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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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