Posts in Running
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)
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Lydiard Method Phase 3: Anaerobic Development

Given it's time already to decide on your Fall goal race and training approach, the next few TTT’s will be focused on summarizing the key elements of each phase within the Lydiard Method. An optimum period of time to train for a full or half marathon is 18 – 24 weeks. May will be the time to begin your work.

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 third phase is called Anaerobic Development and typically is 4-6 weeks in length. This phase prepares your body to endure the uncomfortable state of oxygen deficit. Why is this important? Because as you get into race situations you will encounter demands of high intensity which cannot be met by your aerobic capacity.

The key changes which occur during this phase are that anaerobic training teaches your body to create buffer enzymes for anaerobic metabolism or lactic acid. You also will become much better and judging your pacing and you will build efficiency at faster paces.

Lydiard Method Phase 3

This is accomplished through one or two interval sessions per week, depending on the number of days you run a week. If you run 4-5 days you will get one session each week, if 6-7 days then you will get two sessions. Typically, an interval session is 5k to 7k in total excluding warmup and cooldown. They can be done in repeats of 200m up to 2 miles. If you are training for the half or full marathon your intervals are usually at least 1000m each. In between you jog until your heartrate reduces to around 130. This ranges between 1-3 minutes depending on the individual. An example would be 4x1mile at ¼ effort. In each personalized Lydiard plan you will be provided your pace which equals ¼, ½ or ¾ effort based off of your calculated plan race pace. Intervals generally are done at ¼ to ½ effort. Another example would be 7x1000m. We tend to work these individually as everyone reacts differently to this anaerobic stress and we based it off of the prior week’s effort, how it was handled, jog time between to get heartrate down etc.

Recovery time is critical for anaerobic workouts as you need to allow yourself at least 48 hours between session. A 6-7 day a week runner would do theirs on a Tuesday and Thursday but we do move them around and adjust them according to how the runner is recovering.  

Keep in mind during Phase 3 there are still long aerobic runs, easy fartlek and a faster progress calibration run (more on this one later).

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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Lydiard Method Phase 2: Hill Training

Given its time already to decide on your Fall goal race and training approach, the next few TTT’s will be focused on summarizing the key elements of each phase within the Lydiard Method. An optimum period of time to train for a full or half marathon is 18 – 24 weeks. The month of May will be the time to begin your work.

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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 second phase is called Hill Training and typically is 4 weeks in length. This phase introduces power and flexibility in the leg’s muscles. Why is this important? Because this will prepare you for anaerobic training in phase 3 which is faster and more demanding.

The key changes which occur during this phase are leg speed, resistance to pounding and creates much needed power and flex in your legs.

This is accomplished through one or two hill workouts per week depending on the # of days you are running. Running up the hill is down slowly as its meant to be plyometric in nature. The slower you go up the more resistance will be felt and better results created. You find a hill 200m – 400m in length, run up it slowly with good knee lift. Jog at the top then stride downhill at a fast-relaxed pace. At the bottom do 3x75m-100m strides. The workouts build from 1-2 circuit repeats to 3-4 over the phase. This is not an anaerobic workout!

Keep in mind during Phase 2 there are still long aerobic runs, easy fartlek and a faster out/back or progress calibration run.

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 1: Aerobic Base Building

Given its time already to decide on your Fall goal race and training approach, the next few TTT’s will be focused on summarizing the key elements of each phase within the Lydiard Method. An optimum period of time to train for a full or half marathon is 18 – 24 weeks. May will be the time to begin your work.   

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 first phase is called Aerobic Base Building and typically is 8-10 weeks in length. This phase will build your aerobic engine. Why is this important? Because your aerobic capacity drives endurance and services and enhances the recovery process. Distance running, particularly at the half and full marathon lengths are over 98% aerobic in nature. Basically, if you don’t develop a strong aerobic engine you will not be able to run these distances.

Several key physiological changes occur during this phase such as developing your cardiovascular system and your capillary beds which is where ATP is made which powers muscle movement. It increases the numbers and size of Mitochondria which is where ATP actually is created. And it develops your ability to efficiently burn fat, the best source of energy for endurance running.

The creation of ATP happens in the Mitochondria and happens in the presence of Oxygen (cardiovascular system), Fat (your ability to efficiently burn is critical) and Sugar. This is the little engine at the cellular/muscle fiber level which drives your ability to run efficiently.

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How is this all accomplished? During this base building phase, you will run several long aerobic runs per week at a comfortable pace during which you must be able to pass the “talk” test.  Depending on your starting fitness level you gradually build this capability over long runs that last 1 hour up to 2 hours and 30 minutes.  While there are several other workouts included during the week, the key focus are these longer aerobic runs. This phase can last 8-10 depending on your overall plan and time until your goal race.

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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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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Proper Recovery

So, you just finished your half or full marathon. This next phase is critical to complete before you start another training cycle for fall. First rule of thumb is you need 1-day recovery for each mile run in the race. Obviously 13 for a half and 26 for a full.

The reason why is quite simple; you have damaged the muscle fibers in your legs. You may not feel it but its there at the cell level, its deep tissue damage. These fibers have to repair themselves and this takes time and care.

Recovery doesn’t mean no running. It means take a few days off, eat well, re-hydrate and rest. But you can run. This is the time to really listen to your body and do feeling based jogging or running. Take it slow and easy, your body tells you what you can do. In looking back at my training logs, I noticed the day after the marathon I did no running, took a walk only. Then for the next 5 days simply jogged how I felt each day. It was not only a physical rest and repair but a mental one as well. This continued for 3 weeks while I recharged, by week 4 I was feeling good again and mentally ready to start another cycle. While I was disciplined in terms of running most days, I also felt confident taking a day completely off if I didn’t feel recovery progress was being made. And do not underestimate the importance of mental recovery, taking a break from training is actually training.

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There are several recovery indicators to watch as well: 
Morning Heart Rate: It will be elevated most likely for a few days, monitor it and note when it returns to normal resting rate.
Weight: Watch for weight loss of 1 pound or more. If you are losing weight while recovering it says your recovery will take longer.
Sleep: Keep track of your hours of sleep. During early phases of recovery, it can be less than normal. When it returns to normal you are recovering.

We also find that Oofos sandals are helpful. The foam they are made of absorbs daily impact well and they have a good supportive arch area. The sandals literally cradle’s your foot and aids in recovery for those tired and sore muscles. We have a good selection at Running Niche.

Please join our Lydiard Method informational session on Thursday April 25 to learn about our next training cycle for fall races.

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

To Gel or Not to Gel?
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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
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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)
LinkedIn | Facebook | Instagram

Tapering

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.

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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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