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admin | Bodybuilding Training Program | 05.09.2015
Forty years ago at the Rome Olympics, athletes guided by legendary New Zealand coach Arthur Lydiard made history. Among Lydiard’s proteges were a total of 17 Olympic medalists, including Peter Snell (800 and 1,500 meters), Murray Halberg (5,000 meters) and Barry Magee (marathon).
According to Lydiard, any successful training program must culminate in a goal race or racing period.
An ideal training week during this period includes a two-hour run and two one and one half-hour runs.
Lydiard-style hill training, the focus of the first four weeks of this period, involves a circuit that includes bounding uphill, running quickly downhill and sprinting.
The third consistent workout is a weekly time trial at or below the distance for which you are training. Round out your training week with a sprint-training session, a pace judgment day (4 x 400 meters at goal race pace), a leg-speed workout and a tune-up race. Unquestionably, Lydiard’s program tests your commitment and desire, and it requires a solid understanding of your individual needs.
There's a story told about Arthur Lydiard and his golden boys at the '64 Olympics in Tokyo. There is much discussion on forums around the world about whether the recent success of “Italian wizard” Renato Canova means the enigmatic coach has come upon a superior conditioning method for athletes, marathoners in particular, than Arthur Lydiard whose training principles have formed the basis or inspiration of the training of the vast majority of running champions over the last 50 years. As I would like to spend these articles talking about the training systems of the two coaches rather than their biographies, suffice it to say that Renato Canova has been one of the most successful athletics coaches of the last two decades particularly working with Kenyan runners. Greg McMillan, one of the world’s leading Lydiard-inspired coaches, worked with another Italian coach using similar methods to Canova’s, Gabriele Rosa, and says he believes he understands from this experience what it takes to break 2:05. Many training programmes set runners up to perform “like superman” for a period of time and then leave them burned out for years so when comparing the two systems a section must be dedicated to the likely long-term positive and negative effects of undertaking the prescribed regimes and workouts and include a look at the longevity of today’s generation of “superhuman” Kenyan runners. Canova’s athletic philosophy has not been published in anywhere near the same amount of detail as Arthur Lydiard’s of which plenty of first-hand material is available, so I rely a lot on second-hand interpretations of the Italian’s work here so keep this in mind.
Like Lydiard’s system Canova progresses his training through phases with emphasis on different physiological developments evermore specific to the athlete’s target race. The purpose of base conditioning for a marathoner is to INCREASE HIS CAPACITY TO DO MORE AEROBIC VOLUME AT HIGHER SPEEDS, WITH FASTER RECOVERY, and INCREASE UTILIZATION OF FATTY ACIDS, while CONSERVING GLYCOGEN STORES. The ideal base conditioning of a marathon runner or a middle distance runner are identical for the first 8 weeks. The most important training is that which is conducted at the speed of the race you want to run.
Those practiced at reading between the lines will notice that principle 3 in both sets of training principles are essentially the same. More principles can be skimmed through the lines to compare but since both coaches have a great track record we can safely assume that in general they agree on the basic principles of endurance training and we’ll expect to find the differences of opinion mainly in the specifics. The Lydiard system assumes you are dealing with a runner who can comfortably run for at least one hour before even beginning a classic Lydiard-style peaking build-up. Next, it’s important to be aware that most of the information about Canova’s specific training programmes has to be gleaned from the schedules of world-class athletes. So, at the surface, it looks like we are looking at two systems with a lot of similarities and which disparities can largely be explained by 1) different objectives in terms of how quickly athletes need to be brought to world class level and 2) a different set of prerequisites for the athletes entering the training system.
At the 1960 Rome Olympics, Arthur Lydiard shocked the distance-running world when three runners he had trained from the same neighborhood in New Zealand took two gold medals and one bronze. THE MODELS The hallmark of Lydiard's system is emphasizing a single element of training during each phase. Forced to confront his own unfitness, he self-experimented with training, including running more than 250 miles in one week.
