Was Arthur Lydiard the best running coach ever?

Arthur Lydiard was really a very influential long distance running coach from New Zealand and his legacy has gotten important influence over the training of runners today. Lydiard continues to be acknowledged for making running or jogging popular in the late 60's and early 70's. A few have suggested that Lydiard actually invented jogging. Lydiard trained quite a few Olympic winners from New Zealand in the 60's (Peter Snell, Murray Halberg and Barry Magee) together an important influence by way of various other mentors on some other notable NZ athletes such as John Walker who was the first person to run over 100 sub-4 minute miles along with run a mile faster than 3 minutes and 50 second. He was born 6 July 1917 and died on 11 December 2004 at the age of 87. Arthur Lydiard has was given a number of accolades in his native New Zealand along with Finland where his training has been responsible for an increase of Finnish distance running in the early 1970's. The periodical, Runners World called Lydiard as their coach of the century as part of their millennium edition. As an athlete himself, he took part in the marathon at the 1950 British Empire Games, finishing thirteenth having a time of 2hr and 54m. Arthur Lydiard's influence on running has become immeasurable and way further than his personal achievements as an athlete himself.

Regarding Arthur Lydiard’s coaching doctrine, he believed in separating the season into different running periods or phases. The base or background period is the endurance period which was made up of a minimum of 10 weeks of highest mileage that the athlete is able to do so that you can increase their aerobic foundation or background. This is where his common 100 miles per week came from because he regarded this to be the most effective. Lydiard endorsed for your lengthier runs would be approximately 20 miles. These kinds of distances are run at a speed that was slightly below the anaerobic threshold and could be maintained as a constant aerobic pace. The aim is to build the greatest endurance foundation possible for the next stages. The next phase had been the uphill running period which will largely consist of uphill bounding or springing exercises to improve strength in the legs which was typically done 3 times a week. Some endurance aerobic running is still done during this cycle which might go on for approximately four or so weeks. The subsequent 4 or so week period had been referred to as sharpening or speed cycle in which some anaerobic interval and speed work running is added so the athlete will improve your speed. After that 4 week interval, the hard running is backed off and the concentration will be on staying focused and fresh for racing.

Many think about it improbable that any coach will ever have more effect on the coaching programs of middle and long distance athletes than him. The program that he evolved revolutionized middle and long distance coaching with respect to the level of work he assumed an athlete needs to be completing. The actual routines consisted of lots of working hard. Most running methods utilized by runners nowadays will track their origins back to what was recommended by Lydiard.