Posts tagged Training
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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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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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."