Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Lining up Hadd and Lydiard-cum-Mystery Coach

Before I get to the title of the post, I'll just fill in the last few day of running. A typhoon brought a very rainy old weekend. On Saturday morning I visited a sports club and got in an upper aerobic 10 km on a treadmill. I discovered the incline function (all the controls are in Japanese you see, so I'd never known what that button was for) and found that it can really help you get a decent workout without constantly feeling like you are about to get thrown off the bloody thing. I still don't like them.

On Sunday the typhoon had set in properly and rain was falling constantly, but there was no wind and it was warm, so I headed off into the rain. I had discussed my intentions with Gareth and tehre was a chance I might meet him in Yoyogi Park. (Colin and others were all off at a race in Nagano.) At the designated meeting time of 9:00 in the park, the rain was growing steadily heavier and not a soul was about bar a few soggy crows. I gave Gareth the customary 5-minute allowance, still no signs of life so I headed off. With a couple of minutes I bumped into Mika T coming the opposite way and so we shared a very wet but warm 10 km together and I turned for home. A soggy but satisfying 20 k. That brought up a satisfying 77 km for the week.

Yesterday (Monday) was a public holiday (Ocean Day). I met up with a friend who has a predilection for speaking Spanish and all things Mexican and ran a couple of laps of the Imperial Guest House (Gosho) with her, generally easy but surging up the hills. An invigorating 12 km all up, though the warm conditions started taking their toll by the third lap.

This finally brings me to today and the title of this post. I've been reading up on all the Lydiard related theory posted by the enigmatic "Mystery Coach" (and commenters) on Mike's blog. As Ewen and others have noted, the methods of Bideau and Hadd, et al. all have a basis in Lydiard. Lydiard's prescriptions tend to be pace related determined from what he calls your "steady state" pace, the fastest pace you can run for 10 km or so every day and be recovered enough to run the next day without getting worn down. The most important word here is not "fastest" but "be recovered". Workouts are then based on a percentage of this pace, ranging from about 8% slower to the same pace.

Hadd, of course uses heart rate based prescriptions rather than pace-based. I have been basing my training on Hadd, but have been seduced by the incredible knowledge of Mystery Coach and really attracted to his ideas on the fiber recruitment model.

So to see just how the Hadd method compares with the classic Lydiard approach, I had a play around with some of Mystery Coach's numbers that he provides for developing a stamina build up. From an educated guess I assumed that my steady state pace is about 4:20/km, from which I calculated that the easier paced days that Mystery Coach prescribes for the early part of the program would have me running at about 4:40 pace. I thought that sounded interesting and based on recent experience was probably not too far off the mark for the Haddish lower aerobic heart rate runs.

So today when running around the Palace on an unseasonably cool day, I put this to the test. The first lap (5k) at 4:40 resulted in a HR considerably lower than the upper range of Hadd's lower aerobic, but that would not be unexpected even if I was following a heart rate guide for the run, since it does take a while for the system to get loaded up. It is the latter part of the run that the prescriptions really come into effect. And sure enough, during the second lap, although I did at times dip down into the 4:20s, the average pace was only a bit faster than 4:40 and the heart rate was right around the 139 to 143 area, exactly spot on for a lower aerobic run. You can see the data here. So this is good stuff. I feel that I much better understand the relation between these two fundamentally similar systems and feel the ability to mix and match somewhat without compromising the integrity of the program. In particular, I am pretty keen to adopt Mystery Coach's suggestion of running faster (100% of steady state) on Saturday (the day before a long run) to activate/fatigue the harder to get at muscle fibers and then bring them into use, i.e., condition them, during the next day's long run. Of course, all this depends on me staying injury free :-(

And if you have read this far, I'll reward you with a little anecdote from today's run, slightly grimace inducing though it is. On my first lap, I was running along concentrating on pace and heart rate and so on, and a nice fine drizzle had started. It was near the Otemachi stretch where the path is a little narrow and the paving is surfaced with that fine pebble-crete stuff. A guy and girl were jogging along side by side ahead of me and I started to pull out to go around them which would have blocked off the path, but I looked ahead to see a guy on a bicycle hurtling towards the gap I was about to close. I saw him in plenty of time to pull up and leave the gap open, but he, the poor bugger, saw my move and reflexively went for the anchors, unfortunately locking up the bike causing his front wheel to slide out from under him. Thereafter he involuntarily used his right knee and elbow as landing gear on the way to becoming fully sprawled over the pavement. He was still a good 10 m in front of us when he went down, indicating the prematurity of his actions, and also the speed he must have been going at. We scraped him and his bike up off the pavement. He was grimacing in pain but being very stoic. Luckily with the greasiness of the path he didn't lose any skin. He was a bike courier and was pretty good about the whole thing. I think he knew that whichever way you diced it, he'd screwed up: too fast for the conditions, notorious place for joggers at that time of day, misjudged and hit the anchors way too early...still, I couldn't help but feel bad for my part in it.


Tesso said...

Bugger, I thought you were going to reward us with a beer :-)

Luckylegs said...

All very interesting, Stephen. It keeps me busy going from "your place" over to "Ewen's Place"!

Tuggeranong Don said...

Really fascinating post, Stephen.

On the running stuff first, I was particularly interested in the connection you discussed of doing a fast run the day before the LSD run. It goes against the grain of doing an easy relaxed run before the onslaught of a long run but I will put it to the test when I can and report the results.

Loved the anecdote you told and felt a little sorry (but only a little) for the poor cyclist. It reminded me of the footage I saw on the tele tonight of that German dude during the Tour de France going over the handle bars when his bike hit a dog.

Ewen said...

I'm with Tesso - I was hoping for one of those home brews with extra hops.

I liked Eric's comment regarding the stamina build-up and recruiting all muscle fibres, which ties in with Hadd's rather gentle HR based build-up. If enough mileage is run, a lot of fibres are going to eventually be recruited... the harder to recruit fibres will be used because the easily recruited ones are tired from constant use. Does that make sense?

Anyway, I'm going to more or less follow Hadd, up to x kilometres per week. Not sure what x is yet!

plu said...

Re your comment on my blog

Thanks Steve,

I think it is the 0.985 because when I went over 1 I was way out and running less than a km when I thought I was running a km - I would rather be a bit over. It is just that I am way over now.

The problem was caused when I took the foot pod off for the marathon and never got it back in the same position it seems.

cheers Plu