Posts tagged Running
Next Goal(s) and Training Plan

 While you are in the midst of recovering from your full or half marathon its time to reflect. Were you satisfied with your performance? Did you achieve your goals? If not, why not? And most importantly where do you go from here? Another full or half? Train for shorter races but more of them?

Now is the time to assess what you have been doing and are you happy with the results. Achievement of personal goals in all aspects of life doesn’t happen without a well thought out and executed plan.

As you assess various training approaches it is important to realize that most important aspect of a good training plan is building an aerobic base. Without this base anaerobic training collapses and future results are very unpredictable.

Lydiard believed that any good training plan has to be sequenced properly and well balanced in order to ensure that your different energy systems required to run well on your target day need to be fully trained, rested and ready. (graphic credit: Healthy Intelligent Training by Keith Livingstone).

Another question you have to answer the question do I want regular short-term results or long-term peak performance on your target race day? You can’t do both. If you enjoy jumping in a lot of races then a Lydiard plan is not for you. If you wish to run your best in your target race and are prepared to effectively train towards that day and goal then Lydiard is for you.

Please join our Lydiard Method informational session on Thursday April 25 to learn about our next training cycle for fall races. It’s from 7:30 – 9:30 pm and we’ll explain how the Lydiard Method works and why.  We’ll also be joined by a few folks who recently completed their Lydiard cycle for GO! and they will share their experiences.  Click here to register: Lydiard Method Informational Session Facebook Event

Bob Dyer (Co-owner, Running Niche)
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To Gel or Not to Gel?

For a full marathon and for some runners a half marathon, a fueling strategy is necessary. Your carbohydrate/glycogen stores are limited and can handle an endurance event of 2 hours or less. But over that at some point soon thereafter in the race you will need to refuel or augment what you have remaining in your body.

A study published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Nutrition took a look at marathon runners using a science based versus random gel strategy during the Copenhagen Marathon. The study found that roughly 3 gels per hour of exercise worked well and provides about 60 grams of carbs/glycose per hour.

Here is a picture of the nutrition facts for several gel providers. Look for the total carbs each gel provides. Given the warm weather on Sunday April 7 for GO! races, look for the amount of sodium/salt contained. Obviously, you are going to have to replace more salt than normal on Sunday due to the warmth so higher sodium content is important.
Also please remember to drink water when you take your gel as that will allow faster absorption of the gel into your system.

So, the final thought here is taking 2-3 gels per hour, lean towards those with higher sodium content and take with water. Since you have enough carbs/glycogen on board naturally to get through the first hour in great shape start “gelling” about one-hour in. Oh, and be sure you try these beforehand to ensure they don’t upset your stomach. You don’t want and unscheduled port a potty stops…… Good luck Sunday!

Bob Dyer (Co-owner, Running Niche)
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Race Pace and Hydration Strategy
Marathoning by Bill Rodgers.jpg

Sunday April 7 is almost here in St. Louis. The weather, at least as of today, calls for 55-75, rain and humidity of 76%. You need to go into Sunday with a plan for your pacing and hydration.
So, take the advice from the master. In 1974 Bill Rodgers ran his 3rd Boston Marathon where he finished 14th but he really struggled from 18 onward. He was still learning how to marathon. Many don’t realize it took him a few years to figure it out and once he did, well the rest is marathon history.

It was warm day in April 1974. To quote him: “I didn’t drink any water at all until after the 10-mile mark. I learned the hard way it’s very important to take water before you start the race and in the first miles of the marathon. If you don’t take any in the first 5-6 miles you will dehydrate. I found that that taking water every few miles are essential for warm weather half or full marathons”.

So, make sure on Saturday you are taking in water mixed with electrolytes and salt such a Nuun or Ucan mix. Use common sense and don’t overdo it. On race morning take more water, but not to the point of being uncomfortable. Then during the first few miles take it in at each opportunity. Trust your thirst, if you feel it drink it. During the second half of the race it is a good idea to take in water with electrolytes so you get more salt. It sounds like common sense, but in the chaos and excitement of the first few miles its easy to forget to hydrate.

On pacing Bill said “To me the first few miles are the most critical of a marathon. Some people say the race doesn’t start until 20. The real truth is that the first few miles are the most important ones. Many make the mistake of going out too hard or not taking enough water are the ones who are not going to do their best or perhaps even finish”.

You need to have a pacing strategy that takes into consideration the weather, course and your target time based on your training. Just because it’s warm, don’t abandon your target. Just manage your pace well. It’s well known amongst experienced marathoners that if you think you can “bank” seconds or minutes in the first half, it will come back to haunt you many times over in the back half. I have a friend who has run a 2:14 marathon. He’s tried it both ways and the 10 seconds per mile under his target pace in the first few miles cost him several minutes over pace in the last few miles. I’ve learned after 5 marathons that running even or negative splits sets one up for the best outcome, if you have completed your training plan faithfully. When I ran my 2:21 my goal was 5:25 per mile. I ran the first 10 at 5:30 per mile and ran slightly negative for the second 13.1, trusted in my Lydiard training and finished strong. I didn’t use it all up in the first 13.1. So be smart, trust in the hard-long training you have completed, create your race plan and stick to it! Good luck and would enjoy hearing from you about how your race went.

