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RE: Wow, Lydiard training seems ridiculously hard
You have to read Lydiard's books to understand this better. Get "Run to the Top". Or get Keith Livingston's "Healthy, Intelligent Training" endorsed by the Lydiard Foundation.
Sprint training does not mean all out 100s until you puke. It is really strides and drills, usually less than 10sec hard efforts so you don't go anaerobic. It builds leg speed without beating you down. An Easy run and a few of those is not a hard day, but teaches your legs speed.
Hills - very demanding, but you don't run uphill for an hour. It may be 15+min of actual uphill running mixed with some downhill and flat striding (not so demanding). You run by feel and make sure you recover because it is about building leg strength.
Time Trials and DEVELOPMENT races are run at 3/4th to 7/8th effort with NO KICK. In other words, hard but not all out while focusing on even pacing and relaxing.
In his books, he ALWAYS advocates backing off it you are deeply sore or run down, but still run easy. Many people train too fast for their current ability and that is how they have difficulty recovering. Most Lydiard repeats are done at about actual 5K race pace (not your dream 5k pace). The supplemental Sprint training helps build raw speed for mile/800 type pacing and helps a slow improvement to your interval ability.
Yes, the schedule is demanding but it is set up for an Olympic Champion who has been running 100mi/wk at 6:00 pace plus easy morning jogs for base work. You have to scale it back a bit for a local road racer. But NO ONE can run hard every day. Lydiard was famous for 2 things: Mileage/Aerobic development, and Hard/Easy cycles.
Learn it, Know it, Live it.
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