engaging the diaphragm, even amidst strenuous activity. An accomplished nasal breather will breathe 1/3 as many breaths as a mouth breather even in competition, and his heart rate will drop allowing for a gradually fuller exchange between oxygen and carbon dioxide in the lungs. I have yet to see any physiological evidence to the contrary.
If we fall into the trap of allowing competition to color our viewpoint as to what is proper in terms of training and performance, we will never come to appreciate the human body, a creation of infinite complexity as well as infinite simplicity. It's our engine, and if taken care of, it will carry us faster and further than we can dream. We should center our attention upon human potential and not upon this or that competition. If human potential is achieved, competition will be taken care of, maybe not in the moment, but eventually. The body does best when its components relate to one another in harmony, and not under duress. And harmony can never be achieved without true and proper respiration, which is always controlled, rhythmic, harmonious, and gradual.
So how do we change the pattern of our breathing from the mouth to the nose? We must begin by simply training at levels, which can be sustained by nasal breathing alone. We have to slow our paces down significantly at first. If at any time during training we feel we have to go back to the mouth, we just decrease our effort to what the nasal breathing can handle. At first we will feel like we are suffocating, and we will be uncomfortable. Within a few days, we should begin to adapt to at least where we can train at basic levels. In a short time, we will feel an increased level of energy, less fatigue, and easier bouts with recovery. In Red Hook, it took about two weeks before we could once again feel comfortable in training. The key is to persist. Ideally, someone should be repeating to you over and over, "Breathe through the nose." If there is no one to do that, come to Red Hook and train with us, and I can repeat those words for you until you get sick of hearing them. But you will be a better runner, and a far healthier individual. If you can persist, you will be shocked at how well you find yourself performing while breathing in and out through the nose. Summertime is the ideal period to make such a transition. Racing season is over for a while, and there is no pressure to perform. Such a transition can never be made during times of heavy competition.
As with barefoot running, we should change our breathing pattern not just in training but in life. We should be conscious of how we breathe at all times maintaining slow nasal breathing in our day to day living, even in moments of stress. We should catch ourselves if we go to the mouth. Like in barefoot running, we have to begin using physiological apparatus that had been lying dormant. We have to use our nose in a fundamental way. By doing so, we will open up sinus passages and other pathways for air that were sleeping for years. As the nasal apparatus strengthens, we will deliver greater amounts of oxygen to our lungs with each breath. We should never be thwarted by nasal blockages or the like. They should straighten themselves out with consistent use of the nose in breathing in and out.
Taking nasal breathing into competition requires a certain kind of patience accompanied by an outlook towards the long term. Does a nasal breather improve in terms of his performance in races? Absolutely, you will improve. However, the rate of that improvement will be somewhat slower than if you were to continue to breathe through the mouth. Naturally, just the thought of slower improvement can be quite shocking in a culture consumed by the thinking that winning is everything. On the other hand, the improvement is extremely steady and consistent. There are no dramatic breakthroughs, but that seems to be balanced by the fact that I have yet to observe any periods of stagnancy. Progress is gradual and continual. And the progress is real progress because the body is so much more able to adapt to a training regimen that promotes ease as opposed to stress. Eliminating stress through breathing helps the body to relish its gains and want to hold onto them. In addition, nasal breathing lends itself to aerobic activity, and such activity is so much more valuable in terms of real gains. It is the basis of all performance, and the foundation of all progress.
Where competition calls for anaerobic energy, performance levels will show their most marked decrease, but the decrease though apparent, is not large. I have noticed in the case of my son David a 1% performance loss in an 800-meter race, a 3% loss in a mile and a 5% to 6% loss in a two-mile. This amounts to about 2 seconds in an 800-meter, 6 to 8 seconds in a mile, and close to 20 seconds in a two-mile. The performance decrease is due to a slight oxygen deficiency. The reason why performance loss seems to increase with distance is because, as physiological studies indicate, we all possess one amount of anaerobic energy regardless of the distance, and that energy for a nasal breather is apparently easier to spread out over a shorter distance than over a longer one. On the other hand, Cross Country races, which are primarily aerobic, may not be affected at all or are perhaps even enhanced by the nasal breathing. In the fall of 2004, Dyestat posted David as one of six male runners in the nation to run under 15 minutes in a High School Invitational 5K Cross Country race.
