- Paperback: 272 pages
- Publisher: Meyer & Meyer Fachverlag und Buchhandel GmbH (October 15, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1841263117
- ISBN-13: 978-1841263113
- Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 0.5 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 30 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #274,469 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Healthy Intelligent Training: The Proven Principles of Arthur Lydiard Paperback – October 15, 2010
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From the Back Cover
Healthy Intelligent Training is for all serious middle distance athletes and coaches. This book is based on the proven principles of Arthur Lydiard, the Runner's World Coach of the Century.
About the Author
Keith Livingstone was nationally ranked as a distance runner in both New Zealand and Australia, over track, road, and cross-country. He has won a number of regional and national titles.
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There are three things that I really liked about this book as a companion piece to anyone who has read or studied the work of Arthur Lydiard: 1) His work includes more charts than the original master; 2) because his work is later, he can comment on later interpretations of Lydiard's principles (his critique of the Australian or "complex" system is spot on based on my experiences in what I later realized was this method, which insists that one do nothing but steady runs for the first two years of building up and incorporating intervals and speed work every week) and provide more science to back it up; 3) on a more superficial level, this book was more aesthetically pleasing with full-color pictures and illustrations to lighten the mood.
Because Livingstone trains high-school age students rather than elite world-class runners, some of his examples may seem more relevant to those of us a little lower on the mountain.
- this is my antidote to the "quick fix" training philosophies bantered about in contemporary running circles; Lydiard's methods are timeless and are well summarized by Livingstone
- pair this with a search through the LetsRun message boards for "Lydiard" to get a thorough presentation of Lydiard's approach
- keep in mind that Lydiard's methods were somewhat fluid; so there is some variability allowed, but this book captures the essence of his philosophy
- there is some fake science in this book; feel free to skip through the parts about Diet Soda, etc.
- I don't advocate for drinking Diet Soda, junk food, etc., but the 'studies' cited by Livingstone are not high quality studies
I have adopted the outlined training plan on page 265 about a week ago, and I can tell you there is already progress. With nine years of running under the belt, you can hardly say that I am a beginner. There is actually so much progress that I regret not having started earlier. Until then, my training was largely based around the ideas found in Daniels’ Running Formula, which is also excellent. I just think that I thrive more on aerobic work and higher mileage than on interval-based training.
The author, Keith Livingstone, knew Arthur Lydiard and many of those who were in his stable of world-class runners. In addition, Livingstone was coached by Barry Magee, a contemporary of Snell and Halberg in Lydiard's first and most famous group of world-class runners. Using Lydiard-style training programs, Livingstone achieved personal bests of 3000m in 8:06 and 10,000m in 29:19. It is therefore clear that Livingstone writes with the authority of one who has not only acquired a deep intellectual understanding of Lydiard's training program, but has also successfully applied that understanding to his own training to produce significant results.
Every runner I know who has accumulated more than 20 years' running experience attests to the fundamental wisdom of Arthur Lydiard's training principles. The development of an extensive aerobic foundation through many miles of sub-threshold running (and not 100 miles per week of Long Slow Distance, as some have erroneously characterized it) produces amazing long-term results for competitors at all distances from 800m through the marathon. It requires patience and dedication, but it works, as proven by the results achieved by Snell, Halberg, Viren, Walker, and many others.
But even (or especially) for those of us who do not run to compete, Lydiard's training guidance has proven to be profoundly relevant. The gentle, sub-threshold runs he advocated are so energizing and enjoyable that one actually awakens most mornings with a strong desire to get out the door and run; anyone who has ever had to "flog" himself into completing a daily workout will immediately appreciate the profound significance of this basic psychological fact. The aerobic training, performed at the appropriate level of intensity, leaves one pleasantly tired; I have often heard it described as a pleasant feeling of "hollowness." (It is in sharp contrast with the wretched feelings one acquires from the effects of acidosis, brought on by a brutal interval session.) One quickly recovers from this sort of aerobic stress, feeling strong and prepared to run again the next day and the next, thus ensuring a regularity and consistency to training that can otherwise be quite elusive. The development is slow, safe, steady, measurable, and most importantly, enjoyable and therefore sustainable.
The young, inexperienced runner is particularly susceptible to the questionable advice of those who recommend emulation of the training used by current world champions. When I was 13, my gym coach distributed a pamphlet from the President's Council on Physical Fitness that had a brief discussion of the training of the great Jim Ryun. There was actually a paragraph that glibly encouraged the young, beginning runner to "try the following workout," before listing one of Ryun's many legendary interval workouts: 20 x 400m run in under 60 sec with a short recover jog in between. With coaching advice like this, it was a miracle that we didn't all die on the track. There is simply no need to foist this sort of bad advice on today's young runners. We are wiser now, and we know how young runners can safely achieve their potential through enjoyable, sustainable training. This is what Arthur Lydiard advocated and what Livingstone presents in his book.
One might reasonably think that the best place to learn about Arthur Lydiard's ideas on training would be from one of the many books that he co-authored with Garth Gilmour; after all , it's better to go directly to the source, right? Not in this case. I have studied most of Lydiard's books, and it is clear that Livingstone has done a far, far better job of distilling and presenting the essence of Lydiard's system, primarily because Livingstone is willing to be far more explicit than Lydiard ever was in his books. (The great Peter Snell, Lydiard's most famous athlete, went on to earn a doctorate in exercise physiology; I would love to see Dr. Snell write a book such as Livingstone's just for the alternate perspective it would provide.) The discussion in Part 1 of the use of heart rate to gauge the various training intensities, for but one example of specificity, is masterful. Once the beginner determines his resting and maximal heart rates, he can easily compute heart rates that correspond with VO2 max pace, anaerobic threshold pace, the so-called "`bread and butter" zone where most of the daily runs will be completed, and aerobic threshold pace, the gentlest pace that one will typically ever run during recoveries and between harder runs. This material provides a pragmatic, workable method that the beginner can actually use to gauge intensity, thereby helping to correct the single most common mistake that beginning runners make-----running too fast.
Out of all the publications on distance running currently available, this would be my first recommendation to any young runner (or a beginner of any age) who asked for my advice. Dr. Livingstone provides just enough specificity to guide the intelligent beginner in constructing a training program custom-tailored to his own unique needs. For the truly serious runner who also wants to learn more about the physiology behind Lydiard's programs, I would recommend as supplementary reading the definitive book "The Lore of Running, 4th Ed.," by Dr. Timothy Noakes (a book that Livingstone himself recommends).