Thursday, January 24, 2008

Brain Training

Bought that book that RunnerMatt (Dump Runners Club) recommended: Brain Training for Runners. The foreword was from Tim Noakes (Lore of Running) so I just couldn't resist.

I'm not quite done yet. Basically, this is about training within the context of the Central Governor Model instead of the more common Cadiovascular/Anaerobic Model. I first heard about the Central Governor Model in Tim Noakes book and my understanding is that basically it postulates that fatigue is a feeling induced by the brain to prevent organ damage or failure as opposed to a lack of fuel.

The book is interesting. The training program is based on Jack Daniels' training program, which I'm currently following. The VDOT table is basically the same but the various paces have been modified a bit to fit the "Director" model. Although the programs are similar, there are differences that, as a novice runner, I'm not comfortable with.

The first difference is that the Threshold pace running is pretty much replaced with Race pace running. I'm a bit uncomfortable because Daniels is so specific about not running at race pace during training. If it was benificial, you'd think he would have noticed.

The second difference is that the VDOT adjustments (called "TPL" in Brain Training") are kind of done by feel. Again, that's something Daniels is against. VDOTs should be upped as the result of a race time or after 6 weeks of structured training.

One of the reason I picked Daniels' program was the self-limiting aspect of it. There's a "sling-shot" effect where training improves race time, which improves the VDOT, which increases training, which improves race time, ...
The logic of this system appeals to the computer geek in me. It also prevents me from increasing training too fast or too slow.

The Brain Training program, on the other hand, leaves more freedom to the runner, which might be all good, but in my case I don't think I have the experience to use it. In a couple of years, I think I will find the program much more attractive.

This won't prevent me from using some of the techniques in the book. I believe he make a good point about improving one's stride technique and I will definitely do that, as well as some of the other exercises and use proprioceptive cues (don't ask, just buy the book).

Definitely worth the price. The section on Flow (aka "the Zone") alone makes it worth it.

My two cents.

1 comment:

Robert Link said...

Just bought the book today, looks great. Have also added your site to a pmog mission. (Sorry of that's greek, but it's like creating a link from a shared site. It's a good thing.)