Running to a Lydiard Groove

"Whenever athletes found themselves struggling to find form, Lydiard lore prescribed going back to the bottom of the training pyramid - easy running - until they came right."
Lorraine Moller, four-time Olympic marathoner for New Zealand and bronze medalist at the 1992 Games in Barcelona

"Train, don't strain."
Arthur Lydiard, New Zealand running coach to many Olympic medalists and author of numerous books on running including, Running to the Top

With a bit of time on my hands, I'm reading up on the ideas and principles of influential running coaches. One of my first stops was to re-read the book, Running to the Top, by Arthur Lydiard. And while I was already heading in this direction with my current running program; Lydiard's book really seems to fit with the current situation and, yes, got me into a running groove. The time seems right to go back to the bottom of the training pyramid and focus on easy running for aerobic development. Also, like Lydiard promoted, I decided to place more emphasis on running by feel (check out the post, Further Ideas for Running by Feel) than focusing on technology and monitoring the run with my smartwatch (which I've posted about in, Monitoring Running with Heart Rate). To this end, I've incorporated a couple of different Lydiard-inspired runs into my program to run more by feel:

1) Silent Long Runs - For one of my weekly long runs, I'm turning off my music and not monitoring this run with my smartwatch. What I'm trying to do is to let the long run take me rather than forcing a certain goal time or outcome.

2) Negative Split Runs - At the halfway point for one of my weekly runs, I check my time; then, without checking again, I try to beat this time by a minute or two on the second half and use the Lydiard saying, "Train, don't strain" to guide the run. I'm hoping to find and develop the upper range of comfortable running with this session.

With these runs, my smartwatch hasn't disappeared! I just turn it on at the start of my run and check it very infrequently these days - not using it to guide my running.

Thanks for reading.


Experiment of One Coaching covers topics ranging from running, strength training, health & wellness, sports nutrition to travel. I usually post once or twice a month.


Unknown said…
Jordan are you willing to share the program that you currently following?
Program I use has evolved somewhat since physical distancing measures put in place: In POST 74 I mentioned following "60/60/60" guidelines. I'm still following these guidelines with a couple of exceptions - 2 longer runs of 90 and 120 minutes and 1 negative split run which I describe in this post. This arrangement seems to be working FOR ME and I'm not looking to make any changes for the foreseeable future.

HOWEVER, just to keep things on the safe side, every third week, I have a STEP-DOWN or RECOVERY week, which I mention in POST 76.

As part of my 2020 running goals described in POST 68, I describe doing a SPEED DEVELOPMENT workout. This has evolved into doing a round of HILL SPRINTS in the afternoon for two days per week. And, in reading Lydiard's book, he mentions the benefits of HILL SKIPPING and HILL BOUNDING, which I'm currently playing with. Look for me mentioning hill work in a post at a later time!