I don't think a lot of NZ coaches have really grasped the finer points of Lydiard’s coaching, I’m seeing young runners grinding out over the Waitakeres most weekends going flat out, I'm not hearing the message train don't strain, I'm hearing a message of mileage instead of time spent training.
A group of young adults goes out over the Waitakeres whether they are bent on competing I’m not sure, they go out together but come back down at one hang of a pace spread-eagled possibly racing each other back down. Their best is being given on the Waitakeres.
Our best results are coming from athletes trained by overseas coaches.
It’s the problem when a few coaches have all the talent under their wing, if they don't do a good job all the talent isn't developed properly.
There needs to be a message of balance, knowing when to ease off and listening to your own body rather than religiously following a coach.
Photo: 1970's Canterbury, New Zealand Korean training camp when NZ was the Mecca for runners: the long sunday pack runs were part of a carefully managed buildup plan. There were no heroics.
Gary Moller comments:
Wayne, These observations and comments are right on the mark and get to the heart of one of the reasons why New Zealand has lost the running plot after having been consistently at the top of the running world.
If you read my articles about Kenyan running, you will realise that Kenyans commence their running from a very early age, with brief bursts of intensity when playing games like soccer. This very much describes my own upbringing in rural New Zealand of the 1950's. It is only after a decade and a half later that the Kenyans, as young adults, are subjected to big running miles at pace and gut-heaving anaerobic work.
Lydiard alway worked on the basis that it took 8-10 years to build a champion. How right he was and how right he still is.
To take teenage boys and girls with the best of just a few years of running behind them and have them racing the lenght of the Waitakeres is really dumb. It is a recipe for disaster. End of story!