Q&A with Arthur Lydiard

Arthur Lydiard served as a technical adviser for Runner's World magazine during mid-1970s to early-1980s. Over the past 20 years, I had collected as many old Runner's World magazines, or any other magazines or books, where Arthur Lydiard had replied to any question, as I could get my hands on. This helped me to think "What would Arthur Lydiard have said to this question...???" Going over these literatures, I thought about this challenge of reproducing "Q&A with Arthur Lydiard", category by category, and make it available to today's public. I would like to continue adding Q&A in this section as I go along.--Nobby Hashizume


Q: As I understand it, aerobic training should be done at a pace that does not put a runner into oxygen debt or, as you put it, "training without straining." My question is: approximately what should the pulse rate be while training in this manner? Does the caliber of runner make a difference? For instance, if John Walker runs aerobically at 5:15 per-mile pace and I run aerobically at 6:30 pace, would our pulses be approximately the same at the two different speeds?

My second question is: do you think that it is possible for an average person (by this I mean an average cardiovascular system and no exceptional ratio of slow-twitch to fast-twitch muslce fibers) to break 2:20 in the marathon or 4:15 in the mile by employing your training methods? Why?

A: To put it simply: We term aerobic processes those requiring the presense of oxygen and anaerobic processes as those not requiring the immediate presense of oxygen.

Pulse rates are not a good guide because they can be affected by emotion, temperatures, as well as exercise. Also, pulse rates can vary among individuals, some people having abnormally high or low resting pulse rates. However, it is usual for a person to exercise anaerobically under average conditions with the pulse rate under 150 beats per minute. It is the recovery rate that helps in determining the fitness level. Steady states vary in individuals so that for a person with a high steady state, high aerobic efforts for them can be anaerobic effort for those with lower steady states. I have seen it proven in a 15-year-old runner who was just average and liked to run, win the New Zealand Marathon at the age of 35 and run as fast as 2:15.

Economy of running actions play a part as well as body build and weight. Every kilo in weight requires about 0.17 milliliters of oxygen to run every meter; so this places the heavier runner at a disadvantage. More so on hilly courses.

There are people with more efficient metabolisms than others, so it's unlikely we are going to have hundreds of Frank Shorters and John Walkers (Just as well, in a sense. It's hard enough to win races as it is). However, continual training over years can continually develop cardiac efficiency in a healthy person and there is no telling what results the individual can achieve if given time. This is what makes marathon running so interesting. My training is designed to lay a fine aerobic base for the necessary anaerobic training in the given time between competitive seasons.

Q: I am a 45-year-old runner and have been running for over the 15 years now and been racing for the past two. I thrive on 50-60 miles per week. Until recently, I have been racing 10-miles and longer. In these races, I could run consistently between 6:45 and 7:00 per mile. Lately I've tried some 10km races in which I felt I should run faster at the start. Running at 6:15 to 6:30 pace at the start, I find the lactic acid build-up* in the quadricepts has all but forced me to drop out of the race at 2 miles. (*Actually, this is due to "lowering of pH by hydrogen ions.)

Could you determine what it is I am doing (or not doing) that is responsible for this frustrating dilemma?

A: You need more anaerobic training. Once a week, run three fast relaxed 1500 meters with a 10-minute jogging intervals or six fast relaxed 800 meters with 5-minute jogging intervals. You will find an improvement in your ability to handle the faster short races. Other repetitions can be used, but I have found that people your age respond well to these longer repetitions and are less likely to pull muscles--a frequent occurrence with short sprints (like 200 or 400 meter intervals).

You could run two interval sessions each week, as long as you allow at least two-day recovery period in between. If you like, try running hills or steps to strengthen your quadricepts.

Q: As I see it, I believe you see a difference between repetitions, fartlek, and intervals. I agree there are obvious differences between fartlek/intervals, repetitions/fartlek, and even repetition/intervals. However, I'm not clear on just what repetitions are in your view.

Are you advocating a decline in the effectiveness of fartlek? When you say not to mix anaerobic training with conditioning, doesn't this rule out fartlek-type training?

A: If we understand that creating an oxygen debt helps to develop a capacity to improve the ability to exercise anaerobically to a certain level, we will also understand that there are various ways, controlled and uncontrolled, to gain this end. Interval training is controlled training, where repetition training does not necessarily need to be so, the runner deciding by his/her own reactions when to run the next speed run at efforts he/she feels suit him/her. I have yet to meet the person who can dictate the actual number of repetitions, the times these repetitions should be run, the rest intervals that should be taken and distances to be run for the best possible results. They have to be guessing.

Therefore, it is better to teach the runner why he is doing the training, suggest the distance and number of repetitions. As long as he is tired at the finish of the training, he will have a lower pH and the end result will be the desired one, with the runner himself determining his limitations rather than some guessting coach. Fartlek sessions have this value as it is "Speed-Play" and should not be controlled.*

The use of anaerobic training during early conditioning defeats the purpose of training. Continuous hours of training cannot be so high as it could be at the end of the given conditining period. Anaerobic capacity to exercise is quickly developed in about 5 weeks of intensive workouts and anaerobic fitness can lessen unless continued. It is not desirebale to be anaerobically fit many months prior to racing.

(*Lydiard had prescribed "Fartlek" workout during Aerobic Conditioning Phase but he also describe "Fartlek" as "Easy Fartlek" and "Hard Fartlek"; he classified the former (Easy) to be not highly anaerobic but rather stretching out your legs by running faster than normal aerobic running but not so fast that you dip into anaerobic state.)

Q: I'm 41-years old and I run 35 to 40 miles a week. My weekend runs are 10 to 12 miles at an 8-minute-mile pace and my fastest mile is 5:45. Once a week I do 12X440 in 1:20 with a 440-yard jog in between. I'm very tired when I finish, but I recuperate soon enough and I feel great the rest of the day.

On the other hand, during my LSD runs at an 8-minute pace I feel very relaxed, but a few hours later I start feeling a great fatigue which lasts for the rest of the day.

