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Arthur Lydiard Method Summarised – Fundamentals (Part 1)

Arthur Lydiard Method Summarised – Fundamentals (Part 1)

Almost 60 years ago, New Zealand coach Arthur Lydiard pioneered a breakthrough in the distance running world. His athletes included Peter Snell, Murray Halberg and Barry Magee, who dominated the global running stage especially at the Rome 1960 Olympic Games. Since then, his principles stood the test of time and form the basis of most elite and recreational training programs today.

The emphasis is on building a substantial mileage base and limiting the frequency and duration of anaerobic sessions, relative to other strategies at the time. Runners must listen to their body and adjust their effort levels to prevent over or undertraining at any one time (aka ‘Response Regulated Training’ and ‘Feeling Based Training’).

Phases

A fundamental of the regimen is the dividing of the training period into sequential phases. The ideal schedule spans across 28 weeks and culminates in a peak cardiovascular, muscular and mental condition for one major race. Each phase is progressively shorter than the previous, with the final weeks acting as a fine-tuner for enhanced performance.

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The Making of Joshua Cheptegei and Training Insights of the Ugandan Team (Part 2 of 2)

The Making of Joshua Cheptegei and Training Insights of the Ugandan Team (Part 2 of 2)

Like Kaptagat in Kenya, Kapchorwa is abundant with hilly terrain. The team mainly runs on dirt trails for long runs (which comprises the majority of their mileage). The surface is usually hard-packed, but can become muddy during rainy seasons, or extremely dusty during dry periods. As in Kenya, this is inevitable and the runners are reasonably flexible with their schedule (taking another route, for example). The trails enable the runners to develop lower leg and feet strength. Also, the softness facilitates running longer mileages while keeping the risk of volume-induced injury low. Track sessions occur at a local school’s grass track. For tempo runs, the athletes will head down to an altitude of 1400m.

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Running Tales from Kenya – Iten, the recipe for Success

Running Tales from Kenya – Iten, the recipe for Success

Kenyans are not perturbed if they miss a training session.  Some will simply not train if they are not feeling well or are too tired. The Western athlete seems to worry about the fitness they might lose if they miss one day of training. The Kenyan athlete is probably adding to their longevity and avoiding injury by taking a day off when their body tells them to. Running at the elite level requires discipline and that includes the discipline to give your body a rest or an easy day.  Some Western athletes find this a hard thing to do.

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The Flying Finn – Lasse Virén – Training

The Flying Finn – Lasse Virén – Training

Viren’s training was different to the ‘complex system’ of de Castella as he didn’t have a weekly re-occurring routine or schedule but instead switched his training around from week to week.  However, he did have his favorite workouts that he would complete regularly. Examples of these are below:50 x 100 meters all-out as 5000m around the track of sprinting the straights and floating the bends or 10 by 400m in 59 seconds with 200m jog recovery.  Notably this session was paired with the ritual of Viren climbed over the fence at the track in Helsinki, as a kind of mental stimulus. Climbing the fence instead of walking through the gate was symbolic of getting over the problems he had faced.”

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Eliud Kipchoge – Recovery

Eliud Kipchoge – Recovery

Jogging through the dark, alongside the main road to Eldoret, we made our way to the gates of the Global camp by 6:15am, just in time to join Eliud and the rest of the squad for their recovery run. It had rained again overnight, and the mud was even worse than during the long run the day prior, caking to the soles of shoes and leaving the unsealed roads a slippery, dangerous mess…

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Aerobic Running – The most trainable and important facet of your distance running training

Aerobic Running – The most trainable and important facet of your distance running training

The most trainable and important facet of your distance running training is development of your aerobic system. From distances as short as 5k and through to the Marathon, your aerobic system is far more important than speed.
 
So why do many distance runners simply overlook or not target this key component?
 
The simple answer is that it’s not ‘sexy’. There doesn’t need to be a lot of toys such as heart rate monitors, step counters or new power meters. It cannot be bought, or given to you. Aerobic conditioning takes time, discipline and most importantly controlling your competitive nature. Due to all of these reasons, most try to find an easier route, rather than getting down to work.  Often all it takes is a simple tweak to your training and you’ll be absolutely crushing your next race.

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Eliud Kipchoge – Long Run

Eliud Kipchoge – Long Run

We arrived at the gates of the Global camp with the full moon still high above us. It was cold, there was a light drizzle of rain, the morning light was just starting to breach the horizon, no one was around. After some minutes, a few athletes arrived and began stretching outside the camp, we chatted with them about upcoming races (Singapore, Amsterdam, Nairobi…). Within five minutes a crowd of over twenty had congregated, awaiting the arrival of Eliud and the commencement of their weekly long workout run.