If you would like to learn more about the Lydiard Method, stop by the store as we enjoy talking about training, particularly yours! We’ll be happy to take you through the concepts for each phase for your next training cycle.

Bob Dyer (Co-owner, Running Niche)
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Tapering Continued

Arthur Lydiard said “Don’t pull the plants up by the roots”. For the next 2 weeks leading to April 7 you should be tapering by reducing your workload a lot. Nothing you do over these next few days will help you gain better fitness. Don’t be tempted to test yourself, it will only break you down and impede recovery. Not tapering properly can negatively impact your performance on April 7.
The key workout during the taper phase is a “up tempo” run of 800m – 1500m, to help you test your race pace rhythm. It’s preceded by a typical race warmup for you and a long slow cool down. Any other aerobic runs or jogs are done at the slowest end of the recommend pace as the goal is full recovery. These are not “junk” miles, a term I have heard thrown around. There is no such thing. A very slow run allows your muscles to fully recover from the harder workouts in the prior weeks. It is critical to do these properly as they aid the total recovery process.
There are no workouts in taper which break the body down. It’s all about rest, recovery, eating properly, getting enough sleep and not drinking alcohol. There is a dehydrating property to alcohol which is the last thing you want to experience during taper or on race day. There’s plenty of time for the post-race celebratory beer after a job well done.

Lydiard Pyramid

Next week I’ll go over final week prep, diet thoughts and race strategy.
For our runners following the Lydiard Method, the Taper phase is the last of 5 phases shown here leading to peaking on your target race day. (©Lydiard Foundation). As the runner proceeds through the phases the volume decreases and the pace increases.
If you would like to learn more about the Lydiard Method, stop by the store as we enjoy talking about training, particularly yours! We’ll be happy to take you through the concepts for each phase.

Bob Dyer (Co-owner, Running Niche)
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Our Lydiard Method training runners are now headed into the Taper phase after this week. Its two weeks long and culminates in target races April 7. The hard work is all done by this time and these two weeks are all about allowing your body to fully replenish and provide the opportunity to arrive at the starting line healthy and fit to do your best.
I’m sure I’ll see runners trying to get their “20 milers” in two weeks out from race day or even 3 weeks out. Not Lydiard trained runners. What others don’t realize is at this stage the cake is “baked” and they don’t have enough time to even recover properly from these long runs, if they can’t finish them under 2:45. For Lydiard runners this work was done weeks ago at the appropriate time and duration. But that’s a TTT post for another time.


First an update from this past Saturday, March 16. Running Niche had 7 Lydiard method athletes compete in the St. Pats Day 5 Miler here in St. Louis. This event was used to simulate race conditions and preparation while performing a Progress Calibration Run to gauge where they are in their fitness development. All 7 ran negative splits and finished strong, the core goal of a PCR. All but one PR’d. Here’s the results: Omar Abdi 3rd overall in PR of 25:28. Carolyn Baird 4th overall in PR 31:35. Nick Pelligrini PR’d in 35:36, Maria Fassett PR’d in 45:41, Angela Mazul PR’d in 46:52 and Sergio Masul PR’d in 46:38. David Mokone finished 19th overall in 28:44 after a break in training. My congrats to all for handling this “race” in a disciplined manner. They are starting to realize their strong fitness level, benefits of their training and what they are capable of in their target race in 3 weeks. We’ll be working with them to plan their race strategies soon and will post about the key pieces of that. Pictured here are Angela and Sergio.

Back to the Lydiard phase 5, Taper. Over the last 2 weeks the workload is gradually decreased. There are no workouts which break the body down. Anything done fast is done short. Aerobic runs, although shorter, are a key component as they are in all Lydiard phases. Do be mindful of your diet during this phase as with decreased workload if you tend to overeat you will gain weight. However, in the three days prior to your target race, particularly for the marathon, eat plenty. You have to ensure your glycogen stores are maxed out. While you may feel sluggish in the first few miles of the race, you will lighten up later in the race and feel smoother. You will feel good, rested and want to do more during tapering. Resist this temptation. Doing less now is the key component of this phase! You should feel fully recharged and ready. With GO! races 3 weeks out now, Lydiard runners are allowed to run two more race situation time trials as final prep as they sharpen for their target race.
Next week I’ll post about race strategy approaches. If you would like to learn more about the Lydiard Method, stop by the store as we enjoy talking about training, particularly yours!

Bob Dyer (Co-owner, Running Niche)
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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)
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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!