Is my pace too fast on long runs or is something else wrong?

A: You are tired after the long runs because you do not have enough endurance or a high enough oxygen uptake. You may also be affected by perspiring and will need an electrolyte drink.

Stop the anaerobic repetitions for a month or two and concentrate on eudnrance training. Try for three long runs a week with shorter ones over hills in between. The long runs should be between 75 and 90 minutes. Do not try to run too fast but keep the pace down to comfortable level.

Long Slow Distance (LSD) training is really for the ultramarathoner who usually runs at speeds of about 8-minutes per mile for three to six hours. On the other hand, many top track men and marathoners will run their long weekly run of 20-miles or more at 5:30 to 6:00 per mile pace. But this pace is still aerobic for them because they have great endurance and development.

Your best bet is to train at comfortable paces and not push yourself. Gradually you will be able to increase your speed per mile without trying as your oxygen uptake rises. Efforts that were previously low anaerobic will become high aerobic efforts.

Q: John Walker has said that the average middle-aged, high mileage runner is only five to six weeks away from times thought impossible. If this is true, what kind of mileage base is he talking about and what kind of training is involved? I'm 40 and would love to lower my times.

A: For a number of years now, John Walker has run in the vicinity of about 90 miles weekly during his conditioning periods. He believes that with such a sound base he can quickly improve to top racing condition in a matter of a few weeks once he implements anaerobic training.

The mileage base for anyone of any age or sex should be governed by the individual's fitness and training background. Do what you feel you can manage and keep the speed to a reasonable pace. Gradually, as you get fitter, you will be able to increase the mileage without problems. I suggest yo aim for about 55 to 65 miles a week and see how you feel before you add on more.

Q: I understand that some distancee runners believe in finishing every road run very fast, no matter how slow or how fast they have been running. They say that sprinting at the end of every run teaches the body to react properly when it is fatigued at the end of the race. Is it really possible to prepare the body for a final sprint off a fast pace by sprinting off an easy pace?

A: It is physiologically wrong to inject speedwork into the conditioning phase of a training program. Aerobic conditioning should last for a minimum of three months (I usually tell athletes simply to stay with it as long as possible) and should be strictly aerobic. Sprinting merely introduces lactic acid into the muscles and dilute the value of the aerobic work.

For Older Runners, Master Runners:

Q: Do you have any basic marathon training advice for the older runners? I'm 62.

A: I do not believe that the age of an adult runner should be an important consideration with marathon training. Think of yourself as an individual and understand what is necessary in training for the event and then apply yourself in the intensity and volume of training that suits you. Initially, work on a time basis rather than to a mileage schedule, though the occasional run over a measured course can help you to log progress.

People of your age can improve cardiac and muscular efficientcy providing there are no serious health problems that a doctor can detect. Surely, you are not going to perform like a 30-year-old, but you can still steadily improve your times and finish a marathon in good shape.

Q: I am a 43-year-old running with 10 years experience. I race at distances from the mile to the marathon, with 6-10 miles being the most comfortable. I run 10 miles in an hour and a 2:50 marathon. My training consists of intervals and speed conditioning in the spring and summer; long distance during the fall marathon season; and little racing during the winter. What kind of training program do you suggest?

A: Check out the ratio of anaerobic to aerobic training during the spring and summer. Realize that you can cancel out a good conditioning base with too much anaerobic training.

As you agem the muscular system loses flexibility and power, so you need to spend more time in suppling and stretching exercises and running steep hills and steps. Do fast relaxed striding over 100-meter up to 10 times with a 300-meter jogging interval once a week, It will help.

Q: What sort of a program should a male, 56 years of age follow? I have been running for 10 years and run 6 days a week for a total distance of about 40-miles at an 8-minute-mile pace. This pace is comfortable, but what can I do to better my speed? At present I do stretches, etc., before and after running, but no speed or interval work.

A: I suggest you run over hilly areas, say, twice weekly, and once a week run over 100-meters about 6 to 10 times at a good, relaxed speed, not trying to sprint so fast that you start to "tie up." Jog 300-meters between each 100-meters.

Be sure to do some loosening-up exercises during your warm-up, which should be built on a base of 15-minutes of easy running. On the hills, you should use a driving action with the knee coming up high and taking longish strides--according to your fitness level and general condition. Just do what you feel happy with--don't overextend yourself. Age should be no barrier to developing better muscular strength and endurance. Keep up your jogging on the alternate days and do not do so much hill and speed training initially that you make your legs so sore that doing your regular distance workouts becomes painful. Feel your way gently.


Q: I'm a marathoner. Could you suggest ways in which I could lengthen my strides?

A: Check your running technique tl be sure that you are not holding your hips back, as this can shorten your stride and reduce your leg speed. Throughout your training, you should be working on speed development. Condition for speed by running up steep hills or steps; not fast, but with enough effort to keep your forward momentum going and make your quadriceps feel the workload. Work with hill springing and driving with long strides up gentle slopes. It is the quads you should concentrate on because once they are in good condition, you will be able to maintain your knee lift through an entire marathon. As you are doubtlessly aware, the quadriceps are the first muscles to tire in the marathon and most other races.

When you are in the last 3 months of your training schedule, you could begin running stride-outs over 200-300 meters, as well as downhill striding. With well-conditioned legs this can be effective..

By getting your ankle flexible and strong and learning to use them when running, your stide length can also be improved considerably. This is where hill springing and driving uphill with good knee lift and long strides (*Hill Bounding) can help. Try to fit these workouts into your schedule. (*Check out the Lydiard Hill Training video HERE.)

Q: Are there any exercise to give a runner a longer strides?

A: To increase your stride length, you need to strengthen the front upper leg muscles for better and comtinued higher knee lift. This will increase your leg speed as well as lengthening your strides. You also need to improve your ankle flexibility and power. Running up steep hills, sand dunes and steps will improve the upper leg muscles, while springing with a bouncy action and driving with good knee lift (*Check out this video clip for effectiveness of ankle flexibility) and long strides up a more gentle slope will help to improve the strength and flexibility of the ankle.

