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Dan
Chief Pontificator
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Joined: 22 Mar 1999
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Location: Salem, OR

PostPosted: Fri Aug 23, 2002 6:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
And how do you expect to learn if you don't study

Observation is the purest form of study. Wink

Are you saying reading is not also trial and error? If two books have conflicting views, are you any better off from a standpoint of concrete certainty? Again, it all comes down to guesswork at some point... I don't mean to direct this at you, but any coach who refuses to admit that a large part of what they're doing is guessing is setting themselves up for failure.

Quote:
do you plan on coaching again?

I don't know yet. I'll probably get involved again at some point at some level... If coaching, sprints 90% likely, mid-distance 10%. So don't worry, your distance positions will not be crowded with one more candidate. Smile

Quote:
your stuborn refusal to do a little reading

Ah, but that's changing what I said. I'm not keen on physiology, but I never said I refuse to read.

Dan
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Distance_Guru
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 23, 2002 8:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am getting sick and tired of that setting themselves up for failure garbage. It annoys the hell out of me that every time someone on this board differs with someone else that cliche phrase always comes up. It reminds me of the Back to The Future Movies where all sombody had to do to get under Marty's (Micheal J Fox) skin was to call him a chicken.

Now back to your last, post observation is the purest form of study. Unfortunatly there are things that can't be observed. Reading texts on training allows you to greatly improve your knowledge of a sport and to get a better understanding of what you are actually observing. For example lets say you have an 800 runner that rutinely falls apart at the 600 meter mark. You will have a much better chance of knowing why if you are able to take a solid base of knowledge in physiology and use that to determine why he's crashing and burning at that point in the race. Obviosly the athlete wasn't able to deal with the excess amount of lactic acid that was in his system, now the question is why. It could be he a lack of anaerobic conditioning left him with a low lactate threshold. It could be that a lack of aerobic capacity or aerobic conditioning training left him unable to fully take advantage of his lactate threshold. It could be that he has a less than optimally trained acid tolerance. It could be that the way he is running the race is making a lack of trianinig in one area or the other worse. But unless you have a good base of knowledge in physiology you will have to guess. Where as if you do have a good base of knowledge you take what you know of the human body and how it reacts both to training in the long term and racing in the short term and use that in conjunction with observations and records from training and racing and determine where the diffecency lies.

As for what you do if you have two physiology texts that say opposing things. You read a third and a fourth... I am fortunate enough to have my degree in this area so I already started with a descent understanding and pretty well can tell the good from the not so good when it comes to quaility research. As for everyone else read and read lots once you develope a base of knowledge and then you make an educated decsion as to which is correct. If you want to call it a guess fine but it's an educated guess and the better educated the guess the more likely the guess is to be correct. And the more you know about physiology then the more eduacted your guesses will become.
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Dan
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 23, 2002 8:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok, is there some way you would rather I phrase things than "setting themselves up for failure?" I have a saying that those who accuse other people of being too stubborn in a disagreement are often equally as stubborn. You like to point out how sick you are of me disagreeing with you, but I don't see you any more willing to concede any points. Wink I live here...

Quote:
Now back to your last, post observation is the purest form of study. Unfortunatly there are things that can't be observed.

I would argue that anything which cannot be observed also cannot be validly studied in a lab setting (with regards to running), and therefore is of little practical use.

Quote:
But unless you have a good base of knowledge in physiology you will have to guess.

Given your 800m example, which one is it then? You gave us 4 possible answers, but where exactly does that get you other than a new set of educated guesses to choose between? Even if you select the correct door (let's just assume for the sake of argument that the correct answer is fully contained in the physiological explanations, which I'm guessing is true less than half the time), you still have to apply that to a training system...

Quote:
And the more you know about physiology then the more eduacted your guesses will become.

Or the more biased. Wink

Dan
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Conway
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 23, 2002 9:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Distance_Guru wrote:
Why not go to a book store, buy some books, and then study. Take advantage of other peoples trials and errors, scientific research and use that to improve your learning curve.



I htink that the use of others material in coaching is valid ... And is often even a good thign to do ... I have found that that is something that teh BEST coaches often do - reference what has been done by others .. However .. I have often found that the BEST coaches taek what they have read and apply it to their own situation and athletes ... Modify where necessary ... And look to improve upon what was done previously ... If it were not for that then we would still be relying upon the work of Bannister and milers would still look upon dipping under 4:00 as the epitome of running a mile ... That is how we have ended up with guys like Bowerman and Dellinger ... Winters, FRancis and Smith ... And even Wetmore ... Progress comes from building upon and improivng what was thought to be the best previously ...

