My Theory

It hit me like a shot in the head last night. At 1:09AM I had quite the little apiphany, or let’s just say that I reinvented the wheel. Or at least I hope I reinvented the wheel because this sure as heck “felt” right when I wrote it down.

“While distance runners are out building pyramids, and sprinters are making inverted ones, I’ll just build a dam.”

Overdistance as the right wall of the dam, and underdistance as the left. In the middle you’ve got the 800m. Both OD and UD must be increased before you can target the 800m in your training. Otherwise you will not be capeable of training at a maximal level.

However, if you increase one wall of the dam a significant amount (Be it speed or endurace) the opposite side will rise with the event specific work. (see Dragging)

Sprint type and endurance type 800m runners are explained in my graphs.

The phases are pretty much generalities, b/c I have yet to sit down and apply them.

Phase 1) Speed and endurance are at a base level, as well as 800m. Focus is on speed and endurance training.

Phase 2) Again, focus on Speed and Endurance so as to prep for 800m.

Phase 3) Speed and Endurance are maintained at the high level while 800m is raised significantly.

Phase 4) Speed and endurance are reduced so that full focus can be given to 800m event specific training.

Viola! The 800m has been explained by a series of graphs drawn up in MS Paint!

Nice graphs!

Can you explain the idea of dragging a bit more?

When the walls of the dam are taken away to allow 800m specific training to be performed does the red stuff collapse and spill out over the sides? :eek: :smiley:


you bet it does!!! In my writing journal I’ve got a guy in a little rowboat and he’s rowin’ all over the place :stuck_out_tongue:

Dragging is pretty interesting. I was thinking about it during my run just 5 minutes ago. Danmit, I just wrote a paragraph that won’t do anything but confuse you, so let me drawn another pretty picture.

I may be wrong, but the following is how I interprated the information:

During dragging you increase training load to the weaker side of the “dam.” This results in increasing your performance as the body adapts fastest to the stimuli it needs most, be it speed or endurance.

The diagram shows that for sprint type athletes endurance is lagging. Ergo you increase the endurance dam wall evening out your ability. Technically you are dragging up the weaker side (endurance in the diagram for a sprint athlete). Which basically means you can now run a faster 800m as you have targeted your weakness.

Edit: Now the diagram has been changed I know have interprated somethign slightly diffrent:

(My first interpratation is now possibly phase 2)

Your ability is even for speed and endurance, so you increase one dam wall in phase 1. This now means one side is weaker. So in phase 2 you target the weaker side and drag it back to even ability.

I think dragging as I’ve described it can fit both Long-short and short-long training methods. Both Arthur Lydiard and Charlie Francis use(d) dragging to great effect.

The sprint type/endurance type section of my pretty little graphs were just to show how the different kinds of athletes would be represented. I don’t think that a Bar Graph quite describes the intricacies that are innate in the abilities of different runners. In reality it’s more of a very curvy line graph.

Lydiard used dragging by dramatically increasing endurance ability in phase one wich subsequently increased one side of the dam. Then in phase 2 he performed speed and strength training wich dragged the opposite dam wall to near (+/-) the same height.

Lydiard also had two more phases(?), but dragging is basically only used in the first two?

I’ve got sort of a simplified version up there. I think dragging is used more in latter phases 3-4, than in first few.

I understand now ( :smiley: ), my fault on the missunderstanding.

Thats an excellent thought but, I am a 400m guy so its applicablity might be limited for me, if I move up to focus on the 800(except for team points, its not very likely cause it’s a weaker event for me) then this would be excellent for me…

The reason why sprinters build inverted pyrimids and distance runners build pyrimids is because thats what works best for there events because the sprints are mostly anerobic and the majority of the distance runs are mostly aerobic, and inverted and regular pyrimids are good training plans for those events. However in the short/middle distance events, your dam training seems very intresting and I can’t help but wonder what it would do to an elite(or a 40year old masters competator for that matter) 800m-3200m runner, in my personal observations the 800-3200m races are those that can be won aerobicly by burning the comp for the whole race or anerobicly at the end with a whithering kick, but can be run away with easily with a proper combonation of both.

My Theory has been bouncing around inside myhead for the past few days. Pretty much, all I’m proposing is a concurrent (kind of) training program for the 800m. With a year-end focus on event specific training.

–Build up strength and endurance as best as possible. Become the strongest/quickest creature possible while still maintaining as much aerobic ability as able. Then, with the two supportive energy systems operating at full capacity move toward training the main one 800m anearobic.

Charlie gets as much speed as is possible for the athlete, and then ONLY as much endurance as is needed to complete the event. Lydiard gets as much endurance as possible, then ONLY as much speed as is needed to run the race pace. Because the 10k doesn’t need “that much” speed, and the 100m doesn’t need “that much” endurance you can get away with being lopsided. The distance/sprint events themselves are lopsided. But the 800m is about as split as the events come.

Charlie waits to do endurance work until after speed is in place. Do event specific work ONLY when you can do it at the highest quality possible. And because the 800m is just about evenly reliant on speed as it is reliant on endurance, the two must be trained before 800m pace work can be done with full effect. Otherwise… you could become fatigued doing the 3x600m@1:22.5secs with 2:00 second recovery. Or you wouldn’t have the speed (reserve) to do 8x200m@ 27.5 seconds with 30sec recovery.


  • In essence what drives “my theory” is the same fundamental thought process that drives CF and Lyd. If you take into consideration your event (400m) and the energy demands, I’m sure you’ll come up with a training program that would look like a lopsided dam with a bit of dragging in the end.

-Also, the athlete that wins the race is usually the athlete that is strongest over the distance he’s racing (unless they have a tactical error). The elite athletes that you always see in the World Champs and Olympics that just “sit and kick” are running at a pace that would obliterate most U.S. elite distance runnners AND THEN they kick!