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Arthur Lydiard - style base training explained - The Original Live Journal Runners Club
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Arthur Lydiard - style base training explained
It is the season of base training for many of us - myself included. I follow the Lydiard approach, which some of you may already know. I feel he was perhaps the the smartest coach with the most knowledge of running in the last 50 years. He was the man who single-handedly determined that inceased amounts of relatively slow high mileage is what makes runners faster. Before Lydiard, athletes would almost never run further than the distance they intended to race at any one time (Zatopek, who was also ahead of his time, was one of the few exceptions). Elite milers would go to the track and run 10 x 440 yards a couple times a week, at race pace, and go home.

Before Lydiard, "regular" people didn't run. Aerobic fitness didn't exist. He invented the term "jogging", which many people don't like these days, but it's what we do. He brought our sport to the masses.

Many elites follow his program. The caveat is that it is definitely not for everybody. Arthur Lydiard felt that if a runner wanted to get the most out of his or her training, they should be running about 100 miles per week. This is even for 800m and 1 mile racers. This is tough for 99% of runners to swallow, even lots of very competitive ones. Some very esteemed coaches (Jack Daniels is one) think that about 70 miles per week is enough for a runner to reach his or her full potential, although he advocates speedwork of at least some amount every week. Perhaps this works out to similar effort levels. As you will read later on, Lydiard doesn't want you to run fast at all when initially building up the miles.

I believe the true area of a runner's potential lies in between, meaning anywhere between 70 - 100 miles a week. However, there's a lot of very valid reasons to not run even close to either amount. The vast majority of runners are simply not interested in sacrifices one must take to reach these levels, which is totally understandable. I really like Scrabble, and know I could be a lot better if I memorized all the 2-and-3-letter words, all the words with 'Q' and no 'U', and so on. I also really like golf, and know I could be a lot better if I found the time to train several hours every day, but I don't. I am more than happy with the enjoyment I get out of both already, and that's the way it is. There's no shame in that. Most people are the same with running. They are prepared to give up a certain amount of time, they run for varying reasons, and they generally have a lot of fun and get a lot of satisfaction out of it.

I say the above because I despise elitism in this sport, and would never want to be accused of it. Many of my good friends are "mid" and "back" packers in races. I've worked hard in the past and present, coaching and helping many new runners of all levels, and find it very rewarding. However, at the same time, I feel a kinship with those few who want to make running a central part of their life, and sacrifice a great deal of time and comfort to become as good as they can be. This post is targeted to those people, although hopefully everyone will be able to find it an interesting read on some level or another!


Base training is the most important part of any runner's schedule. The aerobic component is BY FAR the most important part of a runner's arsenal. About 85% of a 5km race is aerobic, so the vast majority of your training time should be devoted to it, even more than 85%, because it takes longer to develop the aerobic system than the anaerobic. This doesn't mean all slow running - a lot of aerobic running is pretty fast, such as lactic threshold conditioning. For those looking to read about that, here is a post I made a while back that touches on lactic threshold training as well as other components of speedwork, including the proper paces.

However, when in the early stages of base training, Lydiard's goal is for runners to cover as many miles as possible, and get to high mileage quite quickly by initially slowing down all runs, sometimes quite drastically. Lydiard felt that this method allowed it to be easier than some people think it is to reach high mileage - even 100 miles a week, in a short amount of time. This is controversial, but there is an element of truth in this. To give you even more controversy, he also felt that as you build up the miles, you should not take days off. If your knees hurt, your muscles are sore, and you feel horrible, just run slower. This soreness is expected. It's going to happen. There is no way around it, and it's part of the program in the same way that soreness is a normal, expected part of weightlifting. His reasoning for working through it is that the soreness will go away in time, and running through it is better than delaying your aerobic ascent with time off. I have personally discovered this to be true. However, there's a definite difference between injury and soreness. General soreness can and should be run through if it is nothing more than the body getting used to packing on the miles. Believe me when I say that it goes away. Again, there is a fine line between injury and soreness. Listen to your body very carefully, and know the difference. Be honest with yourself.

