Running to the Top — Building in Speed (Part Two)

The important thing for our learner is to keep to the degree of effort suggested in the schedules for whatever distance he is aiming to run. It is no good if he goes out with the thought of running his distances a lot faster. 

Arthur Lydiard, 1962

The last 10-weeks of this track training involves sharpening techniques, such as 50 meter wind sprints, which will cover 2-3 miles at a time of sprinting 50 meters and floating 50 meters. The training will also involve controlled time trial efforts, which help to coordinate the athletes training to cover any weaknesses they might have in racing.

Lydiard explains these time trials…

By time trials, incidentally, we don’t mean speed tests against the stop-watch but a series of runs in which there is a gradual even improvement in the time taken over the actual distance for which we are training. 

So, these trials are not meant to be as fast as you can go…but a gradual improvement over the training time to your peak performance.

The important thing is not to do these trials too fast. 

Over the last 10 days of the 10 week track training period it is essential to conserve energy and give the body a chance to recover, so the athlete begins the taper.

The last race or time trial ten days before the big event is the final test of the athlete’s preparedness and prospects. 

This is genius from Lydiard, because we’ve found now that it takes 9-14 days for an activity to boost your fitness and Lydiard was right on with his 10 days out from the big event.

So, to sum up the 10 weeks of training…

5 weeks alternating distance running and repetitions.

5 weeks of time trials and sharpeners…with the last 10 days easy before the big event.


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