Posts tagged Endurance
You Have to Learn How to Run Slow, to Run Fast & Recover

I thought I would hit one more time on the importance of running slower to run faster and its role in recovery.

Frank Shorter won the marathon gold in the 1972 Olympics. While one of the early pioneers of marathoning Frank recognized the importance long runs play in recovery. In his auto-biography “Olympic Gold-A Runner’s Life and Times” I found a clear snapshot into his training regimen.

Keep in mind this is a world class runner and trained 7 days a week. But Frank clearly was a believer in recovering well from hard workouts before attempting the next one. “Monday is a recovery day. For me that’s 7 miles in the am at 7:00 pace and 10 miles in the pm at 6:30 pace. This is a form of rest, and it must follow any intense workout. To get the full value of intensified training you have to balance it with recovery. For some runners that is a hour’s jog or a day off, for me it’s a comfortable 17 miles”.

Frank generally used Monday, Wednesday and Friday as his recovery day.

Parting thought; Frank was a 2:10 marathon runner. That’s running 26.2 miles in 4:58 a mile. Notice his recovery runs noted above, a lot of miles at 6:30-7:00 pace. Substantially slower than his racing paces. And he was a Olympic gold medalist.

Also, one final note, Frank followed the Lydiard Training method with a few modifications for his level of competition and years of base building.

Please stop in the store to learn more about the Lydiard Method. We are trained Lydiard coaches and can help you sign up. While your personalized plan costs $100, and goes to a non-profit, we provide the day to day coaching at no additional charge.

Bob Dyer (Co-owner, Running Niche)
LinkedIn | Facebook | Instagram

FS pic from book.jpg
FS munich.jpg
You Have to Learn How to Run Slow, to Run Fast

One of the bad habits many runners get into is running most of their workouts too fast. I encounter a lot of folks who talk about their running and on one hand convey how tired they are all the time and can’t seem to run faster in races than they do in training.

I ask how they are structuring their training and usually find they run most of their runs at the same pace, which turns out to be faster than their actual pace they run races in. Basically, they are in a perpetual state of tearing their body down and never allow for proper recovery.

In some ways training is very simple, if you apply a stress to your body, you also have to allow your body to recover. This is where the fitness gain comes or adaptation, during a recovery activity. If you don’t recover you head into an ever downward spiral which ends up in sickness and/or injury.

A key component of the Lydiard Training Method is the use of long aerobic runs as much slower paces than your race pace to allow for proper recovery. It is during these runs you actually gain fitness benefit, build mitochondria, improve your ability to process oxygen and gain endurance.

20190709_194404716_iOS.jpg

As an example, that running slower to run faster does work, check out this long aerobic run I did during the aerobic base building phase in June leading into one of my marathons in October. It was 18 miles one at 7:00 pace. And depending upon how I felt, sometimes I would slow down to 7:30 pace. My race pace for the marathon later that fall was 5:22 pace.

If you have a well-balanced training plan there will be other specific workouts to stress your system at faster paces. In this same week, 2 days prior I did a hard tempo run, similar to an out and back hitting around 5:25 pace. Keep your long aerobic runs nice and slow and you will reap the benefit!

Please stop in the store to learn more about the Lydiard Method. We are trained Lydiard coaches and can help you sign up. While your personalized plan costs $100, and goes to a non-profit, we provide the day to day coaching at no additional charge.

Bob Dyer (Co-owner, Running Niche)
LinkedIn | Facebook | Instagram

Hydration in the STL Heat

As I watch heartrates rise a bit to maintain certain ranges for workouts, I can tell summer is definitely here in St. Louis. So, thought I would provide a bit of info on hydration.

Obviously in the heat you sweat more which can lead to dehydration if not managed well. When that occurs then your heartrate rises and you have to work harder to maintain what you perceive as an easier pace under cooler conditions. This is one of the indicators. Others are darker urine, lightheadedness or dry mouth.

Here’s some guidelines to think about as you create your hydration strategy on those aerobic run days. Everyone’s needs are different however and very unique to the individual.

pee color.jpg

1. Drink water during the day and do the pee check. If it’s pale yellow you are in good shape. If darker, drink more water. Check the picture here for the comparison in a language runners understand. Beer.

