The Good and the Bad of Hadd
Here are some of the good features of Hadd, as I see them:
- Every training session is doable. I've found that every single run is successful. The runs at lower aerobic heart-rates (70-75% of maximum HR) are very easy. The runs at upper aerobic heart-rates (80-83%) are nothing more than 'solid paced' runs, and considerably easier than tempo runs or interval sessions.
- You recover well. My recovery from each day's running is better than with other methods of training. Why is this so? I'm not quite sure, but I think it's because there's no lactic acid produced in Hadd training. I'm enjoying getting out of bed in the morning and walking around like a normal person, and not like an old man in need of a Zimmer frame.
- Improvement is measurable. I can see that I'm getting better by running at the same heart-rate over a particular course and comparing the pace of the run to that of a few weeks earlier. There's no need to race in order to test improvement. Actually, I'm not sure this is a good aspect of Hadd, as I like racing.
- The schedule is easily adaptable. If I'm having a bad hair day, I simply go out for a 'lower aerobic' run, when I might have planned an 'upper aerobic' run. Both types of runs are productive.
- Hadd training leads to eventual faster racing. John Hadd contends that the main limiting factor to performance in distance running is a low lactate threshold. Training using his methods should result in a high lactate threshold and faster racing. I'll get back to you on that one.
Now for the bad features of Hadd:
- Infrequent racing. You don't get to race during the base-building period. I love racing, so this is a major sacrifice. However, if I end up racing faster and staying ahead of grandmothers pushing prams, it could be worth it.
- It's addictive. I find myself looking forward running each day. Part of this anticipation is due to the improvement feedback of the heart-rate monitor, and part is because, although I like running 'fast', the pre-Hadd days when I used to run hard interval sessions were not anticipated with glee.
- You run a lot, and you run slow. My shoes are wearing out faster. Luckily, I have some slow training partners or I'd be really experiencing the loneliness of the long distance runner. I have to go back to the ancient PB days to find a time when I ran more. I've run 607km in the last six weeks. Although this is quite modest compared to some Hadd and Lydiard disciples, it's a lot for a slow wombat such as myself. I take a long time to run my kilometres. Hey, this is not so bad. I like running!