Thursday, 27 July 2006

Lydiard on Conditioning

Posted by speedygeoff on Thursday, July 27, 2006 with 5 comments
A taste of Lydiard's training philosophy
Interviewer: Fundamental to your training methods is to develop stamina by doing marathon-type conditioning.

Lydiard: Stamina is general cardiac efficiency. And building stamina means putting your body into a near-tireless state so that oxygen debts are not created quickly and the ability to recover rapidly is at a high level. This way, you’ll be able to accept a heavier workout in practice, you’ll recover from races quicker and be able to resume normal training sooner—also enabling you to hold on to your “peak” racing fitness for a longer period of time. Also one of the biggest advantages is that, at the end of the race, you’re not even the least bit tired so that you can capitalise fully on your basic speed. [Peter] Snell was the slowest runner in terms of basic speed over 200 meters in the final of the 800 meters at Rome [1960] and Tokyo [1964] Olympic Games. But because he was marathon trained, he could capitalise that speed and sprint full out while his opponents, whose basic speeds were faster than Snell’s, were too tired to use it. Best way to improve your cardiac efficiency is by running long distances.

Now, I found out years ago, when I was running 100 miles a week in training, if I alternated the distances, say, instead of 15 miles every day, run 10 miles one day and 20 miles the next, I got better results. It was Dr. Gerhard Uhlenbruck of West Germany who confirmed for me that, during the long runs, particularly two hours or more, you very quickly develop underdeveloped capillaries and build new capillary beds. General cardiac efficiency is developed through improvement of assimilation, transportation, and utilisation of oxygen; and development of capillary beds increases utilisation of oxygen at the working muscles. So consequently the longer runs enhance these physiological reactions. So we made sure we incorporated long runs in our training schedule during the conditioning period, usually three long runs of at least one and one-half hours to two hours or even longer as a nucleus. This is why Peter Snell, competing twice around the track as an 800-meter runner, ran 100 miles a week with a 22-mile run on Sunday.

Peter Snell

Quote of the day: Actions speak louder than coaches. (Speedo ad)

Training at Dickson on tonight. Of course. Fancy believing the forecast of rain all this week! No sign of it, of course. As usual, no explanation or apology from the BOM. I will be there at 4:30pm as usual for a long easy warm-up (7.5k) for the 5:30pm warm-up (2.4k).

Final "Maxine" cartoon. Thanks Speedy Goose!


  1. And thanks speedy coach for letting me know that I need to increase my milage to 100 miles a week............ppppuuuuhhhhhlllleeeaaaassssseeeeeeee!!!!!!

    That should help my current breathing difficulties!!!!

    Hope you didn't get kicked of the pitch tonight because the fields were closed.

    All puns aside, that information was very useful thanks.

  2. Yes Lydiard answers the question "do I really have to train long distances if I am only racing short ones?". The answer is a resounding "yes".

    Conversely if the question is "you are training over long distances, why don't you race long distances?" the answer can be a resounding "no!".

  3. If actions speak louder than coaches it means they haven't a 'goof' coach like I have!!

    I know every time I come to your blog I'll be getting a laugh from another of those wonderful cartoons. I hope those lovely ladies do not represent any of your friends, especially the ones on your banner!

  4. i really enjoy reading these training philosophies cause they make so much sense =) i'm afraid i'll never be able to run so much, but i try my best XD

    and yes, i am 12 and i read this blog! =)

  5. If you run 100 miles in training SG, you'll get to Sydney in 3 weeks. Breathing is easier at sea level.