2. Drink water during your workout. Seems like common sense, but 24-32 oz of water during your workout can work wonders.

3. If you are going over an hour in duration, which many Lydiard training runners are doing a few times a now in base building, then consider 24-32 oz of water with electrolyte replacements in it.

ttt hydration.jpg

4. After you run, make sure you are also hydrating. It can be water of course but also feel free to add in electrolytes too. It can’t hurt. Post workout I used to drink as much as I wanted until I wasn’t thirsty anymore. Again, kind of common sense.

Take a look at the picture here to check out the content of GU Tabs, Nuun Tabs and UCAN mix. Notice that they each have at least 300mg of Sodium and are all very low in calories. Sweat is very high in sodium content so you have to replace it and during long runs you should not be taking in replacement carbs or sugars, as you need to train your body to burn its fat. That’s its best source of energy during running.

Please stop in the store to learn more about the Lydiard Method. We are trained Lydiard coaches and can help you sign up. While your personalized plan costs $100, and goes to a non-profit, we provide the day-to-day coaching at no additional charge.

Bob Dyer (Co-owner, Running Niche)
LinkedIn | Facebook | Instagram

Your Aerobic Engine

From a science perspective marathon running is a 99% aerobic activity. (Source: “Training Distance Runners” by Dave Martin & Peter Coe). The half marathon is 98% and the 10k 97%.

Therefore, building your aerobic engine is critical to your healthy, successful completion of these events. Without this capacity, regardless of your pace, success is not possible. In the Lydiard Training Method this work is accomplished during phase 1, Aerobic Base Building.

At the heart of your aerobic engine are the Mitochondria which are found in your muscle cells.

Mitochrondria are critical as this is where ATP-Adenosine Tri Phosphate is created in the presence of oxygen. ATP simply put, is the energy which drives the contraction of muscles and enables you to move. It makes sense then that the more Mitochrondria you have, the better your ability to efficiently handle aerobic activities, ie marathoning. And what is the prime driver in increasing Mitochrondria? Long, slow, aerobic running. Take a look at this photo showing the before and after endurance aerobic training taken from a study by Dr. Dave Costill. All those red circles indicate mitochrondria, and as you can see there are many many more after slow aerobic running over time. The more you have, the more you can efficiently deliver oxygen to your Mitochondria and make ATP. Additional benefits of Aerobic Base Building are the recovery benefits it provides from your harder workouts where muscle cells are damaged and strengthening of your muscular-skeletal systems.

Mito Before After.jpg


Lydiard believed that you have to learn how to run slow, before you can run fast. At the heart of this concept is Aerobic Base Building where you create the platform necessary for endurance running and preparing you for the subsequent phases of the Lydiard Training Method.

Please stop in the store to learn more about the Lydiard Method. We are trained Lydiard coaches and can help you sign up. While your personalized plan costs $100, and goes to a non-profit, we provide the day to day coaching at no additional charge.

Bob Dyer (Co-owner, Running Niche)
LinkedIn | Facebook | Instagram

Running vs. Training
Aerobic Recovery Run Example.jpg

I’ll take a pause this week from reviewing the phases of Lydiard training to focus on the difference between running and training and the importance of aerobic recovery runs. Next week I’ll talk about Phase 4 of Lydiard Training; Integration.

We use the word “training” when discussing the Lydiard Method because that’s what it is. A systematic program with 5 phases and specific purposeful workouts within each phase designed to get the runner to the starting line of their goal race healthy, fit and ready to perform their best. The secret sauce to Lydiard training is how and when workouts are scheduled. Running is just that, running with no end game in mind or plan to stress and recover so your body can achieve an increase in fitness.

Coach Lydiard used to say frequently to his runners, “You have to run slower, to enable you to run faster”. In talking with many runners recently this concept is hard for folks to wrap their heads around. When we present the concept of slow aerobic runs which build the aerobic engine at the Mitochondria level and serve to allow the body to recover from harder faster runs, we often hear “I can’t run that slow”. But then we discover that runners run a lot of their workouts at their “race pace” yet in their race they can’t hold that pace for the duration of the distance. This is the difference between “running” and “training”. Both are equally important depending upon the goals and desires of the individual involved.

Here is a recent example of a runner I am working with. This individual is at a fitness level whereby they can run a mile around 4:25, yet they do their long aerobic recovery run at 7:50 per mile with a very low heart rate. Depending on how they feel I’ve also seen 8:00-8:15. This runner is mastering the art of running slower to enable them to run faster, at the right times either in specific workouts or races and recover properly allowing them to handle the next hard run properly.