For those of you who are by now turned off by the mere suggestion of a breathing pattern that might cause performance loss, take heart! A slight performance loss, especially for elite high school runners, may be just what the doctor ordered if we examine everything from the perspective of health and well-being. In addition, a nasal breather is forced to pay a deep attention to all aspects of racing in detail. His or her pacing must be ideal, especially in terms of negative splits, so as not to enhance the oxygen deficit. He or she must adjust racing patterns in accordance with atmospheric conditions. For example, some weather patterns allow for less oxygen in the atmosphere. Even winds might disrupt atmospheric oxygen content by blowing up such as pollen into the air, and displacing the normal quantities of oxygen, and nitrogen etc. Such conditions affect all runners, but most ignore these kinds of details that might make or break a race. For myself, the issue of performance loss has become a challenge. It drove me to find natural and healthy ways to supplement the runners’ oxygen intake to get it to optimum levels. Breathe Right Nasal Strips open wide the nostrils. Also, certain breathing exercises just prior to competition can saturate the blood with additional oxygen. Likewise, we, who breathe nasally, find ourselves forced to bolster aerobic power such that anaerobic energy will be called upon less and less, even in short races. By the end of this year's track season, we had chopped out a significant chunk of that performance loss which perhaps helped Red Hook to its best showing ever at a New York State Meet. I should like to take up the issue of nasal breathing and performance in greater detail in subsequent writing.
It was at the end of May when I stood on the track at Red Hook with coaches Greg Rafferty and Fred Pavlich. The kids were doing their final so-called hard workout prior to the State Meet - 8X200's in 30 seconds, interspersed by 2X400's in 58 seconds. (I am happy to say that Interval workouts are few and far in between at Red Hook, but this was one of them). As David was on his last 400, Coach Pavlich, a former track star, long time successful New Paltz High School Running Coach, and now in addition Bard College Cross Country Coach, turned towards me as he gazed at David gracefully finishing up his last 400. He remarked that in all his years as a coach, he has never seen anyone reach the level that David reached without getting an injury. He went on to add that the barefoot running, the nasal breathing, and the emphasis on long easy runs as opposed to short stressful intervals were all part of a package. You cannot just pick and choose among them he went on to say. They all work together so very well. He concluded that David should have a great future ahead of him. It was about the best thing I as a parent could hear, and a testimony to the way we approached the sport.
Finally, what is what we might call a proper breath? For that I want to turn to John Douillard's "Mind, Body, And Sport" to what he terms Darth Vader Breathing. Follow his steps below, and you will breathe as you should. John Douillard wrote the following:
Step 1: Inhale normally through the nose. At first, do not take a large breath. It will be easy to master this technique with shallow breaths in the beginning.
Step 2: During the exhale, breathe out only through the nose. As you exhale, constrict the throat slightly, as if you were lightly snoring. The sound should be a little like Darth Vader. You will notice that in normal nose breathing you can feel the air coming through the nostrils, similar to the feeling you get when you blow your nose. In this technique, you will feel a sensation in your upper throat; it doesn't feel as if the air is moving through your nostrils at all. Of course this is just an illusion; your mouth is closed, and there is simply no other way out!
Step 3: Try making this sound during the nasal exhale, without contracting your abdominal muscles. Go ahead and do it now. If you are doing the Darth Vader breathing correctly, you will find it impossible to make that sound without slightly contracting your stomach muscles.
Step 4: If you're not sure you've got it right, try it this way: Instead of focusing on exhaling through your nose and constricting your throat, think about squeezing the air out from your tummy by tightening your stomach muscles. You will find that the tighter you make your stomach during the exhale, the more pronounced the Darth Vader resonant sound will be.
Step 5: If you're still not sure, take out a pair of sunglasses and blow on them, with your mouth open, as if to fog them up for cleaning. You will make a HAAA sound that comes from inside your throat rather than your mouth. Now, close your mouth and make the same glass-fogging sound, but through your nose. The only slight difference is that, instead of just a short glass-fogging burst, I want you to carry that HAAA sound throughout the exhale. The same breath that cleans your glasses with the mouth open will mimic Darth Vader with the mouth closed.
Step 6: Now that you have mastered making this sound with a shallow breath, begin to increase the size of the breath, ensuring a quality, resonant, Darth Vader sound! Keep increasing the depth of the breath until you are taking in every last bit of air and squeezing out every last bit. Practice this as much as possible while sitting or walking, because the better you make this sound now with a deep maximal breath, the easier it will be to apply to your exercise program.
MILES MAKE CHAMPIONS
Some years prior to his death, Arthur Lydiard wrote an article heavily critical of the American system of training. In it, he tore at the emphasis upon interval training, and so-called speedwork. He claimed that if he were to come here and coach, he could produce Olympic Champions within about five years. He praised the Africans because he saw in their system of training a mirror image of his own methods which produced a number of great Olympic Champions from the 60's onwards. And the basis of that training, the center of all the activity, was nothing other than the long run. The long run increases the aerobic threshold, and that threshold is the basis for virtually every type of performance gain. In subsequent articles, Lydiard exposed anaerobic activity for what it is - a limiting factor in regard to performance, and an inducement to the breakdown of an athlete culminating in the destruction of human potential. For Lydiard, aerobic activity, and aerobic activity alone, is what brings about gains in athletic performance.