The majority of injury or burnout that occurs when people set out to raise their weekly mileage levels is caused by running too fast, not too much. It's amazing (and hard to believe) how much people can safely run when they set no pace goals. This is the most important "secret" to high mileage. Your pace will (and needs to) get faster once you get used to it. But, you need to get used to it first. You can't do it in reverse. When I first reached 90-100 miles a week, I was spending most outings at about an 8-9 minute mile pace, and at the time I was a 16:30 5k runner. To give you a comparison, if you are a 20:00 5k runner, that's about 9:30 - 10:00 mile pace, and for a 25:00 5k runner, it is about 11:15 - 12 minute pace. A 30:00 5km runner would compare with 13 - 14 minute miles. It is very slow compared to your abilities. When people tell me that this seems too slow, I tell them to try running 80 - 100 miles a week at that pace. The first day or two feel awkward and silly. After the first week, it starts to make sense.

Now, the goal of Lydiard's approach was not to run this slow throughout base training. It's only a tool to get the runner to levels he or she would take forever to get to otherwise. A lot of people believe Lydiard was all about 'long slow miles", but he was definitely not! He advocated running all the easy base training miles at your "best aerobic effort" for the day. However, for the first month or so of mileage you have never been close to before, this is going to be very slow. It's the only way to initially get to that level. If you speed up or try to cut it short, you won't reach the level you could have reached, and your upcoming season won't be as good. The ONLY goal at first is to get to high mileage, at whatever speed it takes to do so. Be patient. You can get to mileage levels you did not think possible if you do it right. Now is the time to be trying this, if you want to have a great summer of running races faster than you thought you could.

How fast can you initially get there? It depends. If you can run 50 miles a week comfortably, I think it should be fairly easy to slow right down and immediately jump up to 70 miles at what was the same relative effort level you were doing the 50 miles at. The operative part of this is "slow right down". Don't worry, you will be speeding right back up in a month. After a week at 70, you should be able to move up to 80, and perhaps try to hold your training at that level for the base season.

No one should try the above program until they are able to run at least 50 miles a week and 2 hours at a time comfortably. However, if you are not quite at this level, you can try a modified version and still reap benefits. After all, there is only one way to eventually get there, and that is in stages. The general principle is the same. Try moving up to 40 miles if you are currently at 25 or 30, and so on. Just remember the part about slowing down a lot in the beginning. Lydiard's basic idea is that you can get reach the rewards of high mileage a lot quicker if you go through an initial period of rapid increase coupled with significant decrease in speed. Those rules you read about regarding a certain percentage per week of increase don't apply if you are slowing your training pace down. Again, Lydiard's system gets you there much more quickly by purposely manipulating your average training speed to avoid the pitfalls of too much effort in too short of a training period.

After about a month to six weeks of what is very high mileage for you, your body should be starting to adapt, provided you were patient and did not run too fast. At this point, it's time to speed up, although remain aerobic. This is important. If you keep running slowly, you will not gain the full benefit. The aim of the slow running was simply to get you to where you are as quickly as possible without injury. Once you start to speed up your easy runs, the effort level should feel the same.

You will know it's time when the challenge of simply running an enormous weekly mileage volume is starting to diminish. The next two to three months should be spent gradually building up the speed of your runs, without while still remaining aerobic. This should happen naturally. Aerobic threshold runs should begin to be introduced in last half of base training, and preparations should be made for cutting you mileage almost in half and bringing on speedwork about 8 weeks before race season begins.

So many runners never reach mileage levels they are capable of because they don't have the patience to go through a period where running may not be much fun. How important is the high mileage, high aerobic level base training? Here's a direct Lydiard quote: "The day you finish this phase, your performance level is already determined and fixed for that year". You will still require speed training and sharpening before you race, but the die has already been cast on how far you can go, and how fast. Make this base training season your best.


