We had one of the worst snow storm since 1982 (so they say…) here in Minnesota. As cold as it was, it was absolutely B-E-A-UUUUU-tiful today with the sun shining and blue sky with freshly piled up snow all over the place (perhaps a tad more than most of would have wanted). My wife was getting stir-crazy and sick of treadmill running so wanted to get out…and dragged me out as well. It was 10F and slightly windy.
I suggested her to take this loop around residential area with several hills that I usually run during bitter cold winter — at least, if something happens, we can yell for help (becomes handy with a thunder storm!!). “It’s about 30-minutes with better footing; so I’d say it’s about 40-minutes a loop today,” I told her. We added a short loop at the end to make it a nice round figure of 1:30 run. After the run, she said; “How many miles do you think it was?” “It doesn’t matter,” I said, “we ran 90-minutes.” “But it was pretty slow (because of all the snow and ice on the ground)…” “It doesn’t matter, we ran 90-minutes,” I said again.
Lydiard often said; “time spent on your feet.” He is still known by way too many as a 100-mile guy. The truth is; he very quickly realized that it is not so much of 15-miles but 1:30 that you had spent on your feet that mattered. We often hear some people who semi-understand Lydiard training speak of how fast those long runs should be done. When Lydiard came up with 100-miles-a-week program, many thought it’s too much. In order to manage that volume, they went VERY slow. That’s where this LSD (Long Slow Distance) idea came about. “It wasn’t just a slow jogging,” Lydiard countered. “We were running at the best Steady State pace,” Arthur corrected. Yes, he DID say that. But to think we need to run fast, even if you stay “aerobic”, can be as incorrect as going way too slow. In fact, it is probably not so much of whether or not you should run fast or slow. A key phrase that many seem to have overlooked is the importance of over-all “volume”– time spent on your feet. In “Running with Lydiard“, he pointed out, in the early part of “Marathon Conditioning Training” chapter, Lydiard said: “…train more on a time basis than on milage and this has proved the wiser approach to advising at a distance, even for faster athletes. Over, say, a 25km run, they would not otherwise run as long as a slower athlete, which means they tend to miss out on the most important aspect of conditioning — the volume of work they do…”
It is quite well-proven that certain aerobic developments are solely dependent on DURATION of the exercise. Capillary development or development of mitochondria, both the size and the number, are more to do with the duration of exercise than intensity. Okay, I’ve posted that loooooong blog on “Cardio is Dead” last week. But, unfortunately, this kind of BS-ness (is there such a word???) of “Cardio is Dead” articles is so HUGE that even a semi-truck can’t carry this $h!t-load of, well, crap! Lorraine chipped in her opinion, and we’re getting a comment from Sir Peter Snell, PhD. But, like Lorraine said, the more I read this, the more it becomes ridiculous-sounding. It IS just so amazing how much CRAP they list up…
When describing “aerobic” development, Lydiard was quite clear with 3 developments; (1) assimilation of oxygen, (2) transportation of oxygen and (3) utilization of oxygen. These are actually different developments and, when we talk about the actual PERFORMANCE, all of them need to be developed. When we read most, if not all, of “Cardio is Dead” arguments, they all talk about VO2Max. Short, sharp sprints — like Tabata Sprints — increases VO2Max 20% better than steady hour’s running…, like that. Looks impressive, doesn’t it? Makes you wonder if it’s worth at all to lace up and go for a nice easy long jog, doesn’t it? A problem is; VO2Max only tells a half of the story. The main reason why scientists measure VO2Max is because IT’S EASY TO MEASURE. In fact, I’m not sure if they can even measure what gas exchange is being done in the muscles, which is actually the most important thing — this is UTILIZATION of oxygen; how much oxygen is actually being USED in the working muscles. In fact, it actually doesn’t mean much at all how much gas exchange is being done in the lungs — this is VO2Max measurement. Those who try to equip themselves with “VO2Max improvement” as a proof of effectiveness of exercise, to me, ONLY shows their ignorance to practical side of “training”. When people see a phrase like “such-and-such exercise improves VO2Max by XXX%…”, I’d say more than 90% of people would think this particular exercise is better for endurance performance; I hope this explains that it is not. VO2Max is nothing but a “measurement”. Yes, the higher it is, the more advantageous it would be for you in running. But you need to realize that, even more importantly, the higher the ability to use oxygen in the working muscles regardless of VO2Max, the better. So what is the ability to use oxygen in the muscles? It’s the density of capillary beds as well as the size and number of mitochondria in the working muscles. These are, in fact, the very elements that are dependent on the DURATION of exercise. Again, THINK ABOUT IT. Maybe this is why you’ll NEVER see world class distance runners solely rely on Tabata sprints to be a great runner. And, if you think about it a bit further, you might see the light on which is actually better for you; hanging around at McDonald and eating cheeseburger every other day or going for an easy long jog everyday. It will soon become apparent why we don’t really see too many fat marathon runners. Now what sort of people do we often see at a burger joint? Hmmmm…. What is your “common sense” telling you?