Distance_Guru wrote:
And if you plann on coaching sprinters I won't mind simply because sprinting is more about perfecting technique and working on pure speed. Things that generally are done by refrencing video's and the like. And besides sprinter are born not made Wink (I'm kidding of coarse)



While I know your wink was aimed at the "sprinters are born and not made" comment, the rest of the statement gives some alarm ... Perfecting technique is where one begins to shave off the tenths and then thousanths of a second that can mean victory or defeat for a sprinter ... Prior to that however is the same kind of work that it takes to become a quality distance runner - conditioning, stregnth work, aerobic AND anaerobic work, speed endurance ... If anything a sprint coach has more factors to work with/on with his athletes than a distance coach does ... And whereas the distance coach can scrimp on the "little things" and still get by, a sprint coach scrimps on the little things and his athletes get their drawers blown off !!!!

Man you miss alot even when you miss less than a day around here !!! Thumbs Up

Conway
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 23, 2002 2:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dan my point about the setting up for failure stuff is that seems to come up as an irratant every time there is a diagreement around here, particularly when that disagreement is on racing stradgey or training methods. And as for being stuborn I'm guilty as charged. The reason for my stuborness on this particular issue is that I'm always angred when someone advises others to ignore a potentially beneficail resource.

Dan wrote:
I would argue that anything which cannot be observed also cannot be validly studied in a lab setting (with regards to running), and therefore is of little practical use.


I could not possibly disagree with you more. Lacate threshold was discovered in the lab. Something that has a ton of practicle uses in training distance athletes.

As for the problem with my fictional 800 runner, as I stated it would be impossible to tell without reviewing his training and racing methods in order which systems or system was breaking down and why.

Conway, I agree with everything you said in your last post Thumbs Up . I don't think that books are the only resource a coach should take advantage of, video's, clinics, lectures, articles you name it. In my opinion it's a coaches duty to his athletes to improve his base of knowledge in order to better prepare his athletes both through the study of others research and his own observations.
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Dan
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 23, 2002 10:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
my point about the setting up for failure stuff is that seems to come up as an irratant every time there is a diagreement around here

It's not meant as an irritant. I can honestly say I never try to irritate people. What I do try to do is provoke thought.

Quote:
I'm always angred when someone advises others to ignore a potentially beneficail resource.

What if someone felt strongly that Runner's World is a beneficial resource? Would your position differ in that case? Wink My point there relates to something you said previously:

Quote:
I am fortunate enough to have my degree in this area so I already started with a descent understanding and pretty well can tell the good from the not so good when it comes to quaility research.

In other words, your studies have pre-programmed you to gravitate toward that which agrees with your way of thinking and dislike that which doesn't. This discussion illustrates pretty well how little we all care to read or be told stuff that differs from what we believe, so how much is really being gained by just reading? Are we not mostly just reading words which we feel in advance that we'll agree with?

Quote:
I could not possibly disagree with you more. Lacate threshold was discovered in the lab. Something that has a ton of practicle uses in training distance athletes.

And which can also be qualitatively observed outside the lab, in my opinion, equally well if not better.

Dan
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 24, 2002 5:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wouldn't discourage people from reading runners world (I even occasionally get a copy of the shoe review issues). I would discourage them from taking it as a be all end all of information on the sport. Which is the entire point of this debate. I am saying that intentionally ignoring any potential resource is foolish. To ignore a source of information that comes as highly recommended by as many of the top coaches, as physiology is really foolish.

As for your statement about lactate threshold I think that you can see it's effects without lab study. But without research by exercise scientists in labs we would have no real idea how or why the lactate threshold is significant and our notions on how best to train it would be based purely on anecdotal evidence.
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Dan
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 06, 2002 8:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm sure DG will just love to see this topic rehashed... Smile

I was watching a hidden featurette on the Usual Suspects SE DVD (some of the best special features I've seen on any movie) this evening, and it had some interesting comments from the film's composer. He talked about Usual Suspects being his first "real" movie and not having much confidence in his composing abilities at that time. He listened to a lot of other scores and music and was heavily influenced by certain things here and there (which apparently is a controversial topic with a lot of temporary film scores that end up not being temporary because the execs screen that version for the test audiences, but I digress). On later films, to paraphrase, "I had developed enough confidence and belief in my own capabilities that I just created scores without listening to other stuff. I hate to say it, but I don't listen to CDs anymore and don't really know what all's out there; strange how it happens when your hobby blends into your business -- but I was able to create stuff that was original." Hmm, that's paraphrased a bit more than I would like. I might have to go back and watch it again, trying to dictate...

The point is, that illustrates professionally one of my underlying concerns with this belief in the US distance community that if you aren't currently reading (and presumably learning, but most people typically only read that which they believe ahead of time they'll agree with) you're falling behind. I see it as just the opposite. If you are constantly studying the work of others, you're never fully developing your own capabilities.

Dan
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 07, 2002 8:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One question, how many CD's did you listen too before you started making CD's without referencing someone elses? Generally no one would make a CD without having heard one. And generally when you talk to the people that are currently making the best CD's they've listened to a ton of other peoples.