As you make your decisions about your fall goal races and what you desire to achieve consider whether you are running or are you actually training. The latter is very different from the former.

The time is now, not July, to start your training for fall goal races. Please stop in the store to learn more about the Lydiard Method. We are trained Lydiard coaches and can help you sign up.  While your personalized plan costs $100, and goes to a non-profit, we provide the day to day coaching at no additional charge.

Bob Dyer (Co-owner, Running Niche)
LinkedIn | Facebook | Instagram

The Training Effect

Every sound training plan should be like building blocks. Each activity in succession should build on the one before and have specific purpose. This week I thought some explanation of what the “training effect” is would be interesting to everyone. 
Currently we at Running Niche have about 20 athletes on the Lydiard Method training getting ready for target races in April and May. They have concluded their Aerobic Base Building phase which started last November and early December and most have just finished their strength building phase by integrating hill training for several week. This phase prepares the gluts, legs etc to handle more intense efforts which comes in the next phase. Now they are moving into Phase 3, which is the Anaerobic Development phase. More on what this phase is about next week.
First its important to understand the “training effect” or the principle of training adaptation. A training effect is realized once an appropriate workload is applied and appropriate recovery allowed. When you tax your body with a hard effort if you don’t allow it to recover, the next hard workout you do will only break you down and eventually lead to sickness and injury. If you allow your body to recover properly then you start you next hard effort workout at a higher level of fitness and will be able to stress your body at a higher level. Each one builds on the prior to increase your fitness. 
This above diagram depicts this concept of continuous improvement due to the training effect. Catabolism refers to the training stress applied such as endurance work or lactic acid tolerance workload. Anabolism refers to workouts which allow recovery such as easy aerobic runs. The single most common mistake runners make is running another hard workout before they have recovered from their prior one. If you follow this principle regardless of the training phase you are in, you will get more out of your time and effort put into training. This concept becomes particularly important during the Anaerobic phase of the Lydiard Method where you begin to train your body to get used to the very uncomfortable state of oxygen deficit.
Remember, all workouts on the Lydiard Method have a specific purpose and are sequenced accordingly to maximize the “training effect”. If you would like to learn more about the science and performance-based Lydiard Method, stop by the store. We are always happy to talk about your running!

Bob Dyer (Co-owner, Running Niche)
LinkedIn | Facebook | Instagram

Don't Run Hard Until You Can Run Easy

It’s been VERY cold here in St. Louis. On these tough cold days, you just can't go very fast. So, you go very easy. Arthur Lydiard used to say; "We all know our limitations. You keep within your limitations and you will improve..." And you WILL improve.

Those of you who might be thinking: "Wow, my Aerobic run pace on this Lydiard Plan through the Running Wizard seems so slow! How can I expect to run my target race at the target race pace?"

Your pace will naturally quicken without extra effort. Trust the program and keep it to the prescribed effort/pace especially when the weather is harsh. This is the time to grow your “roots” underground.

Also remember that each workout has a purpose in the Lydiard Method. In the case of your long Aerobic runs the purpose is developing endurance and efficiency of oxygen utilization at the cellular level. You should easily be able to pass the “talk test” on these runs, its not about pace but time on your feet.

Additionally, on the Lydiard plan, the day prior to your long Aerobic run, typically a Saturday, the workout is shorter but faster, usually a “out and back” at distances of 3-10 miles depending on your target race distance. This run is done at a faster pace overall, but focusing on running comfortably at this faster pace and coming back in your second half of the workout about 10% faster. Then of course Sunday is your long Aerobic recovery run.

Remember, all workouts on the Lydiard Method have a specific purpose and are sequenced accordingly to maximize the “training effect”. More on this one next week. Stop by to talk training anytime!

Remember the Purpose of the Workout

During these cold, challenging winter days in St. Louis it’s important to stay consistent in your training plan, but take steps to reduce risk yet continue training. No matter what training method you are using there should be a clear purpose to each workout. At Running Niche we have about 20 athletes on the Lydiard Method, targeting races in April and May. All our runners have now competed the Aerobic Base Building phase after 6-10 weeks and have moved into the second phase, Hill Training. This phase, while continuing to maintain their aerobic base built in phase 1, now integrates strength building via Hill Training.