For those interested in reading more, here is an post I made a while back on increasing mileage, in which I touch on some other information.
39 miles | run a mile
Comments
shikamboo From: shikamboo Date: January 3rd, 2009 08:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
This is interesting! I'm sort of tempted to try 40 slow miles next week and see what happens (normally I do 20-25). And this is another reminder to take my long runs slowly, which is super important when I start marathon training in two weeks!
travelogger From: travelogger Date: January 3rd, 2009 09:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
If you do, remember that the first few weeks you will be really tired, require more sleep, food, and your legs will feel like wooden blocks. Just run really, really, really slow and remember it will pass. Don't start off the week and normal speed and slow down mid-week when the added mileage is becoming an issue. Start much slower right away.

It is an incredible feeling a few weeks later, if you tough it out, and you start to notice you are able to handle the volume. You will feel so proud of not giving in.

However, if injury starts to show itself in any way, back right off. That's the most important thing. The likelihood of injury is fairly low though, if you always remember to run very slow - this diminishes the pounding that is the general cause.

Edited at 2009-01-03 09:17 pm (UTC)
absurifluous From: absurifluous Date: January 3rd, 2009 09:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
you've put "slow" in a new perspective for me.
saralinds From: saralinds Date: January 3rd, 2009 10:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
Who has the time???
travelogger From: travelogger Date: January 3rd, 2009 11:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's a matter of making sacrifices (if it's that important to you) - how many hours a week do you watch tv? Could you get up a half hour earlier to run a few extra miles? This type of thing is not for everyone, and it sounds like you are happy with the amount of time you put in already, and aren't interested in putting in more. There's nothing wrong with that! :)
anarcha From: anarcha Date: January 4th, 2009 12:36 am (UTC) (Link)
Agreed -- it's all about choices, and there is no right or wrong choice here. Just what's right for the individual.
saralinds From: saralinds Date: January 4th, 2009 12:47 am (UTC) (Link)
True. I seem to outlast anyone in times of walking around anyplace (albeit a slow walking pace that I inherited from my dad) and just walk forever.

I think that I would just get tired of the treadmill at my "gym" (actually located in a raquetball court with nothing, no central fitness center).

Definitely not for me at the moment!
jessibeaucoup From: jessibeaucoup Date: January 3rd, 2009 10:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
This is very interesting! I'm only running 10 to 15 miles a week at about a ten minute mile so I guess I'd have to slow down to 13 to 14 minute miles. But, what would my increase be? To 25 ish miles? And, would that need to be seven days a week or could I stick with just every week day?

Again, this is interesting - I've always just done the slow build up of mileage at my normal pace and never thought about it much. But, I've also gotten lots of tendonitis type injuries so maybe that's why.
travelogger From: travelogger Date: January 3rd, 2009 11:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm not sure if the Lydiard approach, even in moderation, is a good idea for someone only running 10 to 15 miles a week, especially someone who is injury-prone like yourself.

You are probably best working slowly to get up to at least the 25-30 miles/week range, and maybe try a modified version then.

Then again, perhaps slowing down would be the key for you to get a decent period of injury-free running in, which is really how to increase mileage in the first place. :)
jessibeaucoup From: jessibeaucoup Date: January 3rd, 2009 11:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
Okay - well, that's good to know. It seems like I get the injuries when I try to start building my mileage so maybe just the general idea of slowing down some when I do want to extend my mileage is the thing to do so I can build up to 25-30 over the next couple of months and then next year at this time I can try for more.

Anywho - thanks for maintaining this comm and for your valuable posts and thoughtful replies. Happy New Year!
jules_perox From: jules_perox Date: January 3rd, 2009 10:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
Briliant reading and definitely food for thought.

I wonder if this increase in milage is suggested to be spread over 2 runs a day or one longer, slower run?
(Deepest apologies if I didn't read it accurately enough and the answer id there!)