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Seb Coe’s Middle Distance Training – Part 1

Seb Coe’s Middle Distance Training – Part 1

Periodisation refers to the arrangement of specific training elements into a unified plan with the aim of producing a single peak race performance at the end of the season. Prior to the 1950s, the planning and sequencing of training sessions were relatively crude; runners adopted common-sense training principles involving a basic cycle featuring hard work (with stress and fatigue), then recovery (with repair and regeneration), then an improvement in performance which leads into another cycle all over again. In the 1950s, New Zealand coach Arthur Lydiard pioneered the first major periodised training system which prescribed an intentional separation of the training season (macrocycle) into distinct phases (mesocycles) and outlining the order in which different training sessions are to be performed.

In this article series, we will specifically focus on one such non-linear approach called the Multi-Tier Training System. This was proposed by Dr David Martin (Exercise Physiologist) and Peter Coe (Coach of Seb Coe) in the 1980s as outlined in their famous classic ‘Better Training for Distance Runners’. Here, we will learn how to precisely structure various training assignments into a unified periodised training plan that (in the authors’ opinion) will best support an athlete’s development.

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What Runners Should Know About Altitude Training

What Runners Should Know About Altitude Training

Altitude training is a complex topic which has garnered substantial attention in the modern running era. Most athletes are aware of the basic mechanism by which altitude training ought to enhance performance. But the real issue lies in how exactly should we approach this without, in the authors’ words, “disrupting all the other facets of lifestyle that contribute to the well-being of a healthy athlete”.

Here are six frequently asked questions about altitude training:
 
1) Can we quantify the extent to which a certain altitude slows down a marathoner’s performance?

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What Do Elite Runner’s Eat Before A Race? (Part 2)

What Do Elite Runner’s Eat Before A Race? (Part 2)

Getting enough food in is crucial, but also involves dancing on a knife edge – too much and you could be weighed down and feeling ill. Research suggests that 1.5-1.8 grams of carbohydrate per pound of body weight is optimal for aerobic performance. For a 150-pound runner that amounts to 225-270 grams, which is around 1,000 calories. This might sound like a lot to consume before a hard effort – the key is to get it in early. Three to four hours before the race is ideal according to the American College of Sports Medicine, allowing enough time to digest, leaving you hopefully with an empty stomach and replete glycogen stores. Make sure to stay hydrated as well.

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What Do Elite Runner’s Eat Before A Race? (Part 1)

What Do Elite Runner’s Eat Before A Race? (Part 1)

The days preceding the big race you’ve been preparing for over several months can trigger anxiety and doubt in any runner. What should I wear come race day? How much should I be running during my taper? What will the weather be like? How much should I warm up? A stream of worries that don’t come into play before a standard training session but are prompted by the pressure put on yourself because of months of preparation.

Another major source of confusion for athletes is what to eat! Here we look at pre-race nutrition and later we will examine the intricacies of feeding yourself during a sustained effort. Pre-race food is something that never fails to spark debate between runners and will most certainly continue to be met with mixed opinions for years to come.

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Why Run Easy? Here Are The Benefits Of Easy Running

Why Run Easy? Here Are The Benefits Of Easy Running

alent can take you far, but as many elite runners can tell you, talent is nothing without the commitment to train hard. Most of the best middle to long distance runners in the world frequently log 160km (100 miles) per week that consists of threshold runs, intervals, fartlek, hill work and continuous short, medium and long runs. No pain, no gain, right? Not exactly.A significant percentage of most elite athletes’ training logs consist of easy running; that is running at speeds less than 1 minute per/km (or 1.5mins/mile) slower than their 10km race pace. This effort “aerobic running” is done right around 70% (give or take 5%) of the maximum heart beat count per minute and at this effort, runners should be able to have a conversation.“The most common mistake most runners make is that they think if they’re running easily then they’re not getting much benefit,” says Brian Rosetti, a running coach in New York City and founder of the Run SMART Project. That couldn’t be more off-base because easy (or sexy pace) running comes with a laundry list of benefits.

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Altitude Training – Why, When And How To Get High (Part 2)

Altitude Training – Why, When And How To Get High (Part 2)

During a short stay at altitude it will be tempting to cram in as many hard workouts as possible to reap the benefits for which you’ve travelled so far. Many athletes fall into the trap of working too hard, too soon. This can overstress the immune system, interfering with the generation of red blood cells and leaving you flat and low on energy. For the initial days at elevation cut back on mileage and stick to easy runs, it’s important to go easy as the body is already subjected to significant stress. If flying from sea level to a significant enough elevation (generally over 2500m), altitude sickness is a real risk – and, importantly, aerobic fitness isn’t a protective factor. Watch out for developments of nausea, headache, trouble sleeping or significant shortness of breath. To start with, focus on feeling, not pace. Pay heed to your perceived level of exertion. It may feel like you’re struggling to even handle a crawling pace, this is a normal part of the adaptation to altitude. If you finish an easy run feeling like you’ve just run a hard race you should be cutting back. Make sure to keep pace easy and only progress to faster workouts after around a week of adaptation.

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