Q: I am a 16-year-old female. I can run a single mile on a cross-country course with small hills in 7-minutes, but when I get on a flat track, I find it hard to beat 7:45.

My strides are very short and I have tried unsuccessfully for 2 years to lengthen them. Since running uphill calls for short strides while downhill running forces a longer strides, I thought this may be why I excel in cross-country. I have heard that developing the quadrecips would usually increase the stride, but I have well-developed quadriceps and still remain unsuccessful.

I don't have any natural speed and I usually lose in the last lap to someone with speed and longer stride. What kind of training can I do to lengthen my stride and build speed?

A: You can do relaxed striding, bringing your knees high with your hips comfortably forward and upper body relaxed. Push hard off your toes. Run about 100 meters with the wind. Jog 300-meter intervals, up to 10 times. Sprint training exercises can help, on your toes and "lifting yourself out of your pelvis" as Percy Cerutty used to say. Keep your knees high with a reasonable forward momentum.

Do knee-raising exercise running, with a relaxed upper body, moving the legs fast with high knees and slow forward momentum. Also do leg speed running, running over 100 meters with a normal stride length, concentraing on pulling the legs through fast, using the lower abdominal muscles and quadriceps. Jog 300 meters between each run. Do up to 10 times. If you feel the hamstrings starting to pull, stop.

When training on hills, do some hill springing for ankle power and flexibility development. Powerful and flexible ankle can increase speed. Keeping relaxed and lifting the center of gravity, go up the hill with a bouncing action, pushing hard from your toes with a slow forward momentum.

For Beginning Runners:

Q: I have been running for 2 months and started with a one-mile run in 15-minutes. I am now doing a mile in 7:20.

I am interested in distnce running from 10,000 meters to the marathon and would appreciate your advice. How should I go about increasing my speed and distance?

A: My advice is to take your training steadily and not push yourself too hard too fast. Build your weekly mileage gradually. As your legs strengthen, run over hilly areas at least twice a week. When increasing mileage or increasing the duration of training sessions, it is advisable to increase the total running time every 3 or 4 days and then revert back to normal training durations to allow some time for the body to consolidate what it's been undergoing. Do not increase the duration of the runs progressively.

Once you feel you can run reasonably ambitious weekly mileage while including some hilly courses, you can dd some faster relaxed striding over the 100-, 150-, and 200-meter distances with a 300-meter jog between. Use a running technique similar to how you walk; with hips comfortably forward, upright body and the arms coming through low and relaxed, coming up just inside the respecitive shoulders.

Runs over 3,000, 5,000, and 10,000 meters, as time trials, can help to develop the anaerobic ability and can get you into some sort of racing fitness without the need to do anaerobic interval or repetition running. This is an especially good approach for the novice. Jusr remember to run the trials strongly and evenly in effort and pace.

Taking on steep hills will strengthen and make your legs supple while increasing the efficiency of the ankles and upper leg muscles.

Consult the beginning marathoners' schedule for an 18-week training schedule that I usually prescribe for the more enthusiastic.* We have had very favorable results with all age groups and even cardiac patients.

(* I would refer to the "Base-to-Race" marathon plan at Lydiard Running Wizard program.)

Q: I am 25-year-old. I ran track in high school, but have slacked off in recent years. I would like to get back into racing condition again and would also like to get my wife on the roads with me. What sort of running program do you suggest?

A: Start jogging easily for 15 minutes a day for a few weeks, gradually increasing this until you can handle 30-60 minutes. Then start using easy fartlek sessions 2 or 3 times weekly over undulating parklands if possible. It shouldn't take you too long to get into good enough shape to pick up a schedule of fast workouts.

Your wife can follow the same early jogging schedule.

(*Check out THIS video clip where Arthur Lydiard talks about how he instructed the Original Joggers back in 1963.)

Q: I plan to start running and my goal is to race at 10k. My problem is; every running schedule I've come across starts at a level beyond my present capabilities! Starting from scratch, how can I go about training to achieve my goal?

A: Start with a 15-minutes run at an easy pace on a daily basis. This will become increasingly easy for you, and when you can manage this with ease, run for 30-minutes every third day. When the 30-minutes run becomes easy, then run 30-minutes every day.

Once a 30-minutes run is no challenge, run for 45-minutes every third day. Continue this schedule of running a longer time (=duration) every third day until you can handle runs of one-hour and more.

Do not start out trying to run fast. Once you are satisfied that your condition is good, you can start a schedule for racing 10k by including relaxed striding and anaerobic workouts.

For Young Runners, High School Runners:

Q: What do you think about young kids (high school age) getting into intense training? By this I mean running twice a day, four interval workouts a week, hard distance, time trials, hill running, etc.

A: It is not physiologically correct to train anyone, let alone youngsters, with excessive anaerobic training. Anaerobic capacity can be developed to near its maximum in a matter of a few weeks if desired; a person's performance level is governed by the aerobic level of steady state and not the anaerobic capacity to exercise. Excessive use of anaerobic training as you mention can keep the blood pH level continually lower than normal, thus interfering with metabolism. This can eventually put a person into a state where he is more susceptible to injury and infection than a person who does not train. An immunologist can tell this by observing the effects in the blood of such training. Great middle and long distance runners are not developed by running anaerobic reps, etc. on a track or anywhere else, but first by developing a high steady state by running many aerobic miles over a period of years, as a basis upon which to do the necessary anaerobic training.

Q: I'm a 13-year-old and have been running for two years. I'm serious about racing and am trying to get my 10,000-meter time down from 37 to 34 minutes. In the three times I've raced 10,000-meters, I have cut 80 seconds off my time. Do you think I am pushing it?

A: I suggest you concentrate on racing 1,500 and 3,000 meters for a few more years until you mature, By all means go for long training runs, but also work at your speed and running technique. You will find that your times will progressively decrease over the longer distances.