At present I run around 35 - 45 miles a week and thats with 2 rest days. I do worry about my body (aging as it is!) getting hurt and not coping. But I did manage to read your quote about speed hurting more than distance, and I think that I probably do run a little quick in training sometimes...

Great article and enjoyed reading it, thanks.
travelogger From: travelogger Date: January 3rd, 2009 11:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks, I enjoyed writing it and am glad any of it is helpful. :)

Lydiard says that you should always choose one longer run a day over two short ones, as it definitely has more benefit (this is certainly true). However, I have always felt that two short runs is a much easier way to up the mileage quickly. I run twice a day, and would find it more difficult to run the amount of mileage I do with only one run a day. Choose whichever works for you, but remember to always include one fairly long run a week because they are clearly important.
jules_perox From: jules_perox Date: January 4th, 2009 03:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks for the reply, defintely food for thought!
Take care..
lament_phoenix From: lament_phoenix Date: January 3rd, 2009 11:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
This is really informative and helpful.

I like to increase my mileage really slowly. Getting ready for my half marathon, in March I was running 4-9 miles a week and ended running an average of 20 miles a week, just by adding one or two miles to long runs here or there and creeping up the distances of my long rungs. I can't fathom running 50+ miles a week (I run about 65 miles a month!) but if I decide to do a marathon this fall, I suppose I'll be upping my mileage and I'll be returning to this post. :D
runninggirl77 From: runninggirl77 Date: January 3rd, 2009 11:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
A few years back, I was lucky enough to stumble across two of Lydiard's and Gilmour's books that they co-authored, Distance Training For Masters, and Distance Training for Women Athletes. It was a real eye-opener to read these, as many programs that "touch" on his philosophy seem to forget that things speed up after that initial phase of training. Your post summarized his method very well.

I wish that I could spend the time to put in 80 to 100 miles a week, but given my current speed, and current occupation, it's not possible. Still, there's a lot to be learned from Lydiard. He really did help bring distance running into a place where those of us who aren't elites can embrace it. I love him for that.

Speaking of "elitism", running is one sport where I have found that a number of "elites" or faster runners think nothing of crossing the line to mingle with those of us who don't have the time or genetics to achieve the same. I remember one Fall when I had run three October races: the WineGlass (as a relay), the Toronto Half, and the Casino Niagara Half. Dick Beardsley was a guest speaker for all three races. At the second one, Toronto, I had a question for him afterwards. As I greeted him, he looked at me quizzically and said, "Didn't I see you two weekends ago?" We chatted for a bit, during which I felt very comfortable. Two weeks later still, he is at the expo for the Casino Niagara marathon. The next day, he runs the full mary. I finished my half marathon in time to see the finish of the full marathon, and I was thrilled to see Dick Beardsley finish tenth for men, even after all this time. What a great finish that was. Bry and I picked up our bags, and started walking back towards parking as I hear, "Hey, how did your half marathon go?" It was Dick, having recognized my face from before.

Long story short, it's so wonderful that running gives us a chance to celebrate everybody's victories, no matter what their challenge is along the course. Thank you, Travelogger, for being one of those who helps us all recognize our goals, accomplishments, and victories. I raise a glass to you!

Edited at 2009-01-03 11:27 pm (UTC)
travelogger From: travelogger Date: January 4th, 2009 05:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! I have met Dick Beardsley as well. He is a great guy.
gonzostar From: gonzostar Date: January 4th, 2009 12:48 am (UTC) (Link)
I love learning things like this! I have noticed this on a *much* smaller scale, being that I'm a new runner and all. Once I was able to run 5 miles straight, my 3k time got a LOT faster, even without any speedwork. I'm glad to hear it extends its benefits even more with longer, slower running.

I am just now increasing my mileage by joining a trail running group that is targeting a 20k. We're starting with a 5 mile long run and building up to 12, adding a mile a week. I'm very excited. But even still, looks like my biggest week will be about 25 miles. Which means I have a lot to build on!
anarcha From: anarcha Date: January 4th, 2009 12:52 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks so much!

