I spent 12-month in Australia as a Rotary exchange student after I graduated high school. I had some idea of Arthur Lydiard but only vaguely. It was 1978 and Lasse Viren’s “double-double” was still fresh in mind. I spotted a news on track & field in the newspaper one day – they were getting ready for Edmonton Commonwealth Games; but the content actually was about a new book that’s about to come out by a famed coach from the neighboring country; New Zealand. “’Run – The Lydiard Way’ was written by Arthur Lydiard Lydiard who laid out the foundation for the resurgence of the ‘Flying Finns’, among others, Lasse Viren…” Somewhere along the way, I had read something about Lydiard spending several years in Finland as their national coach by “coaching coaches” but I had forgotten about that. Next few weeks, I stopped at the near-by book store to check out this new book. As I finally obtained it, I had read it with an English-Japanese dictionary in hand (hence, this had become the first ever English book I had ever read, cover to cover!!). I was in awe with how much it “made sense”! This was the beginning of my love-affair with Lydiard training.
I had read “Run to the Top” in its Japanese translation while I was in middle school. But it was as good as just looking at some of “vintage” black and white photos (little did I imagine, years later, I would meet and get to know personally most of these great athletes!!) and – yes, you guessed it!! – schedules. Understandably, I had no idea what the heck he was talking about!! It was when I picked up “Run to the Top” in its original English format and AFTER I’ve read “Run – the Lydiard Way” AND actually met with Arthur himself, attended his clinic, and actually sat down with him and asked him a few questions; finally things started to sink in and I began to understand the weight of the message – all this absolutely necessary for me, literally decades later, to put together a presentation for Lydiard Coaching Certificate Clinic.
Since then, I have read and re-read these books. There are many “lines” that really stuck to my heart and I would like to introduce some of them one by one on this blog along the way; but, at this point, one that I keep thinking lately, because of my injury that I’m struggling right now, is this: “All runners can expect some initial troubles but none is insurmountable if common sense is applied… Most of the world’s greatest athletes have had their setbacks and recovered from them.” “The sign of being committed,” I remember talking to the late Dick Brown, “means you never lose hope during the hard time and keep doing what you can; and you don’t lose sight of those small cautions and keep doing those extras when everything is going well.”
My right quad soreness from my Christmas vacation had eased (though I still feel it weak and feel the need to strengthen it…) but my sciatica is still hanging in there. My rule of thumb with injuries is; “If it gets worse as you run, stop. If it eases as you warm up, go on with caution.” So I’ve been running with caution and it’s actually quite amazing how quickly you can come back to your fitness – I’d like to share about this in the coming week(s). The weather here in MN is still quite cold and it’s a good time to bulk up clothing and forget about the actual distance of pace (makes it convenient with bad footing) and just go out and run as how I feel (“Whatever the pace you feel happy about,” as Arthur would say). Meanwhile, trying to stretch, strengthen – sit-ups, back curl, etc. – and try to massage and apply hot-cold patch to stink up the bedroom!! ;o) Japan’s Olympic marathon gold medalist, Naoko Takahashi, always says; “In the winter, when the trees are bare, no fruit, no flower, not even leaves are green… But that’s the time to grow your roots under the ground.” Surely, winter is the best time to lay down the foundation (=roots) by running long and easy…