Q: I am a member of my high school track team and compete in many varied events--100 meter dash, 200m, mile, and shot put in every duel meet. My problem is I can't seem to put my best times together in any one meet. What kind of program would you recommend for increased stamina and explosive power?

A: It isn't any wonder you cannot produce personal best performances while continually competing in so many different events. You need to take a look at your overall schedule and space different types of training on successive days, allowing for recovery from one type of training from the other. Easy jogging, done whenever possible, will assist you in maintaining general good condition. Weight training sessions should be determined by your needs, age, energy and available time.

Find your weaknesses and strengths. What are your good events and what events are you poor at? Determine how much time you have to spend training and talk to your coach and have him set up a schedule that will allow for the best distribution of this time.

Q: My performance on the high school cross-country team went from good to worse as the season progressed. i ran 4 to 20 miles every day. At the end of a run with friends, I would always outkick them. But as the season progressed, I kept getting slower. I eventually dropped to last man on the team. During the summer, I tried dieting, but just got weaker. After running, I'd lose my appetite. What happened?

A: It would seem that you are racing through your training, possibly one reason you cannot eat evening meals. Also, your training may not be balanced. Your aerobic conditioning period shoud not include anaerobic running such as fast finishing efforts.

These bursts of speed only create lactic acid (*lowering of pH) and perform no useful purpose during conditioning. Usually the runners who are continually trying to win the training runs don't win the important races. Just relax.

Q: At what age should a boy start training on a regular schedule? Can a young person harm his chance of becoming a good runner by training too early? I've read you saying that you have boys at ages 10-12 running 100-miles-a-week. Should a boy of this age do both aerobic and anaerobic training? And, if so, how much of each?

A: My feeling is taht if youngsters 9 or 10 years of age are interested in running competitively, they should be encouraged. They should be encouraged, however, not to run as fast as they can; but rather to run as long as they can run without feeling discomfort. They should attempt to enjoy the exercising, and not strain themselves or push themselves into strenuous running that could harm them later along in their running lives. It is also importnat to recognize that at such an early age, the motivation for the running that a youngsters does should come from within, and not be forced on the youngsters by parents.

By running long--but slow--a youngster builds up a good foundation for future competition; the youngeter's running potential is developed gradually in this way, and no psychological harm is done to him/her. I've seen too many potentially excellent young runners burned out at an early age either by their own competitive drive taking the place of common sense or because parents pushed them into doing too much at an early age.

Youngsters have a greater ability to use oxygen efficiently in comparison to their body weight than do adults. It is not difficult, therefore, for youngsters under the age of 15 to do a good deal of aerobic training and exercising. On the other hand, at their age they do have more highly sensitive nervous systems and they cannot stand too much anaerobic work.

I would not suggest to a 10-year-old that he/she run 100-miles-a-week in training. He/she should do what is possible for him/her and what he/she feels happy with. Don't overdo it. It is a fact that some youngsters do run up to 100-miles weekly without any harmful effects, but I have found that these youngsters like to do 100-miles-a-week and that they enjoy the exercise, thereby providing continued improvement. As a youngster, don't push beyond your capacity to enjoy what you're doing; save outright competition for later years. The running you're doing now will help you then.

Q: I'm coaching a high school girl distance runner and I'd like some advice on workouts for her. In her freshman year, she ran a 60-second 400 meters and a 2:29 for 800 meters. In her sophomore year, she ran a 2:26 for 800 meters and a 5:26 mile. This was after cross-country season, during which she ran a 5k in 20-minutes.

I don't know what combination of speed work and distnce workouts to give her. At present, she runs intervals (10X400m and 4X200m) every other day, and distance (8-10 miles) the other days. What combination of speed and distance should I give?

A: Forget she is a woman and treat her as an individual who, like boys, needs to train according to her fitness levels and ability. She will need to get in more conditioning aerobic mileage before she is likely to show marked improvement. The fact she ran 2:29 for 800 meters and 60-seconds for 400 meters shows she is not lacking in ability. Don't overdo repetition and interval training.

Q: I'm a 14-yeard-old girl on my school's track and cross-country teams. I'm not very happy with the training I get at school and I want to train more on my own. I need advice, though, on how much to train and how fast to run. I currently run about 6:30 mile. I run 5-6 miles daily at a 9-10 minute-per-mile pace. I really need your coaching advice so I can improve.

A: Before you begin racing, you should build up your conditioning by running all the aerobic mileage you feel you can handle. Run over hilly areas at least twice a week if there are hills near your home. Young girls can run great amounts of mileage if they do not try to go too fast. In many countries, girls your age are running 90-minute runs three times a week. My advice is to run as much mileage as you comfortably can; always end a long run a bit before exhaustion, though.

During the racing season, you should run over a course at one point each week that is similar in terrain to the course you will race on in your important racing dates. Run at a speed near your best. On open weekends, schedule in a time trial or a race just to keep yourself sharp.

All sharpening workouts should be run hard, while the rest of the schedule should be done well within your current fitness level, i.e., at an easier pace. I've fashioned a schedule to follow.


Monday: Repetitions 1500 meters by 3 or 800 meters by 6 times at easy pace.

Tuesday: 1 to 1.5 hours jog.

Wednesday: Time trial 3,000 meters.

Thursday: 1 to 1.5 hours jog.

Friday: Fast relaxed striding 100 meters by 10 times.

Saturday: Time trial 4,000 meters.

Sunday: 1.5 hours jog.


Monday: Windsprints 100 meters by 6 to 10 times with 300 meters jog in between.

Tuesday: Easy fartlek 1/2 to 1 hour.

Wednesday: Time trial 3,000 meters.*

Thursday: 1 hour jog.

Friday: 1/2 hour jog.

Saturday: RACE.

Sunday: 1.5 hours jog.

