Monday, December 18, 2006

On the Importance of LSD

No, not the drug John Lennon used to allegedly pen some of his great Beatles tunes, but Long Slow Distance running. This is the time of year when spring athletes should be logging big hours of LSD, in preparation for a grueling track season. But let me explain why LSD is so important. (The running, not the drug!)
LSD prepares the body for the rigors of the regular season by building a foundation. Training for any sport is like a pyramid. If you want to put the fancy pointy triangular blocks way up high, you need a strong base on which to lay them on. There is no getting around this. Without development of your running muscles, development of your running capillaries, development of your cardiovascular system, development of your form; no fine-tuned speed can be done. Trying to do any of the "sexy" training (intervals, weight room work, Red Rocks) will only injure you if you don't have the proper foundation.
It's not just physical training, LSD ingrains proper form as well. (If you consciously try to have good form while you run.) If you have trained yourself to only run on your toes, you will have trouble with the last part of a long hill workout. If your arms are trained to swing inappropriately, then you will waste precious energy during a 25/400 interval workout. This physical and technical foundation is achieved now, in the cold winter days, with LSD running between 1.5 and 2 hours long. Remember, there are not short cuts around this!
LSD prepares your mind for the regular season as well. It is much easier to get up for a big group interval day, when all your friends are there, when the clock is running, and a spot on the varsity team hangs in the balance. It is even easier to go to the warm indoor weight room, with the music blaring, to go challenge yourself against your friends in weight lifting competition. However, the runner who gets him/herself out of bed early in the morning, gets 10 miles in when the wind is blowing in your face the whole time, then eats breakfast; that is the TRUE runner. That is the person who is dedicated to being a champion in May, because they are doing the mentally taxing stuff without any provocation from outsiders. They are running for themselves; they are training their mind to be able to handle the long difficult track season. One or two LSD runs does not do this, a habit of basing your training on LSD runs is the only thing that mentally prepares you for the long season. Again, there is no short-cut around this, only putting in the time gets it done.
Long Slow Distance is simply what running is and what it was meant to be. Even though the races you run last between two and twelve minutes, running is rooted in traveling long distances using your own two feet. Running is a spiritually release. The original runners were not timed, they did not compete for medals or ribbons, they ran because it allowed them get to a higher plane of existence. Now, everyone's higher plane of existence might be different, but for everyone, the following is true: There are no short cuts, and you can't catch up later in the year. LSD must be the focus of your training, right now. If it isn't, well then you will be building a pyramid this season that isn't fit for anyone, much less an Egyptian emperor.

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