Running Science (Anglais) Broché – Version coupée, Livre audio, Coffret
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I agree wholeheartedly with most of his statements in the short term, but have a few serious misgivings about the book and the benefit of science over experience when it comes to developing yourself as a runner in the long term. He does hit on one of the key points in developing an integrated approach to running, which is pure genius and should be integrated by everyone!!!
1) I've always liked Dr. Anderson's style of writing. He's a blast to read and he makes the studies (of which my geeky self has read quite a few) lively instead of the dry, academic tones of the original. I have three of his barely published books in PDF format (lactate lift off, how do I become a better runner and great workouts), so many of the chapters in this book are repeats of what he wrote in those. It's good stuff, regardless, so it is forgiven.
2) The studies he cites are relevant. They make up a large part of the great studies over the past years in the lexicon of endurance study. They teach much. Normally, exercise physiology studies manage to confirm what runners/coaches have been doing for years, but there is now a shift for studies to recommend rather than confirm.
3) The guidance of the chapters and their organization are key. The order is good, but kind of ancillary to the sequence within the chapters.
4) The genius: I love his idea of integrating strength and endurance training is genius. It's a path I've pursued for years, and his addition is yet another way of doing it. It's genius. The addition of strength training is becoming a well established component to good performance. However, it's really hard to get around what you should be doing strength-wise to match with the endurance of that day. You want it to complement, ie you can't do a long run and heavy explosive work in the same session. I am an anal retentive guy, so I don't necessarily like his exercise choices, but that can be worked out!!
5) Sprint Training: This is yet another thing that has been minimalized in endurance. However, at it's core running is a power sport. You have your maximum achievable speed, and then you train to hold a higher percentage of it over longer distances. There are all kinds of benefits to sprint training - far beyond a kick - and Dr. Anderson hits them all.
1) My main beef with this is the minimalized volume. This is where science fails. The studies he cites (Costill, etc) show no improvement in VO2 when runners go above 70mpw. In one of the barely published books he goes to Bill Bowerman for a similar statement. Well, there are attributes other than VO2 that are related to mileage. Dr. Joe Vigil (maybe the best coach in the world) draws a correlation between mileage and economy of running. The studies that draw distinctions between the values of intensity and volume usually have runners/endurance athletes going at totally polar paces/efforts. In a scientific study, you should only have one variable that changes. Studies cited by strength and conditioning folks will have a group exercising at 70% of VO2 and another group doing hard intervals. Well, of course the interval group is going to show greater improvement even though they are exercising 1/5 of the time!! Basic logic, folks. One the author cites has runners going at 4 x 30 minutes at threshold every week. The other group does 4 interval sessions a week. The show similar results, but the value accord to thte author is the time invested. I'd be interested to see what happens if you mixed the components...
2) There's a reason it takes 10 years to develop into an elite runner or meet your potential in longer endurance events. The shortcomings of scientific studies are they last 4-12 weeks in length. The studies point to keys, but they can't get past the idea of long term development. Tony Benson and Irv Ray, in their book Run with the Best (which I believe is going for ~$4200 at the moment) have a chart that links accumulated mileage to peak performance over various distances. This is a case where they look to the last 100 years, analyze the number of years and training methods of athletes and come to their conclusions. It can't be studied in a lab (you try to find a lab rat willing to do a 15 year study on this) but anecdotal evidence is dead on.
3) I think experience should guide in development. You can't discount 100+ years of learning from training mistakes and training success based on a 6 week lab study. Experience shows that training at the maximum volume you can handle while still being able to perform the intense sessions will lead to the best development.
I call this progressive periodization. Limits in volume tend to be seasonal. Your volume should climb from cycle to cycle, but also measure the percent of your training that is intense. This should edge up gradually as the season progresses as well as year to year. I really think it's not training volume or hard day intensity that kills, it's the inability to run at a recovery pace or to take the day off to recover if any run is not a recovery run!!
The Lydiard model is constantly misunderstood. Under no condition would Lydiard get away from intensity - tempo runs, sprint drills and fartlek were part of the base period. The shotgun model (as I call it) of trying to incorporate all components in one week has value, but once again there has to be progression in terms of the intensity of the sessions, volume of the cycle and emphasis of the components within the week. They can work, regardless of Dr. Anderson's statements.
I think Dr. Anderson hits the nail on the head where he goes for progression from week to week, etc, within his model. This is nothing new - not even remotely so. Once again, to link it to progressive strength training is where the genius lies.
So, there is a lot of good in this book. There are some serious limitations to lab studies. This is in part to their limits in time. To totally eschew 100+ years of training experience is none too bright, so there needs to be a consolidation of both. Read this, but don't totally drop everything you've been taught/learned over the years. There are some really important ideas here, but once again, don't take this as the sole book on training!!
In addition to the impressive scientific content, Running Science provides useful training schedules for middle distance and distance events that incorporate the theoretical into a practical approach for success. Based on my own experiences as a competitive runner and coaching techniques I have used to train my two sons (who are accomplished runners in USATF youth competitions), this speed-based approach to distance training also resonates with my personal experience.
Although there is some repetitive material here and certain passages in which the science may run a bit deeper than necessary, the book is well organized, allowing readers to focus on those sections of greatest interest and relevance to their training. All in all, I consider this book a must-have resource for any serious distance runner's library.
-Kevin Joseph, author of The Champion Maker
A few notes to the potential reader:
-This book is definitely written for the serious runner or perhaps medical student! A recreational runner could take and apply elements of Anderson's book to improve his or her training, but the book is really aimed at the runner who wants to maximize race times--and this is a goal not all runners share.
-You won't find a series of training plans that you can pick from in this book. There is a sample half-marathon plan, and that is it. However, if you read the book, you will have the knowledge to create your own, and Anderson does provide sample workouts at times in the body of the text. To his credit, he provides fully illustrated guides for all of his weight and form exercises.
-You will need access to a gym with weights, a treadmill or indoor track, and possibly a pool or bike to really implement Anderson's training methodology. Since I have limited training time and facilities, for instance, I can't adopt much of what he recommends. But then again, I'm not at a point with my running where I'm too worried about personal records (see note #1 above). I will, however, be introducing some of the concepts from this book into my training.
Overall, for the experienced or competitive runner (or coach), this is a must-have.
Note: I received this book as part of an early reviewers program.