(*I had posted this Non-Race-Week/Race-Week schedules as presented by Arthur Lydiard here. However, considering the inquirer is only 14-years-old, I personally feel it might be better, on the Race Week, to do 1000m time trial--of 3-4X200m fast--on the race week.)

Q: I run for a high school cross-country and track team and I have had good results for the mile (1600 meters) and two-mile (3200 meters) with the following schedule:

Monday: 3 X 800m with 5min rest intervals; 10 X 150m accelerations

Tuesday: 30 X 100m with 100m walk after each

Wednesday: 2 X 1200m and 10 X 150m accelerations

Thursday: RACE

Friday: 6 X 400m and 6 X 150m accelerations

Saturday: Long slow run

Sunday: Rest

Is this an appropriate schedule for a high school runner?

A: In anaerobic training, it is wise to use recovery intervals so that you do not dramatically lower your blood pH. Be sure to follow a day of anaerobic training with a day of aerobic. This way you will not upset your metabolism and will benefit more from the anaerobic training.

It is difficult to comment on your schedule without knowing what training background you have. A lot depends on the ratio and amount of anaerobic work you've previously done. Maybe you're done too much already; maybe you need to do more... If you feel that this schedule suits you and that with it you will improve, then by all means, continue.

I do suggest you delete the anaerobic training on Wednesday and take an easy 45-minute jog instead. This will freshen you for racing (on Thursday). Take your long run on Friday (the day after the RACE).

Teenage boys coninue to develop natural endurance until the 18th and 19th year, and can often take a fair amount of hard running and do well for 2 or 3 years. But the crunch comes later and their development is retarded by overwork. Do all the easy jogging you can along with the hard training; use it for warming up and cooling down. This will help your recoveries and balance your training.

Q: I am a high school track coach (in the USA). Our season extends from late September until mid-June, with a complete cross-country, indoor and outdoor schedule. We have a meet almost every Saturday, with some mid-week competitions. Almost all the meets are against top-level competition. The majority are against 25-30 schools. Very few are comsidered easy meets and we very rarely have a duel meet.

Our league has a strict set of rules that limits the amount of competitions to one race per day, but many of our meets are outside the league and they enable a boy to run in multiple events.

My question is, do you think that these boys might be competing too frequently for their best interests?

A: I understand your concern and I have no doubt that such an intensive and long competitive season will proclude the possibility of many young runners developing their full potential and worse still, sicken them of the sport.

I have previously mentioned that excessive anaerobic training and racing can adversely affect the development and health of youngsters and for coaches to disregard this, can only mean that he does not have the welfare of their young athletes at heart. At the same time, I do not disregard racing programs that provide races most weeks. It is up to the coach to decide when to use these races to the advantage of his runners and the fact that they are on the program does not necessarily mean that they have to be competed in. THere will always be the coach who will try to build up a short-term reputation with the sweat of his athletes even if it means destroying their potential and interest in the sport. To counteract these people, your rule permitting the athletes only one competition a day is a good one and I hope, for the yioung runners' sakes, will not be changed.

Q: I have been convinced of the necessity for both (aerobic and anaerobic) types of training in middle-distance running. The critical question is clearly in the application of the proper quantity of each.

My athletes are 15-18 years old female who have had little previous conditioning for track. Not only are they in fairly poor condition to begin with, but the length of our season in Wisconsin is limited to 16 weeks. I'm quite sure that it is impossible to build a good aerobic base in this limited amount of time.

Are there some physical indications that would signal the point in a young girl's training when the shift should be made from aerobic to anaerobic? If these athletes could be persuaded to brave the Wisconsin winter, what could they be told to do besides simply over-distance? At their age, how much anaerobic training is too much? As usualy, our sprinters detest aerobic running. Is there any way of disguising it to make it more attractive to them? If an athlete exhibits good middle-distance ability, at what age should she be encourage to train year-round without "killing her off" for a future in running?

A: Motivation plays the most important part when training novice teenage women runners. Surprisingly, though, once they grasp the fact that they can run for 90-minutes or more quite easily they invariably train more diligently than men. Without that aerobic training, however, the results will be disappointing and the anaerobic training and racing will become more difficult and disheartening. There is absolutely no physiological reason why women cannot train just as hard as men. Indeed, I've had young women of 9 or 10 years old running ror an hour or more daily and enjoying constant improvement with no fall-off of interest.

As for the anaerobic training, it would be goverened by the date of the scheduled racing program. Beginning about 10-12 weeks before the season's first race, anaerobic training can be used intensively and in volume on every second or third day for a period of about 4-5 weeks, being sure that the runners feel that they have recovered sufficiently from the previous hard workout's effects before embarking on the next one. I have found it works best to simply ask the runners how they feel two days following the anaerobic workout. If they have not recovered and feel tired and/or their legs are feeling dead, I postpone the next anaerobic session until the following day. It is apparent from the dead-leg feeling that the blood pH level is still not back to normal, and the blood pH level is vitally important in developing the anaerobic capacity to exercise.

If this is not closely monitored, threre can be an upset in the metabolism with a subsequent lowering of the "Steady State".

Following 4-5 weeks of intensive anaerobic training in volume, I suggest that once weekly you incorporate "wind-sprints" over 50 or 100 meters, alternating between sprinting one and floating one. This serves to maintain the anaerobic capacity without being in such volume that it lowers the general condition.

I have run up to 20-miles in your Wisconsin winter and found it no more difficult than training in Finland. It can be done. For improving the "Steady State", there are really no perfect substitutes for cross-country skiing and running, although aerobic running, cycling on an ergometer and skipping can be used beneficially. However, those exercises are psychologically difficult to maintain.

Regarding the use of anaerobic training with young people, it is wise to keep the intensity and volume down initially and to gradually increase it as there is some feedback from the athlete's fitness level. I seldom take notice of the athlete's age, but rather concentrate on the individual's reactions, since some runners mature earlier than others. It is possible to train 10-year-old girls and boys throughout the year on balanced schedule with continued improvement. There is no fear of "killing them off" if their reactions are monitored daily and they are not pressured into racing and doing anaerobic training too often.