I'm doing a variant of the above (I like some of Lydiard, but am a huge fan of Jack Daniels and Brad Hudson). I'm not increasing my mileage _that_ drastically, but am keeping tempo runs and a bit of faster running during my build-up (though the majority of my runs are very slow). I'm also doing a lot of hillwork to refine my form right now.

My biggest difference in my faster running is that I'm doing complete recovery after each faster run right now. If I was doing VO2 Max work, I'd do a half-mile in 3:14 with a quarter-mile jogging recovery. But right now, I'm doing a half-mile in 3:14 with a jogging recovery of 1-2 miles or more. I feel that this keeps me in touch with my speed, and keeps those neuromuscular connections primed, without stressing my system in the same way a VO2 Max workout would. As I get closer to racing time, I'm going to cut back slightly on m overall weekly mileage, while gradually shortening the recovery time between fast intervals.

One thing I'd add:

It takes a LOT of discipline to run slow. In fact, I think it takes much MORE discipline to run very easy than it does to tough out a hard workout. At first, I found running a 9:30+ mile to be excruciating -- I'd much rather have my lungs burning than suffer through such a painfully slow run. But the slow runs really do pay huge dividends, and it's worth toughing them out.
travelogger From: travelogger Date: January 4th, 2009 05:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
You are one of the people I thought of when writing this post! I really hope you do well this year. You train very hard, and deserve success. :)
feeble_knees From: feeble_knees Date: January 4th, 2009 02:31 am (UTC) (Link)
I am such a firm believer in this approach! But as stated, its definitely not for everyone. I *wish* I could find the time and motivation again to increase to this sort of base. I can only imagine the kind of improvement I'd be able to make! I think it ultimately comes down to priorities, though, and there are those that are willing and have a desire to sacrifice huge amounts of time, and a lot of normal or necessary daily activities to reach these sorts of levels.

Then there are those that want to and just can't. :(
feeble_knees From: feeble_knees Date: January 4th, 2009 02:31 am (UTC) (Link)
Excellent article, btw, very clearly explains the method/style of training...it really works!!
travelogger From: travelogger Date: January 4th, 2009 06:01 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks for calling my post an *article* - it seems so much more important that way, haha :)
feeble_knees From: feeble_knees Date: January 4th, 2009 08:15 am (UTC) (Link)
And important it is!!! :D You know you have a whole fan base ready and waiting to snatch that book off the shelves!
josiethefiend From: josiethefiend Date: January 4th, 2009 03:13 am (UTC) (Link)
This is very interesting, thank you! For me a 30 minute 5k is pretty much my personal best, so, something to file away for later. But, it does make me feel better about my current focus on building up farther runs, rather than faster ones. ^_^ It's easier for me to get out there everyday if I know I can go as slow as I need to.
brianrunner From: brianrunner Date: January 4th, 2009 04:08 am (UTC) (Link)
My Cross Country coach in highschool was a Lydiard junkie.

Anywho, with an interest in Ultra Running, i'm kind of aiming to be one of those crazy bastards running 150 to 200 miles a week at least a couple months of the year. Made it to the 90 to 110 range this past summer, which was essentially the end of just my first year of soild running, so i have no reason to think i won't get there this year.
insane_bassist From: insane_bassist Date: January 4th, 2009 06:16 am (UTC) (Link)
Where do you fit this in before a race? I'd love to try something like this (less though, since my mileage peaks at 41) eventually but I'm already on a training plan for my Half. Do I try it after...?
travelogger From: travelogger Date: January 4th, 2009 05:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
If you are in a period of racing, or getting ready for one that is coming up in the next 6-8 weeks, it's not the time do do this sort of thing - you need to have a period of 3-4 months of no racing. For most people, that's the winter. :)
insane_bassist From: insane_bassist Date: January 4th, 2009 06:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hmmm, maybe next winter then :D
polsci60139 From: polsci60139 Date: January 4th, 2009 01:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you SO MUCH for posting this. At least for me, you couldn't have posted this at a better time. Though I increased my mileage significantly in 2008 versus the previous year (2500 versus 800), all of my miles were part of a some sort of training program. This is the first time that I will be doing any sort of base-building. I think I'm ready to handle daily runs and consistent 70+ mile weeks, if not more (again, I think).

