Athletic Training by Arthur Lydiard (PDF)

Training Summary for Middle Distance and Distance Running based on the Lydiard Principles

"Arthur Lydiard was born by Eden Park, New Zealand, in 1917. In school, he ran and boxed, but was most interested in rugby football. Because of the Great Depression of the 1920’s, Lydiard dropped out of school at 16 to work in a shoe factory.

Lydiard figured he was pretty fit until Jack Dolan, president of the Lynndale Athletic Club in Auckland and an old man compared to Lydiard, took him on a five-mile training jog. Lydiard was completely exhausted and was forced to rethink his concept of fitness. He wondered what he would feel like at 47, if at 27 he was exhausted by a five-mile run. Lydiard began training according to the methods of the
time, but this only confused him further. At the club library he found a book by F.W. Webster called “The Science of Athletics.” But Lydiard soon decided that the schedules offered by Webster were being too easy on him, so he began experimenting to find out how fit he could get. Lydiard was not a particularly fast runner in his day, nor had he any formal education in coaching or physiology. He had never been to college.

He began running seven days a week, up to 12 miles a day, which at the time was considered exceptional. In 1945, at age 28, he began racing again. But while he was fitter and faster, he had trouble winning because he was hitting his peaks at the wrong times. Because his mileage was considerably higher than those who beat him, he became annoyed and experimented with daily
distances and efforts, with some days short and easy and other days hard or long.

Others joined Lydiard in training and thrashed along with him, though Lydiard still used himself as his principal guinea pig. He tested himself in extremes of heat and endurance – running up to 250 miles a week – and discovered that when he balanced distance and speed work, not only did his marathon times improved, but his track performances improved also. Where other coaches and runners had been
incapable of unraveling the fundamentals of conditioning, to Lydiard, his training experiments spoke volumes. This was to become the keystone of the system he would use later to develop Halberg, Snell, and the rest."


1) Arthur Lydiard – A Brief Biography
2) Introduction to the Lydiard System
3) Marathon Conditioining
4) Hill Resistance
5) Track Training
6) How to Set-out a Training Schedule
7) Training Considerations
8) The Schedule
9) Race Week/Non-Race Week Schedules
10) Running a Marathon
11) When You Run a Marathon, Be Sure That You...
12) How to Lace Your Shoes
13) Nutritions and More
14) Training Terms
15) Glossary
16) Training Schedule for 10km (sample)
17) Training Schedule (Your Own)
18) Lecture Notes