As for the sprinters, they need a good amount of training if they hope to be in the upper echelon; they can only do a good amount of training when well-conditioned and when they have a reasonably high oxygen uptake. This oxygen uptake comes by jogging and using fartlek exercises over undulating grass such as a golf course for 30-60 minutes three or four times weekly during the conditioning period. Most of the world's best sprinters build such a conditioning foundation by long running.

Q: I'm 48-year-old and my daughter is 12. We started running 2 miles a day together. This program seems to work pretty well for us. After doing this for several years, we completed in a marathon, in which our time was 4:32. We were just about physically exhausted afterward. We felt, however, that we would like to run the distance again, but that we'd best be in better shape next time.

We begain to increasethe distance we ran each day. My leg muscles seemed to become stiff and stay that way when I did the longer running. My daughter developed sore knees. We eventually reached a point where we ran a week of 2-miles, 2-miles, 4-miles, 2-miles, 4-miles, 2-miles, and 6-miles.

Finally, we followed a 3-months schedule of training for a marathon where you would gradually build up the long run to 20-miles. Before tapering, we gauge ourselves on 8-minute pace and I was planning on running 20-miles but only completed 19. I tried to walk off the effort for the rest of the day, but felt terrible.

My daughter and I went on to run the next year's marathon in 4:08, some 24-minutes faster than the previous year. We would like to lower our time still more but without driving ourselves to the point where we get tired of running. Any advice?

A: If you wish to run the marathon distance, you need to run all the aerobic mileage that you feel capable of, allowing for your fitness level and background of training.

Your daughter, being only 12 years of age, is not too young to run this far; I would, however, not advise it, as it's very easy for those kinds of distances to have a ditrimental psychological effect on her interest in running in later years. Running should be very much a game and fun for a 12-year-old. It would not hurt her psychologically if she ran slowly and didn't attempt to strain her limits.

For both of you, it is a question of trying to run as often and as far as possible up to 2 or 3 hours in training on your longer days without it becoming a strain that will turn you off to running. I still subscribe to the theory that it is better to do training on a time basis rather than on a mileage basis for people who are relative novices at marathoning.

Learn your own limitations and keep within them relative to the speed at which you are running and the time spent running. It is not possible to state what an individual is capable of according to age or body built; we know, for instance, that youngsters 6 years of age have run marathons, as have very old runners. This in no way means that every 6-year-old or every oldster need run marathons.

Try to run what you would term a long run one day and the next alternate with a shorter run; continue this alternating day after day so your body has time to recover between long runs. As you get stronger, you can increase the total mileage and the length of some of the runs.

I would not advise using anaerobic repetitions in your case in an attempt to develop your anaerobic limits of exercise; rather, use trial runs and races from 3,000 to 5,000 meters quite regularly during the last 3 months of your preparation, while mixing in an occastional road race of longer distances once every 2 or 3 weeks. This will develop your anaerobic capacity sufficiently, since you shouldn't become obsessed with anaerobic performances; most marathon runners are running at aerobic speeds most of the way; it's just plain impossible to run a full marathon anaerobically unless you are disciplined enough to go into a small oxygen debt at efforts barely above the individual's Steady State.

Try to condition the front upper leg muscles by running up steep hills or steps regularly; these muscles are the first to tire and cause loss of stride length and economic running action. From your first step, think consciously about these muscles and do not lift your legs higher than necessary. Save these important muscles from tiring and you will run consistently better times.

Alternate/Substitute Exercises:

Q: There is still some considerable confusion regarding the proper methods of conducting the hill workout section of your program. It would be helpful to my own running program and to the program of runners that I coach if you could elaborate on the proper mechanical motion in executing the one-in-three hill, half-mile workout.

Further, I would appreciate any comments you have on possible substitute workouts that would simulate the hill-training program in area where there are no hills. We live in the great flat expanse of central California and we would have to drive many miles to find a hill.

A: Hill training is designed primarily to condition the legs. If optimal stride length and speed is to be obtained, power must be developed in the legs and ankles; hill training fills this need. This type of training puts spring into the ankles while developing power in the toes and feet, at the same time, adding flexibility to the usually inflexible muscles in the back of the legs.

Hillwork exercise involve springing up the hills with a slow forward momentum, concentraing on a bouncing action. The center of gravity of the body rising and falling brings some resistance to the legs and forces the heels downward, lower than the foreparts of the feet. This has a very beneficial effect upon the white (fast twitch) muscle fiber through the series of quick, short resistance.

The body should be as relaxed as possible with the hips held comfortably forward while the arms swing easily. Do only as much hill training in one session as you feel comfortable with, because you don't want to allow yourself to get sore or tired or sluggish in the legs.

A hill of 200 meters should be quite long enough. Do the exercise several times, making sure to give yourself plenty of recovery time by either jogging the effects of the run off or by doing some other training between runs up the hill. By the "one-in-three-hill," I mean a gradient of more than one to three, which translates into a hill of more than 30 detrees incline.*

This gradient is essential to building leg muscles that determine stride length. It is not so important, then, how fast you run up the hill, but that you go through the necessary motions. Drive with high knee lift at an effort that will bring resistance to the upper leg muscles. Grassy slopes, sand dunes or roads will all work fine. Running sand dunes also includes the benefit of building the ankles through pronounced flexing. For runners without the benefit of hills nearby, the same benefits can be derived from running up and down stadium steps.

Another hill training exercise is to run up a gentle slope using long strides and a high knee lift (=Hill Bounding). Push hard with the toes and ankles and also push the arms forward, first one then the other. This helps to dramatically increase the stride length. As with other hillwork, do as much as you are happy with and do some jogging in between assaults on the hill. Your legs will gradually grow in strength, your stirde will increase and so will your speed.

(*Actually, mathmatically, gradient of "one-in-three" turns out to be about 15 degrees; and in his original materials, such as "Arthur Lydiard's Athletic Training", Lydiard referred to the hill gradient as 5-15 degrees.)

