How Simple Can We Make It?
Back in 2008 there was a UK Athletics Marathon Squad weekend where the then UKA Head of Endurance - with various Olympic medallists on his coaching CV - was booked for a 90 minute presentation and Q+A slot. His sense of humour is as good as his endurance knowledge. He opened with:-
'Ideally, using the principles of training for the specific event, you'd race a marathon every day. As we know that wouldn't work, what you need to consider is how to make the most of your VO2 max; your Lactate Threshhold; and your running economy, in a way that works for you as an individual'. Then, glancing at his watch, 'Can I go to the pub now?'.
We still had 89 minutes left and the remaining time was usefully filled. I left the room thinking that was about as good as coach and athlete education gets, while an athlete who has since been the first UK finisher in the London Marathon, found it all highly demotivating.
Lessons Learned? Firstly, don't lose sight of what the underlying principles are and try to see where all training fits into the key performance components of the event. Secondly, which runners relate best to which coaches can be an unpredictable business