Here is where the purpose of the workout comes in. In Lydiard hill training, there are 1 or 2 sessions per week, depending upon each person’s plan. The purpose of hill training is to build muscle strength and leg power in preparation for phase 3 which is anaerobic training. In this example, everyone must adjust their hill workouts depending upon the condition of the street or sidewalk they are using for their hill circuit. The strength is built by running slowly up the hill, not fast. Its critical to back off your regular hill work pace, to account for poor conditions. With snow and slush on the ground it increases the chance of injury, so slow it down and watch the ground in front of you to avoid slipping or falling.

On your long aerobic runs during this phase, slow these down as well. Forget about the pace, just focus on the total time to be out on your feet that your plan calls for. Remember the purpose of these runs is to train your body to burn its fat and continue to increase the efficiency of your capillaries in your muscles. During these long runs your legs are getting quite the workout adjusting for the snow and slush so they are doing extra work. Its important to get the aerobic recovery work in, yet not in a way that is going to cause lower leg injury or soreness.
Don’t let the weather and poor conditions deter your training, just adjust for them and continue on your plan. Remember every workout has a purpose, understand what that is then make your adjustments for conditions.

Feel free to stop by our store in the Grove any time to talk more about the Lydiard Training Method or running and walking in general!

Thoughts on the 20-mile Run

The following insight was provided by Coach Nobby Hashizume in response to a runner's question regarding the infamous "20 mile runs". It's relevant as many of you are beginning your training cycle for a fall marathon. I trained under the Lydiard Method back in 1980-81 and recorded a series of PR's at distances from 5k to the marathon. My marathon preparation was based on a 24 week Lydiard cycle. I pulled out my old log and here's what I found. 4 weeks out from race day: 2 hour 10 min aerobic run. 6 weeks out: 2 hour 20 min aerobic run. 8 weeks out: 2 hour 20 min run. That was it. In between was of course a variety of workouts, each building on the other with specific purposes. The result was I ran a PR 2:21:07 marathon in the 1980 Detroit Free Press Marathon. (uninjured and healthy). It's extraordinarily risky and counter productive to be doing "20 mile" runs 2 and 3 weeks prior to a substantial effort such as running a marathon. The reason is found here below. It's a interesting read. If you would like to know more about the Lydiard Method, stop by the store, we'd be happy to share. bob

"The best aerobic benefits (stamina, endurance) come from continuous running of 1:30-3:00. Your body does not realize the difference between running 10-miles in 2 hours or 15-miles in 2 hours. 2 hours is 2 hours. Your body starts to pick up fat-burning metabolism somewhere around 20-30 minutes (surpassing carbohydrate metabolism) and mitochondrial development picks up somewhere around 1:30-2:00. And, beyond 3:00, your legs start to really tire and muscle fibers will be damaged double and triple-fold. Today, far too many runners are focused on "20-mile runs" established by sub-3-hour runners who can complete a 20-miler in 2 hours. Consequently, most are headed to the marathon start line with already tired legs from too many over-distance runs. We’ve all heard about “hitting the wall”. This is actually the result of too many and ill-timed over-distance runs, not improper nutrition in take during the race.

It’s important to know that the body requires a range of 3-5 weeks to fully recover from a training run of 20 miles.

The key is to do your 2-3 hour runs in the proper training phase of the Lydiard Method, which usually is in the aerobic base building phase. As you progress through the Lydiard phases, you will find while your “long runs” shorten in duration, they are preceded by “progress calibration runs” the day prior which are done at close to race pace, with the next day a longer recovery run. But think about it, within a 24-hour period the runner will be putting in significant mileage, but in the proper sequence to maximize the benefit and recovery.

Renowned exercise physiologist Jack Daniels put it this way: ultra-runners preparing for a 100km race don’t do 80km run’s during training. But, for some reason for a marathon, people unfortunately believe they have to cover at least 3/4 of the race distance without understanding the damage they are doing to themselves.

I’ll finish with one recent example, a guy in his mid-40’s with a marathon PR of 5:30. His longest run was 14 miles. After going through one Lydiard Method cycle he indicated this was the first time he had reached that far without sore legs! He had previously tried the typical 3 X 20-mile training program, improperly timed during preparation and his legs were always beaten up. He said that this was the most fun he had ever had with all the different types of training: hills, intervals, 50/50. Remember all these different workouts strengthen your legs without un-necessary pounding. His result, a 4:50 marathon, a 40-minute improvement without struggling.

With Lydiard you will actually do more long runs during your preparation than a few super-long runs, because you need to recover from them. It is the overall training program that will bring you to the starting line healthy and prepared and through the finish tape."