(** To check out more detail about Lydiard Hill Training, click HERE)

Q: I have been running 50-60 miles a week for 2 years. Recently, due to time problems caused by work, I have been unable to run. But I have been juming rope. I work out with the rope 30 minutes in the morning, 10 minutes before dinner and another 30 minutes in the evening. How much difference is there between running and jumping rope? Are different muscles involved?

A: It depends a lot on how you jump. If you jump like you run, with a good knee lift, I believe it has value as running training. However, if you jump two feet at a time or use an action like a runner but hardly lift your knees, I do not think it is satisfactory. Apart from the boredom of skipping, the action of going up and down in one place can cause leg joint and back injury by continued jarring because the exercise lacks forward momentum to ease this effect,

The muscles you use are the same--plus the shoulders and arm muscles--but ankle flexing is not as promounced.

Q: I am currently running 30 miles per week. I weigh 150 pounds. This winter I will be cross-country skiing 3-5 miles per day. How does Nordic skiing compare in terms of caloric consumption with running?

A: When Nordic skiing, you are not only using the leg muscles as when running, but the arms and upper body muscles as well. As a result, more calories are used. It is estimated that a man of your weight requires 1080 calories to ski at 6 miles an hour on a horizontal course. To run on a horizontal course at the same speed requires about 740 calories.

Q: I will soon be stationed on a submarine and want to stay in shape. What can I do that will be the equivalent of a 7-mile run in a 400-foot submarine with narrow 75-foot corridors?

A: I would also like to konw the answer to being in a confined space and wanting to go for a run!! All I can suggest is you run in place, skipping while you run if possible. Do the Harvard Step Test exercise of stepping up and down on a chair. While on shore, get in all the mileage possible to compensate for the period of confinement.

Q: Although I've been a runner for 6 years, only recently did I begin stretching and flexibility exercises. I also enjoy cycling. I wonder, does cycling provide some of the needed streching or in any other way help the development of a runner?

A: Cycling is a good exercise for runners and can often help in the development of better running speed. You will often find that racing cyclists are good sprinters.

Suppling and stretching exercises can be helpful and can eliminate the possibility of injury. These exercises are worthwhile, particularly as we age, and a daily regimen of stretching exercises is especially important for runners. There are many varied forms of exercise and most runners have what part of their bodies need suppling. Besides a scheduled daily stretching routine, suppling exercises can be integrated into a number of daily activities--such as sitting in a lotus position on the floor while watching television.

On the other hand, we must keep in mind that running itself is the best exercise for the runner and the stretching exercises should be kept in balance with actual workouts.

Q: I've been running a little over a year and have also incorporated a rowing machine workout into my program. At present, my program consisits of about 2-hours of hard rowing and 15-miles of running a week. I also include 20-minutes of step running.

I enjoy rowing as much as the running. My problem is that I'd like to run a marathon in the near future, but find that with the rowing, it is difficult to run long distances--simply for want of time. Any suggestion?

A: To run marathons, you need to do a basic weekly mileage of 30-50 miles. I suggest that 3-days a week, you run for 90-minutes to 2-hours and, on the other days, leave yourself time to do all the rowing you want. It is possible to run and walk a marathon on less training; but to run all the way, you need several months of adequate mileage and long runs.

Q: I wonder if being a distance swimmer will help my distance running. How many years does it take to become a fairly good competitive marathon runner?

How many miles should I run per week and how should the miles be spread out? Is it better to run in the early morning or in the afternoon?

A: Swim training tends to shorten the calf muscles and tendons in the back of the legs and does not help runners as swimmers have their toes pointing outwrd in their kicking motion. It pays to run daily and as often as possible.

Aerobic running can be done anytime, although you should avoid it right after getting out of bed. The beginning marathon schedule should give you an indication of how to approach the training and freshen-up. It will depend on the training and the metabolism of the individual how long it will take and if he or she will excel.

Q: Where I live, there is no hill. How should I try to do hill training that you prescribe?

A: If hills are not available, substitute exercise can be used. For instance, bounding on the balls of the feet, as in hill springing, is an equivalent activity. To compensate for steep hill running, you should try to find a building with a good flight of stairs and use these to work on the upper leg muscles. You can also do "frog hops" by placing your hands on your hips, squatting down on your hounches and leaping forward.

Driving forward with long, high knee-lifting strides can help the ankle development gained on hills.

Putting Together A Training Plan:

Q: As a state trooper, I am reqiured to qualify in a 1.5-mile run twice a year. Since the program went into effect 3 years ago, I have had the fastest time in our district. My last time was 8:29 and I only beat the second-place man by 4 seconds.

I would also like to run my first marathon this year. I have been running 5-6 miles for the last 2 months. I am not concerned with my time in the marathon, only with finishing. Could you give me a training schedule that would help me in both distances?

A: Use this weekly schedule (=basic "Non-Race-Week" schedule) until you have finished your qualifying run and then switch to the Beginning Marathon Schedule.* Once you've completed the marathon, switch back to this schedule once more:

Monday: Repetitions 1500 meters by 3 or 800 meters by 6 times at easy pace.

Tuesday: 1 to 1.5 hours jog.

Wednesday: Time trial 600 or 800 meters.

Thursday: Run hills for 30-45 minutes.

Friday: Fast relaxed striding 100 meters by 10 times.

Saturday: Time trial 1 or 2 miles.

Sunday: 1.5 hours jog.

(* I would refer to the "Base-to-Race" marathon plan at Lydiard Running Wizard program.)

Q: I'm training for my first marathon, running 50-miles-a-week and plan to be running more than 60-miles-a-week before the race. I train on hills 5 days a week now--out of necessity. Six weeks after the marathon, I plan to race in a hilly 5-miler. How can I train to complete the marathon but peak for the 5-mile race?

A: Do not try to run fast for at least a week to 10 days after the marathon. Be sure you have fully recovered. Just jog and do some easy striding during this time.

