When you have success in life – athletically or professionally – it’s a reflection of your work ethic and an acknowledgement of your bomb diggity tactics. But, if your professional output is stimuli free would you continue to be successful? If, for years, you had the same exact output at work, learning no new functions, would you still be considered good at your job? If I do the exact same training all the time my body becomes calloused to it; what once was effective no longer is. While living in Boulder I had some of my best performances and some of my worst. The entire time I was doing the exact same training. But, what once was fresh, new stimuli that took me from mediocre to Olympic Trails finalist is the same training that lead to burnout and fatigue.
“With conservative training there is no stimuli, and at the end there is no training. That’s the reason because, when a program is good, the first thing to do is to change it, in order to avoid every kind of ADAPTATION, that is the main enemy of STIMULA in training” – Canova
I’m a huge Canova fan. I think that most Americans, when trying to imitate his training, royally mess up though. He has a rap for merciless conditioning that weeds out the top Kenyans – a superior race in the minds of most American distance runners. Although that’s a common excuse to why his athletes continuously beat Americans and win championships, I don’t agree. I think he’s brilliant but most don’t understand his training very well. He’s precise yet flexible, individual yet systematic. He hasn’t written a scientific method on training because it’s predominately intuitive to each individual. You can’t copy cat that.
But, it’s really easy to say that hiding behind a computer screen. I’m still sitting here, coach-less; not because I want to be or am expecting God to guide me (although it’d be really awesome if he wanted to give me some tips), but because I’ve spent over a year slow, overweight, and inconsistent mentally and physically. But I live in NYC with over 8 million other people, thousands of potential running buddies, 6 Wake Forest Track & Field alumni, and the worlds best resources – training coach-less doesn’t mean I no longer have gifted legs, a wonderfully developed cardiovascular system, or perseverance. There are running groups, fitness groups, other awesome-looking people striding solo on the West Side Highway, and I have over a decade of experience running competitively to guide me. So I took the same advice people give with friends and applied it to running – make new friends, and keep the old ones. I’ve made it this far in my running career because I’ve done a lot right, so I’ll hold onto that. I’ve also spent a lot of time in injury city, so there is plenty of room for new, smarter training.
“You lose some quality, or are not able to increase it, ONLY WHEN YOU DON’T TRAIN THAT QUALITY. It means that you lose speed not because you run long distance, BUT BECAUSE YOU DON’T TRAIN SPEED… The elements of training are always present in a good training schedule. What must change is their percentage and their frequency.” – Canova
The first major change I’m making is by doing 10-14 week training cycles with 1 week completely off instead of attempting 6 months of continuous running. The old method landed me with my sworn enemy, injury city – time shall not be wasted there, we will never be friends. Next change is to pick 1 major goal – to put myself in the best possible position to make the 10K team for Rio 2016 – and have every race and training cycle I do from now until June 2016 for that purpose. No more races solely for money or short-sighted goals, my little achievements along the way will be in pursuit of fulfilling my wildest dream. And for all of you familiar with, and thinking that this sounds very Hanson’s-ish, you’re right – their system works and I’m making new friends with it.
My first training cycle is to lay down a foundation of consistency. Hopefully in May and June I can lace up some flats and teach myself how to hurt again – I’ll keep you all posted!