Although many in the American running community no longer take Lydiard seriously, I for one do. And, in line with his approach, I would say that summer training can be very simple. Just gradually increase the length or rather as Lydiard would say, the time we run. In Red Hook, we usually begin in June after school when the Track season is concluded. We run on the fields for about an hour plus on average. As the summer proceeds, we move to the early morning and simply increase the average time running. The runs are always comfortable, but they are not at all jogs. At the same time, they will never come close to being anaerobic. For those who can, we recommend jogging in the evening. As stated earlier, my sons will work up to two hours per day plus jogging. Once a week, they will do one three hour run. This level of training should be approached gradually, and I am not saying that everyone should do as much running.
In the aerobic phase of Lydiard's training, he would intersperse speedwork sessions. His concept of speedwork was more related to strengthening of the running muscles. In an ingenious way, he never allowed his runners to extend bursts of activity beyond aerobic levels. Therefore, time spent in rapid paces would fall into the 10 to 20 second range. In one workout, he would have runners bound up a 200 meter hill, jog for a while, sprint down the hill, jog, and repeat. In between the repeats of the hill bounding, he would call for short sprints on a flat of about 15 seconds. Runners would never be in oxygen debt. I suggest that everyone study Lydiard's system of training and its wisdom. I see his as a good system of training, but even there, I believe it should be approached cautiously by a High School Athlete.
If we are going to make the transition to longer and longer runs, we may have to leave it at that. To add anything else might be counter productive. I learned this the hard way last summer when I added Lydiard's speedwork to the increase in milelage of my sons. Within a couple of weeks, they wound up having to back off from everything for a while. Later I came to learn that runners working with Lydiard directly were more likely to be injured during the speedwork sessions. Ultimately, as Lydiard would say, it is the miles that make the champions.
There is an obsession with speed and interval workouts in America. Alongside this obsession is the notion that running slow will make us slow. Although I understand this type of thinking, I cannot find verifiable evidence for it in my experience. Since I have been involved with Red Hook, the emphasis has been upon long slow running. Even during the season, interval workouts are done sparingly. Yet Red Hook is producing faster runners than ever. Never in the history of this small Division II school has it been able to send a 4X800 team to the State Meet. However, for the last 2 years, the Red Hook 4X800 team has won the League and Section championships and qualified for the State Meet, medaling on both occasions with an average 800 time of between 2:01 to 2:02 per man for both years. In response to the primary article, I received a good number of e-mails which absolutely concurred with the notion that slow running can make us faster. In one letter, a runner told me that he had run the mile in 4:35 or so in High School and was plagued by injuries and burnout due to the speedwork and the intervals. Afterwards upon entering into his 20's, he slowed his training solely to long runs of 7 minute miles. Then, with a few intervals done a month prior to a one-mile race, he got down to 4:21 without difficulty.
Former Olympic Champion in the 800 and 1500, under Lydiard's tutelage, Peter Snell is now going around the world teaching that running slower makes us faster. He claims that when we do long slow runs, we use up the glycogen in our slow twitch muscles after a period of time. Without knowing it, we then switch over to our fast twitch muscles even as we maintain a slow pace. Thus, our fast twitch muscles get a good workout, and as a result, we are able to run faster. This in fact may explain why I and others experience speed gains through long slow running. In any case, one thing is for sure as far as I am concerned. If we become faster through running slower, we will be much less likely to find ourselves with a stress fracture or torn ligament or knee problem etc. etc. Ultimately, speed and stress, when applied to training, may not at all be what they are thought to be.
Finally, I would like to refer to a recent Swedish article called "Some Words About Running". I recommend that we all take some time to review this article, especially the first half of it -
( http://ingrid-kristiansen.com/holisticfitness/running.htm ). The article documents the failure of science to comprehend the extent of aerobic energy required for all middle distances, stemming from measurements taken from faulty parameters. With new and accurate data, a 400 is now understood to approach being 50% aerobic, an 800 - 70% aerobic, and a 1500 - 85% aerobic. The article proceeds to emphasize the significance of a training, very heavily weighted to the aerobic side in order to maximize performance for middle distance races. It goes on to elucidate that anaerobic activity is not only of less significance in regard to middle distance races, but that the production of such energy can greatly hinder the body's ability to function aerobically. In addition, it demonstrates graphically how inefficient we become when we rely upon anaerobic energy to get us through our training or racing. It concludes that long easy runs will give us much more bang for the buck, even for shorter distances.
I am sure that Arthur Lydiard would have jumped for joy had he been alerted to the above referenced article. It seems to verify scientifically Lydiard's direct experience with training and performance. The upshot of such information is that we should be secure in the thought that we are gaining far far more by switching our training away from the track, and away from the stop watch. As Lydiard taught, "Miles make champions".
Best Wishes to all the hard working runner athletes as we come upon summer!
... (John's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org )