Posts tagged Lydiard Method
The Role of Intervals in Marathon Training Continued

This week’s training tip is quite simple. A couple thoughtful quotes from Master Coach Arthur Lydiard.


As many runners on the Lydiard Method are now in the Anaerobic phase its important to keep this in perspective. Guts do play a role in these interval sessions. They are “uncomfortable”, by intent. You need to push yourself, get your body accustomed to being distressed a bit, not too much, but a bit. When you are doing the longer interval segments, which many of you are doing now, 1.25 – 2.0 miles, you need to persist, keep your pace consistent and be sure you are recovering between each. A good rule of thumb is when your heart rate drops back to 120-130 bpm. You will need to push to the level of “uncomfortable” but no further. The point isn’t to puke.

Arthur also had another thoughtful quote:

“I have a saying, ‘train, don’t strain’. The Americans have a saying ‘no pain, no gain’ and that’s why they don’t have any distance running champions. They get down to the track with a stopwatch and flog their guts out thinking that will make them a champion, but they will never make a champion that way”.

Remember that you are training, and in a specific training phase of the Lydiard Method preparing you for your target race in April or May. Every workout you do is built upon the prior and each phase builds on its one before. Keep the faith, your training will serve you well on race day.

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)
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The Role of Intervals in Marathon Training and Yasso 800’s

Every sound training plan has building blocks whereby each activity in succession should build on the one before with specific purpose. Anaerobic development, achieved through higher intensity, shorter duration interval sessions is an important part of your preparation for a half or full marathon, at the right time.

Phase 3 of the Lydiard pyramid, the Anaerobic Development phase, comes after a strong aerobic base has been built and preparation completed via the strength building hill training phase. Keep in mind that the half and full marathon distances are 98% aerobically based. Meaning if one hasn’t built a strong aerobic engine the benefits of which are ability to deliver oxygen to muscles, increased heart stroke volume, lowered resting pulse and higher working heart rate maintenance, through several weeks of slower, longer running, then you need to spend more time achieving this rather than moving into anaerobic development.

In the context of endurance training intervals are not “speed” training but are used for anaerobic development. They are bouts of work with a recovery generally equal to or shorter than the work bout. Lydiard said “there is a time for repetitions to develop anaerobically and depending on target race distance, sprint drills to develop fine speed. You have to organize repetitions and sprint drills at the right time so you can peak on your target day”.

For most marathoners/half marathoners doing intervals at above anaerobic threshold with enough recovery to repeat allowing the body to get used to high levels of acidosis is recommended. They should be prolonged harder work, not shorter durations. Distances of ¾ mile, mile, 1.5 miles and 2 miles are desirable. Under Lydiard these durations are done at ¼, ½ or ¾ effort, depending upon if the runner is early in the anaerobic phase or later in the phase. As an example, we have an athlete with capability of running a 3-hour marathon, about 7-minute pace per mile. During the interval phase these distances would be 7000 meters combined made up of several ¾ mile to mile intervals working from 6:15 pace down to 5:30 pace for each, with just enough rest to lower heart rate and get prepared for the next bout of work. Lydiard described these sessions as “tiring, exacting work”, but it gets the body used to being uncomfortable at faster sustained paces.

The picture below is a good example from my old training log as I was in the anaerobic phase preparing for a full marathon:

Bob Dyer Example Lydiard Training Log.JPG

In this example after a good warmup, I did 4x 1-mile intervals at about ½ to ¾ effort as I was later on in this phase, also rested a bit between with slower pace. Needless to say the next day was a recovery aerobic run.

Its key to remember that for longer distances, interval sessions should be done at distances longer than ¾ mile and stretch to up to 2 miles at ¼, ½ or ¾ effort depending on where one is during the training program. A final thought about the commonly implemented “Yasso 800”. First the idea that doing 10 repeat 800 meter runs at specific paces is reflective of your marathon target ie 3:00 minute 800 = 3:00 hour marathon, with equal rest, is not predictive of future race times, it is not scientifically validated.

Secondly it is found in the exercise physiology literature that for runners training for longer distances like the marathon that interval work is important but has to be done in proper sequence and distances building on a strong aerobic base and hill strength training. Doing them any earlier in the cycle can cause injuries and illness. If you feel you must do track or other high intensity workouts save them for a phase of training where you are ready for it, not early on. If you want to achieve your long race goals in the half or full marathon you need to work on your endurance, after all these long distances are 98%+ aerobic!

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)
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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!