I've decided it's time to do a new series of posts, which will explain the ideas behind a bunch of workouts I plan on doing. I've done some series before that I called a graduate-level course on training and this is one step beyond that.
I recall a friend reading the last series and saying, "What am I supposed to do with this information? Just tell me what to do!" That's a common idea - people are forever looking up the latest marathon training schedule, trying to follow it as best they can and, if failing, looking for another and, if succeeding, telling everyone that that's THE way to train. Another said, "I don't bother with any of that. I just run."
On the opposite end of the spectrum, there's this story of a coach: An athlete comes to him saying "I can run eight 800's in 2:35, but I can never seem to do nine. Am I running them too fast? Should I try something else?" The coach, flustered, says, "Well, what are you trying to do? Why are you doing that workout? What's the goal? How does it feel when you're doing that workout? You need to know what each workout is supposed to be doing for you."
To understand each other, the coach and the athlete have to agree about what they're talking about. To do that, they have to know what they mean. There are countless people out there that call themselves "coaches" who have just had success and tell others to do what they did.
This series will be for those few who want to understand the "why" behind workouts.
5 days ago