Lydiard base training pace?

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  • #2095


    I am re-reading “Running with Lydiard” and I am a little confused by what the proper pace for base training should be.

    In this book, in several places, he speaks of base training pace in terms that imply a faster pace then other books. (ie: page 29 “just within your maximum steady state”).

    It seems to me that this pace would be pretty close to, maybe even faster than, marathon pace. I have always done my long and medium long runs much faster than other coachs suggest (ie: Daniels and Phitzinger). And I have been told that this is a mistake.

    Can someone clarify what “maximum steady state” means? To me, if I am running a 20 mile long run, then my planned marathon pace would be close to “maxiumum steady state”. If I assume that I could run a full marathon at that pace, then only doing 20 miles should be “just under maxiumum steady state”, as called for in his advice.

    And a 13 mile medium long run would be even faster than marathon pace to be “close to maximum steady state”.

    btw: On page 30 he specifically says that “base training” is not long slow running. He goes on to say that while long slow running will produce the same effect it will take much longer to achieve then to run at or close to “maximum steady state”, or a pace where you could go only a little faster for the distance.

    fwiw: I have always done my base training much closer to marathon pace than others recommend. Usually averaging withing 15-30 secs of planned marathon pace (overall for the full run, starting much slower, ending much faster). This has worked for me and I have been hesitant to slow down the pace; perhaps I have been doing the best thing all along?

    Merry Christmas to all!


  • #17103


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  • #17104

    Most of my base work is done at 1:00 – 2:00 minutes slower than marathon pace. I generally go with what the day brings me. Sometimes I am sailing along, but more than likely the mileage is slow this time of the year.

    I just run. When the day calls for long I go long. When the day says easy, I’m all about that. When it’s time to uncut the bomb, I’m generally able to to have enough in reserve to kick up a little dust. I don’t believe I have every gauged my base mileage or interval pace of off a guide. When I do speed, I’m out there grinding in what I figure I can survive the workout in. Believe it or not, there are times that call for a hard workout and if I’m beat I skip a day.

    I know how well I’ll run at about any distance just from current race times. If I can run a fast 5k or 8k than I more than likely can do well at the marathon. That’s based on experience and weekly/yearly miles. I can get ready for a race in 8 weeks.

    It’s all about the fun and it’s all about miles. Spend some time doing both and success is sure to follow.

  • #17105

    bye spam

  • #17106


    Double is really on to something. I’m probably one of those people who told you that marathon pace for a 20 miler is a bit on the fast side. That’s mainly because I have trouble figuring out how one could run for 1-2 hours a day every day, as Lydiard calls for, and still reel off 20 miles at marathon race pace at the same effort level as the rest of those runs.

    Lydiard is very hard to read if you’re looking for specific paces. That’s because he never gives them and he does that for a reason. The key is to first get in the time on your feet, then worry about pace. As his suggestion in the Lydiard Clinic shows, you’re looking at averaging around 1.5 hours per day at BAE and doing as many miles as possible at a slower pace. If you can do that and keep your BAE at marathon pace, I’d be willing to bet your marathon pace is too slow.

    In the end, Lydiard says run as hard as you reasonably can but remember that he expects you to follow up that 2 hour run at BAE or steady state with 1 to 1.5 hours the next day and he expects you to be doing 1 hour the day before, all at about the same effort. If you can run 4+ hours at marathon pace in back to back to back days and continue to do the same thing for weeks and even months on end, good for you but I’m betting this would be possible because your marathon pace is too slow.

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