I don't read as many books on running as I did say three or four years ago and I read them now primarily as a refresher. Because I know what's in most of them. I know what they have that I like and what I don't. But more over I make it a point to re-read not just the parts I liked but the parts that I didn't like, to ask myself why I didn't like it or why it wouldn't work (either at all or in my system). I'm not taking what Coe or Ray or Vigil or Bowerman or Lydiard or Martin or Newton wrote and use that strait from the book but I take what they said, weigh it against what I know and see if they are compatable and how it would work in my system.

I will also say that you should only use a program out of a book as a last resort. My very first coaching job I was still in college and I volunteered to be the distance coach at a local high school. I guess you could say at the time I knew all the parts that go into training a distance runner, I just didn't know how to put them together. Anyway long story short The Daniel's Running Formula had just come out to rave reveiws and it contained pretty much a step by step periodized training program. Since I had just jumped into coaching with no plan I decided to just do what the book said and use that for training my runners. I found out that the program in the book and the way I thought worked best didn't match. Since then I've read a lot of books and learned a lot of things and I feel that I have my own system that is influenced by many coaches, authors, speekers, and teachers. And it works for me and for the athletes I train. I still stay in touch with those sources because, there is a lot of info out there on running and how best to prepare athletes to run fast. And quite honestly I can't remeber every good thing that I read or hear. And reading is a good way of preventing me from forgeting something I know. Also I am always trying knew things, not a total change, just a little tweek hear, a little more of this, a little less of that. A wise person once said some coaches coach for ten years and some coaches coach the same year ten times. (I'm not accusing anyone hear of doing that by the way). If I don't read, especially as I'm formulating my plan, then I tend to get into a rut and just do the basics of my system with out touching on the nuances that make the system balanced and varied.
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Dan
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 07, 2002 9:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
One question, how many CD's did you listen too before you started making CD's without referencing someone elses?

I'm not quite sure I follow... Are you referring to the composer anecdote above or to me directly? Other than recording full CDs or mixes, I've never made a CD... :question:

Let me reiterate for the sake of clarity, I'm not trying to imply that you don't have a sound system that you are fully confident in. I think you described quite well by what you do not do the type of coach it is I'm referring to. Smile

I guess the best way I could sum it up is this: We've illustrated, in this discussion and others, several very distinct ways in which coaches learn the tricks of the trade. It is incredibly common amongst coaches, especially in the distance ranks (in my experience), for people to be ridiculed for not studying the work of others at every possible opportunity, but there is little awareness given to the fact that that approach may not be the best for everyone. (Sort of like my age old objection to the "move up" argument. Why no "move down" clamoring half the time, when it's just as likely to lead to success...) So, if everyone can keep an open mind about it -- which really is the purpose of reading and studying, anyway -- maybe there can be a better sharing of information instead of snobbish expectations.

Dan
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Distance_Guru
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 07, 2002 9:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think we're on the same page, or at least reading from the same book (pardon the pun).

Let me see if I can't lay out what I think are the key points that we're both trying to make and see if that gets us anywhere

I think it's important to read (or study in another way) fairly regularyly in order to improve your knowledge base which in turn leads to better coaching.

You are opposed to using someone elses system instead of developing your own (something I agree with). Which is why you aren't a big fan of reading training manuals (? at least I think that is more or less your point)

I also sense a little bit of backlash against the many and loud voices demanding that you read every book ever written on training. Which I can't say I blame you for even though I am one of those voices.
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Dan
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 07, 2002 9:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yep, we're pretty much in agreement. Smile Just two different roads to travel to get to [hopefully] the same destination...

Dan
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 07, 2002 9:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dan wrote:
Yep, we're pretty much in agreement. Smile Just two different roads to travel to get to [hopefully] the same destination...

Dan


Idea That's unusual, I think we actually taked ourselves to an at least partial agreement. I think that's the first time that's happened.
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Dan
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 07, 2002 9:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Someone bookmark this thread!!! Surprised

Dan
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 18, 2002 12:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dan- What I don't understand is how does a person learn about the systems and parts of the human body by just coaching? If you do not read how can you learn about phisiology and injuries?

Sure you can talk to people but who are you talking to? Do you have the luxury of a Sports DR. on your staff? because @ my HS we don't.

I create my own distance programs. They have been influenced by the books I have read. But what I have taken (mostly) are the different ideas about periodization. And I never really had a good idea about Periodization untill I read Bompa.

I have to deal with injuries everyday. Most of the injuries I have to deal with I have never suffered through. I use an injury reference book (almost every week). I'm sure even some doctors use reference books to help diagnose injuries. How does someone (who is not trained) diagnose injuries without reading??

I have learned alot from talking to others and observation. I have also learned a lot from books. I believe that they are all important and that by coaching without using one of those systems of learning puts a coach at a disatvantage. I would love to coach vs. the coach that will say "I have never and will never read to help my coaching."
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