Posts in Running
Easy Days and Overtraining

"There is a very basic rule of training: Stress + Rest = Adaptation." -Keith Livingstone (from Healthy Intelligent Training)

This is the guiding principle of the Lydiard Training Method. Stress without rest usually leads to illness, injury and poor performance. As you are setting up your training schedule the first thing you need to plan are your easy days. This can be a jog, an aerobic run or simply a day off. This day allows your body to adapt to the previous hard work out or stress.

Its easy to get caught up in hard training. You feel like you are accomplishing something. But beware you aren’t unless you are allowing your body to rest and recover. Have you ever had that experience where you look at your watch after a period of running and think “Holy smokes, you know how fast we have been running?”.

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This happened to me. I was running with a friend in Ann Arbor, we decided to do 10 miles along the Huron River. It’s an awesome run and pretty flat. We ended up running 52:47, 5:16 pace. At the end of a 91-mile week with 3 other high stress workouts. Needless to say, the following week I struggled and was tired which cost me a couple of other hard runs I was supposed to do. I was lucky I didn’t get hurt. I learned from that and adjusted to ensure I built in proper recovery in order to adapt to the training stress and gain fitness.

When planning your easy day be sure its much shorter in duration and intensity. A long run even at a slower pace is not an easy day. A short slow run of 20-40 minutes will work or simply a day off.

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)
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It's just a matter of understanding what's necessary and discipline yourself to do it.

“It's just a matter of understanding what's necessary and discipline yourself to do it.” 
― Arthur Lydiard

In thinking about the training I’ve done over the years the two things that kept getting me out the door in the morning was knowing I was training to achieve a goal and pushing myself to be disciplined along the way to put myself in a position to achieve it.

Training is hard and sometimes boring. Particularly if you’re in the base building phase. And there are a lot of opportunities which come up to encourage one to put off or skip the workout. In the end you are accountable for your training to no one but yourself.

A good training plan is simply that, a plan, unless a person is dedicated to adhering to it. Sometimes the hardest runs are not the fast ones, but the ones that require overcoming being tired, having too much going on, not getting enough sleep, burning the candle at both ends. But achievement of your goal is depending upon your ability to be disciplined in your training.

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Brendan Foster was one of the UK’s most successful distance runners. He won the Olympic 10,000m bronze medal in the 1976 and has PR’s of 3:37 for 1500m, 13:14 for 5,000m and 27:30 for 10,000m. Quite an accomplished distance runner. In his auto biography, “Brendan Foster” he says “I can’t be satisfied resting on old laurels, because whatever has gone in the past can’t help when you step up to the line for the next race. I may have medals at home, but it all starts again fresh on Saturday. You have to go out and do it again”.
What pushed him was the desire to reach out for new horizons. In order to do that he had to be disciplined in his training.

Be it a 4,5,6 or 7 day a week training plan you will encounter days you just don’t feel like hitting the road. As you encounter these times, think about what it is you wish to achieve at the end of your plan, i.e. your goal race, and ask yourself will missing today’s run hurt me or help me achieve my goal? Some days the answer will be it will “help”, but more often it will “hurt” my ability to reach my goal if I choose to miss.

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)
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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

Warm Up and Cool Down

Two very important aspects of any good training plan are time and attention placed on proper warmup and cooldown. Coach Lydiard always ensured any runners he was working with started and ended their sessions with warmup and cooldown.

A solid warmup should be considered the first part of your run. It warms up your muscles and gets your ready for your main run. Usually this takes about 10-15 minutes and you should jog then gradually increase your pace naturally as your body gets ready. There also is a more formal warmup done prior to an interval session for example that involves 10-15 minutes of jogging, 3-6 100m stride outs then a few minutes jog.

The warmup should never be eliminated, rushed or cut short as it gently allows all your systems to kick in prior to moving into the workout and reduces the chance of injury.

A good cooldown should always be done after a faster workout. And if that workout is anaerobic in nature it should be at least 15 minutes and as long as 30 minutes jogging. It aids in recovery and stimulates blood flow to metabolize acidity and tissue damage incurred during the workout. Never skip the cooldown as this will increase the chances of illness and injury. One way to think of this is the cooldown begins the process of getting your body ready for your next workout.

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As you can see here in this picture from Pre’s log, even he always included a good warmup and cooldown in his workouts.

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

Lydiard Phase 5: Taper

An optimum period of time to train for a full or half marathon is 18 – 24 weeks. Sunday June 9 would be the last start day for Chicago Marathon training (October 13) for an 18-week program.

The Lydiard Method is comprised of 5 phases, in sequence, each of which builds specific systems you will need to perform at your peak during your goal race.

The fifth phase is called Taper and typically is 1-3 weeks in length. The prior 4 phases have allowed you to develop aerobic and anaerobic capacities, your recovery systems, muscular and cardiac strength and provided either increased endurance or speed as needed. The work has been done so the Taper phase allows you to fully recover, replenish your vital physical and mental stores and be 100% ready on race day.

Your workload is decreased and is just enough to allow you to maintain your fitness level. Aerobic runs are now Long Jog’s and Jog’s which are slower and shorter. There is one short, quick, up tempo run 3 days prior to your goal race. If you are on a 6-7-day plan there will be one session of 50/50’s.

You will completely stock up your glycogen stores and you will put on a couple pounds during the week preceding the race. You will lighten up as you get a few miles into your race so don’t worry.

Do not be tempted to try out your fitness in an unscheduled race. This is called “picking the flower by the roots”. You will be feeling great, energized and ready but save it for the goal race! Remember all the training you have done to prepare you for your day and the target race. That’s all that matters now.

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

Lydiard Method Phase 4
Lydiard Method Phase 4

An optimum period of time to train for a full or half marathon is 18 – 24 weeks. May is the time to begin your work and start your training plan for your fall goal race.

The Lydiard Method is comprised of 5 phases, in sequence, each of which builds specific systems you will need to perform at your peak during your goal race.

The fourth phase is called Integration and typically is 4 weeks in length. The prior 3 phases have allowed you to develop aerobic and anaerobic capacities, your recovery systems and muscular and cardiac strength. Integration now prepares you to run your target race distance, begin recovery and is your bridge to peak fitness.

The key changes which occur during integration are bringing the systems that have been developed together to allow you to run at your aerobic threshold and stead state comfortably. It also teaches you to handle that fine line between aerobic and anaerobic threshold and access when you are in anaerobic. And, critically important, teaches pacing skills and race day practice.

This is accomplished through simulating race conditions via time trials, controlled out & back runs and races. During this phase you will also add in short fast sprinting workouts called 100/100’s or 50/50’s which prepares you to handle a fast pace towards the end of your race.

Keep in mind during Phase 4 long aerobic runs are switched to long jogs while aerobic runs are still a key element of the phase as is easy fartlek and cut downs. This is also the time to learn what you still need. Is it more endurance or more speed? Integration is where these skills are either dialed up or dialed down depending on where your gap is. Also, your mileage continues to decrease while the intensity increases allowing the beginning of total recovery leading into tapering phase.

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
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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