Just wondering, what do you think is an appropriate minimum length for a base-building period? Right now I'm looking at 10-12 weeks of base-building, to be followed by an 8-10 week training program for what will hopefully prepare me for a sub 1:30 HM. I imagine that a longer base-building period is better than a shorter one, but how short is too short??

Again, thanks for your incredibly helpful instruction and insights!
travelogger From: travelogger Date: January 4th, 2009 05:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
No problem -thanks a lot for the kind words! You were definitely one of the people I had in mind when I was writing this. There a few people in the 50 to 60+ miles a week club here who I think are ready to try it.

Lydiard thought that this type of base training could last a very long time. He recommends that the longer, the better, but obviously we all want sharpen up, do speedwork, and race eventually. I think he expected runners to do base for upwards of 4-6 months, but that's pretty extreme, and probably best suited for an elite runner training for an incredibly important race. Twelve weeks sounds really good to me, especially if it's followed by a specific training program, like you are going to do. If you are patient during the base period, you will really benefit during the more formal training to follow. All your various prescribed speed will be faster, because your average aerobic easy pace will be faster.
shayenne From: shayenne Date: January 4th, 2009 03:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you for a very interesting post. I'm sort of tempted to try a modified version of this (I'm a 15 miles/week runner, and I read your reply to someone above who is similar and have taken that on board as well).

I have a question. Being a slow sort of runner, who's natural bent was to the LSD type of runs, I only got faster when, last summer, I gained a running buddy who was naturally faster than me, and through running with her (up to 5km) I cut 2.5 mins from my 5km time.

What do you think about the statement that if you run long and slow in training, you will be a slow runner in races, which has always described me to a tee before this summer! I'm NOT disputing what you say (you are far more knowledgeable than me), just trying to fit it all together and come up with a way to improve my times. Or is it that, after the base is built, then you start doing tempo runs and stuff again?

Thank you for this post, your excellent and interesting advice, and for maintaining this community so well over the years.
travelogger From: travelogger Date: January 4th, 2009 05:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
The reason why you have not improved from just running slowly is because 15 miles a week simply isn't enough to gain much benefit in terms of real racing ability. You will definitely improve a lot if you can build up your mileage to at least 30-40 miles a week, initially, even if it's all slow. Don't think that this is impossible, because all it takes is methodical patience and preparation. You can get there within 2 months or so.

When you ran with your friend, you were still running aerobically, but at a stronger pace. This likely helped challenge your body to improve faster - it's linked to what Lydiard meant when he said people should run at their "best effort level" for the day. He meant a strong, yet aerobic, pace. However, if you are running like that before you build up mileage, you will take longer to improve because the mileage volume isn't there. What he suggests is to first slow down all the runs, build up to a pretty good mileage, then when you are able to tolerate it, speed back up. it's sort of a little trick you play on yourself to get you to mileage levels that are high without injury or burnout.

Also, you need to run longer than 5km - you would gain a lot of fitness if you set out once a week to do a long run. This doesn't have to be incredibly long at first; you just need to build it up over time. This will also help you increase your weekly mileage volume.
shayenne From: shayenne Date: January 4th, 2009 06:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you so much for this answer. It makes sense now, and I think I will try your suggestion of building to a base of 30-40 miles/week.

I wasn't quite clear before.... I do actually do one "long" run a week (which is currently only 5-6 miles, and when I was running with my speedier friend, I'd also run by myself for longer. With her, I only ran up to 5km.