After the recovery period, you can follow this schedule (=Non-Race-Week schedule):

Monday: Repetitions 1500 meters by 3 or 800 meters by 6 times at easy pace.

Tuesday: 1 to 1.5 hours jog.

Wednesday: Time trial 3,000 meters.

Thursday: 1 to 1.5 hours jog.

Friday: Fast relaxed striding 100 meters by 10 times.

Saturday: Time trial 5,000 meters.

Sunday: 1.5 hours jog.

The Wednesday and Saturday trials should be run at a strong effort to balance your training. The week before the race should be a freshening up period. The Saturday before the race, run a 3,000 meters trial:

Saturday: Time trial 3,000 meters.

Sunday: 1 hour jog.

Monday: Fast relaxed striding 100 meters by 6-10 times.

Tuesday: 1 hour jog.

Wednesday: Time trial 800 meters.

Thursday: 1 hour jog.

Friday: 1/2 hour jog.

Saturday: THE RACE

Sunday: 1.5 hours jog.

Q: Is it better to get your daily mileage in one dose or to spread it over several runs?

A: It is the continued use of the muscles that develops muscular endurance quickly. The development of the underdeveloped capillary beds and of new capillaries depends on this continued stress almost exclusively. Therefore, long runs are important to the marathon runner, they are necessary at least three times per week. LSD running has this value and some LSD should be used by marathon runners if they wish to see optimal results, even though most of their training should be within 70 to 100 percent of their aerobic capacity.

If time permits, the runner to work in a supplementary run, it will be to his advantage. However, the long run should not be shortened becasue of this.

Q: I'm 33 and Ive been running for about two years now. I've gotten myself to a level of fitness I'm very pleased with. But, at the same time, I find myself wondering more and more about the quality of my runs, itching a little get away from all the LSD running.

Basically, I want to konw how valuable running done at race pace of faster (that is, shorter runs of four to eight miles, and an occasional track workout) is to a runner like me, if my goal is eventually to run a marathon in something like three hours.

If I add one or two more long runs to my schedule, I'll have to throw out a couple of the shorter, faster ones. Where is the trade-off? What combination of woriouts is best?

A: I'd advise using my "Beginner's Marathon Schedule" for guidance.* The principles of training is basically this: You do all the aerobic running you can in a given time, say at least three months. Work on hills is very good for strengthening your legs and improving your anaerobic running.

For marathon runners, 5- to 10-km trials and races are best. Your performance level is governed by your aerobic capacity to exercise, not the anaerobic. You can quite quickly develop anaerobic strength either on hills or on the track.

(* Check out the "Base-to-Race" marathon plan at Lydiard Running Wizard program.)

Running a Marathon:

Q: Any suggestion for training for and racing a marathon?

A: Because the best results in marathoning come from training at efforts within the 70 to 100 percent aerobic capacity, most training should be done at this level. This brings the aerobic pressure onto the cardiac system in general and is the most effective development tool in training. This would involve running about 80 to 110 miles per week, with supplementary runs of about an hour a day at lower aerobic efforts. If the efforts are lower, then the mileage can be increased along the lines of LSD running. This develops the muscular endurance.

Body weight, age, body build, running economy, terrain and conditions can all plah a part in determining what suits an individual. But to run about 100 miles a week at high aerobic efforts for months, plus supplementary slower runs of about an hour daily, would seem to be a longcal aim for best results.

Several factors wil come into play to determine the stage where the runner will suffer from exhaustion: the speed or effort, weather conditions, several things. These factors can create lactic acid accumulation, hypoglycemia, dehydration, electrolyte losses, huperthermia, muscle-glycogen depletion.

It is the responsibility of the individual to sum up conditions on a racing or training day and to expend effort accordingly. It is possible to race a full marathon and not take electrolyte drinks or sponge down to maintain a near-normal blood temperature. However, the oppoiste can also be the case. Under reasonable conditions, most marathon runners who are well-trained reach the 20- to 23-miles mark before the feeling of exhaustion hits them, although this is a generalization.

I think that, as I've previously stated, mega-mileage has value, and that there should be a place for it in the overall schedule. I do know several runners, however, who run up to 80-miles a day for several days on end, though they are not men who can run fast times for the 42-kilometers and their lack of speed is more than apparent when they run in races of about five or 10 kilometers. For marathoners, some over-distance is possibly good, but not a great deal. The odd run over 50-kilometers during the early conditioning stage (the first two or three months) once every three weeks or so could be of value. I have my reservations about advising anyone to do more than that, though.

Other Aspects:

Q: I have been running all my life. I ran in the Heart of America marathon in 1970 and have continued to run on and off since then. The problem is that every time I start a running program, I am troubled by shinsplints. Each tie it happens, I try something new--but the only thing that works is exercising the muscles in front and around the shin bone. However, this doesn't help for long. What do you suggest? I am eager to start running again.

A: Shinsplints are caused by the consant jarring of the legs on hard surfaces, particularly when running downhill. The membrane between muscle and bone ruptures and expose the nerves in the area. A runner who overstrides is more likely to get shinsplints than one who doesn't.

I suggest you check the soles of your shoes to see that they are not rounded in the heel, because this means that the front of your foot strikes the ground very hard and aggravates the problem. Keep to flat surfaces for training, and while running downhill, be careful not to overstride or hit the surface hard with your forefoot. If you take long strides, shorten them until you recover.

To relieve the pain, use ice packs followed by heating pads twice a day for 15 minutes or more. A gentle massage will also help.

Q: I have heard over and over that training on a soft surface and then changing to a hard surface can cause different types of leg soreness and resulting injuries. I woud like to know how I should train during the transition from soft to hard surfaces.

A: You should train on both soft and hard surfaces continually rather than go from one extreme to another. Often when training on the roads at marathon conditioning, runners will jog on the grass in the mornings or as a secondary workout. However, if you train on soft surfaces and are to race on hard surfaces, providing you have good shoes, you will not be injured.