If you want to give yourself every opportunity to reach your goal, you must commit to developing your aerobic capacity, says Lydiard. Lydiard suggests 10 repetitions of 120 to 150 meters over a flat or very slight downhill surface. Down at the training track, with their rivals looking on, they ran an impressive interval session of 20 quarters.


When it comes to modern training systems many have more shared characteristics than they have differences. It is, in effect, fairly easy: you put together a really tough training regime and anyone who could survive it would then go out and do it. One of the great benefits of Lydiard training is that it nurtures runners over many years and sets them up for a life-time of health and performance.
The purpose of the aerobic base for the middle distance runner is to INCREASE HIS CAPACITY TO DO MORE ANAEROBIC VOLUME, LATER, WITH FASTER RECOVERY.
For more experienced runners, Lydiard always assumed that his runners would have done cross-country or similar varied pace running over natural terrain in the months before beginning their training and thus they would never start the Lydiard programme in what he deemed “a plodding state”. This exercise is similar to trying to deduce Lydiard’s system by reading Peter Snell’s training schedules and is an approach fraught with the risk of misinterpretation. In third and final part I will attempt to look at the long-term implications of undertaking each training schedule. Lydiard's phases progressed from aerobic conditioning to hill training, interval training, coordination and tapering.
Which model is best for you depends on your experience, racing plans and temperament.GAUGE EXPERIENCEPfitzinger says Lydiard's system may be the most beneficial if you have a limited mileage background. Moreover, if you look carefully at the most popular and successful programs today, most have a Lydiard emphasis. Approaches such as Jack Daniels’ and Pete Pfitzinger’s are all periodised systems with their roots firmly planted in Lydiard soil. Lydiard, as is well-documented, agrees with Canova on the need for more volume, but only if it can be balanced with adequate recovery to keep the quality of the aerobic running at a reasonable level. The one thing that stands out that in general terms is that the two approaches have a lot in common in that both accept periodization of training and build on a foundation of mainly aerobic work followed by faster specific work. Lydiard’s “anaerobic” and “co-ordination” phases for instance are really a 6-10 week periods of track-specific work progressing from the more general to the specific for non-marathon runners.
Lydiard prescribed 48 hours between hard workouts and to not attempt another until resting heart rate and muscle soreness was back to acceptable levels. This mistake was made (and still is) by many Lydiard-adherents, when they strictly adhere to 100-mile weeks when in reality this was inappropriate for a non-Olympic athlete. So for elite or near-elite athletes contemplating the Canova system it seems apparent that either you need to tone it down significantly or you need to first build up a similar aerobic base to that possessed by the Kenyan runners. According to Pfitzinger, the greatest strength of the Lydiard model is that it recognizes that a big aerobic base has to be developed before the full benefits of other types of training can be gained.
For Lydiard, running to your potential is about having a substantial mileage base and not overdoing your anaerobic training.
Central to his method was the importance of training in phases and peaking for major events. Because although every runner has a limited anaerobic (speed-building) capacity, that limit is largely set by one’s aerobic potential—the body’s ability to use oxygen. Doing this incurs the same risk as looking at Peter Snell’s schedule in the 1960s and copying it line by line (as many Lydiard adherents did). Lydiard solved this problem by prescribing time rather than distance and by setting certain minimum fitness criteria for entering his full programme. Their willingness to question the status quo offers new ways to look at training and can provide new tools to help you prepare for your next race.
Because it prescribes aerobic development before focusing on speed, Lydiard's model guarantees that base is in place.You should be able to experiment more if you have a developed mileage background. Thus, the aerobic capacity that you develop determines the success of your entire training program.
Today the guidelines of the Lydiard Foundation are that a runner should be able to run comfortably for at least one hour before moving on to the more traditional training schedules people would recognise as distinctly “Lydiard”. This difference is partly explained by the Lydiard system taking a slower approach to athlete development than the Canova system.


