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How important is a set training and racing season?

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  • How important is a set training and racing season?

    I put this out on another thread. I'm interested to see what anyone else thinks about the idea that a lack of clearly defined seasons has contributed greatly to the instability of distance running, especially in the US with it's road racing scene.

    (excerpt)
    I think the thing that has hurt the most is the loss of firm season for a lot of athletes. Lydiard, and modern day succesful coaches, have strict training and racing seasons for their athletes, some almost to the day as far as predictability. For instance, Geb usually starts his outdoor season with a race, usually a 10,000, at Hengelo, etc. Lydiard himself used to be the same way with his athletes. In the US, Wetmore (a Lydiard man) is following suit, with great success.

    Guys like Clarke traveled everywhere and raced every chance they got--it had to have hurt them. Just think how much tougher a non-season buckshot approach is for a coach to plan training...it has to be just as tough for the body, which thrives on a regular routine, to execute that haphazard program.

    Things haven't been the same since the road race boom in the early eighties. That turned many distance runners into "Ron Clarke's".
    Even during the eighties and the money boom, the best athletes were always those who kept a consistant yearly racing (and thus training) schedule. That's why the Coes and Ovetts in track and the Porters and Ngugis in Cross, and the Bordins and Sekos in marathoning did so well.
    (And why a certain Brit lady is presently dominating the world!) Every time a DeCastella or Steve Jones (for examples of a few who came to the US to concentrate on the roads) deviated from that schedule, they played with fire and inevitably got burnt.

    Not that I blame any of these people for pursuing their careers as best they see fit. But removing the "seasonality" removes the regular routine on which the body thrives. As Cindi Lauper sang, "Money changes everything."
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