Thank you again.
soufpawed From: soufpawed Date: January 4th, 2009 03:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
i'm on the lookout for a good book on training for runners but too many that i've come across have been really bad (like anything by john stanton, i've found). joe friel has some really good ones for cyclists and i'm looking for something along similar lines (if you are familiar with him) that covers all the stages of training (base, build, peak, etc). do you have any good recommendations (other than lydiard or maybe even specific lydiard books)?
thanks!
travelogger From: travelogger Date: January 4th, 2009 05:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, Stanton (founder of the Running Room) is one of those people that really try to "dumb down" running for the masses, but he takes it too far.

Lydiard wasn't the greatest writer, and a lot of his stuff is incredibly hard to find. You are better off understanding his principles for base training that I outlined above, using them, and then using other methods for the actual formalized training for your race.

I think the best books currently out there are both by Pfitzinger / Douglas: Road Racing For Serious Runners, and Advanced Marathoning. Many people also like the book by Jack Daniels, called Daniels Running Formula, although his methods don't work for me quite as well.

If you want to read a book that tells you everything about the physiology behind running, but not as much about how to train, try Lore of Running, by Noakes.
lafiorentina From: lafiorentina Date: January 4th, 2009 10:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you for a very informative article. I've only started running with any sort of consistency last summer. Considering the sort of time management and effort I have to put into maintaining a 30-40 miles week, I've recently become increasingly curious of how people make the leap to higher mileages without dropping from exhaustion.

I hear what you say, of course you can make the time if you really want to. What didn't occur to me was the notion of slowing everything right down in order to slowly get your body accustomed to it. And of course, if you really think about it, it seems like common sense.

It's too late to do anything about this for this winter (my next marathon schedule starts in two weeks), however you've certainly given me something to think about for the next. I'm glad I joined this community.
travelogger From: travelogger Date: January 4th, 2009 11:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! You're the third person to call my post an "article", which keeps making me laugh because it makes me feel important, haha. :)

I run about 90-100 miles a week, but it took me 10 years to build up to it. If you think about it, that's 10 miles increase per year, or less than one single mile per month over 10 years. If you just take your time and keep increasing your effort level year after year, you can't help but improve and reach fairly high mileage levels.
From: laumin Date: February 22nd, 2011 05:28 am (UTC) (Link)

Some queries

Hi. I chanced upon your post and find it very enlightening.

I am a 41yo mom who completed a HM last year at 2:27:58; a 10k at 59min & my 5km run is about 30min. I had hoped to go for PB for my 10k and hopefully complete a full marathon at sub-5h. But after reading your post, I decided to spend time building up my base.

Presently, I run 3 times a week, about 5-6k each time. Just want to check my understanding of your article and ask a question too:

1) By doing the Lydiard-style base training, it means that I should start with 45-90min easy runs at a pace of ~8:45/km for 1st 6 wks - and then re-adjust(increase)the pace?
2) will this type of high mileage base training hurt the knee joints or wear it down faster?
travelogger From: travelogger Date: February 25th, 2011 03:30 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Some queries

Thanks, I am really glad I could help.

There's no exact formula for Lydiard-style base training in terms of volume. When he first wrote about it, he suggested than any reasonably fit person should be able to progress fro zero to 100 miles (160km) a week in a very short time. I think this is a little aggressive!

The main goal is to add as many miles as possible without overtraining or injury. This is best achieved by slowing WAY down, and paying attention to running form. I have another post in the memories section about running form you may find useful.

I can't promise you will not get injured. I can however, promise that if you keep the pace very slow and really work on form, you will significantly minimize the chance of injury.

In my opinion, the greatest gains are achieved during the phase when a runner goes from about 40 miles (about 62km) a week to about 70 miles (about 115km) a week. After this, the laws of diminishing returns start to set in, and below this, the runner has not even begun to tap into their "competitive" potential.

Right now, you are running 15-20km a week. I would first try to work your way up to running six times a week, with one long run of about 12-15km and a medium long run of about 8-10km.

The longer runs will help more than the shorter ones. Let me know if you have any more questions - I don't mind. :)
39 miles | run a mile