Lydiard suggests five laps of a 400-meter track (about seven to eight minutes of running) alternating 50 meters of sprinting and 50 meters of easy, but strong, running. Contrary to some interpretations of Lydiard's training, however, even the base isn't all slow running.
He also points out that Lydiard included unstructured fartlek running early in the training program.
The emphasis is on volume, however -- as much as the body can handle -- which precludes much intensity.The training philosophy sets up speed training during hill training, which follows the conditioning phase. Some runners thrive on volume, gaining strength the longer they go but feeling beat up whenever they hit the track and peaking quickly with any up-tempo training. Based on his own experiences as a runner and his observations of other runners who struggled with aspects of the Lydiard pyramid, Hudson began to move away from the strict phases of that system.While Lydiard's plan is symbolized as a base of strength with levels of speed layered on top, Hudson's model tips the pyramid on its side to form an arrow. Training begins both faster than and slower than goal race pace, with the two lines gradually meeting like the tip of an arrow at the goal race. Because the program works toward goal pace from two different directions, no phase of training focuses on any single type of conditioning."We start bringing workouts in a little sooner [than Lydiard]," says Hudson.
The lack of those transitions in Hudson's and Simmons' programs may allow you to progress through the training cycle to your goal race with less risk of injury.DECIDE RACING PLANSChoosing a model with speed mixed in throughout the training cycle is more practical if you don't plan your goal races far in advance or prefer racing often rather than focusing on a peak goal.
Magee says that many runners following the Lydiard model perform well in races leading up to their goal race. Another day could have an 8K climb in the morning with the 200s later in the day.Emphasizing balance also means that Hudson focuses on aerobic endurance throughout the training cycle, not just during the early stages. Back in Lydiard's heyday, before the running boom, the sport revolved around one or two track seasons per year. Pfitzinger adds that by maintaining some faster running for most of the year, runners do not have as "low" a starting point as someone coming off weeks of strict endurance training.
Having that higher starting point allows you to get into peak race shape more quickly, cutting down on the time necessary between important races.Where the Lydiard system is practical is if your goal race requires more volume than you are used to, such as moving up to the marathon. So a goal race that requires more volume than you've previously done wouldn't require a different approach, just a longer period of time to allow appropriate progression from your current starting point.CONSIDER TEMPERAMENTRunners who quickly tire of long runs or intense interval sessions might be able to manage them better in a more balanced approach that mixes them throughout a training cycle, as Hudson suggests, rather than one that groups them into a single training phase, as in Lydiard's model. Pfitzinger and Sayenko agree that adding variety throughout training keeps runners engaged.
From there, lines representing different elements of training -- speed, endurance, strength, stamina -- expand outward simultaneously to form what Simmons refers to as a diamond."Anything that's important to racing success needs to be included all the time, to the right degree," says Simmons.
Hudson's model "keeps the training more exciting, as all the training types are mixed together throughout the entire training cycle," Sayenko says.Because neither Hudson nor Simmons believes in cutting out elements of training as the goal race approaches, that day-to-day variety continues throughout the training cycle. What the right degree is depends on the current ability of the runner and the distance he or she is training for. This allows you to approach a goal race having recently done workouts that play to your psychological strengths rather than focusing strictly on short, fast repeats that you may find difficult late in the training cycle.PATIENTLY EXPERIMENTFollowing the same system cycle after cycle can cause you to plateau, regardless of the training model. In Simmons' system, the starting point for training is based on the current fitness and abilities of the runner in each aspect, rather than assuming starting from zero, and progressions are planned around the demands of the race.Mileage increases throughout the training cycle in Simmons' program, concurrent with intensity.
And the same is true for intensity."This constant progression also means there are no distinct phases in Simmons' training. Likewise, "If you're not training a system, then you're losing that ability."In practice that means the training schedule from week to week can look similar on paper. Alisha Williams has seen great success since 2011 when she began training with Simmons, winning the 2012 California International Marathon and qualifying for the 2012 USATF track championships in the 5,000m with a PR of 15:09.



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