Learn the Past; Find the Path for the Future

July 3, 2021 — This is the cover of famous “Red Booklet” (reproduction of this booklet can be seen HERE). I first met with Dr. Dick Brown at 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Dick Brown had 2 athletes on the 1996 USA team, Suzy Hamilton and Vicki Huber. He had coached many top-notch athletes including Mary Slaney to her double gold medal at 1983 Helsinki World Championships. I was there with Dick Quax and Dick Brown called him and wanted to talk to him about training. He brought this “red booklet” which was passed onto him by legendary Bill Bowerman. “I know I can peak athletes well,” Dick Brown said. “But I feel there’s still something missing. When I talked to Bill (Bowerman), he gave me this red booklet and said: ‘Go back to Fundamentals — Lydiard.’”

Nyla Carroll, the fellow Kiwi Olympian who had been coached by Arthur Lydiard as well a bit later as Dick Quax, shared a quote by Arthur Lydiard: “A wise man uses a schedule for guidance; a fool follows it.” On the “Noteworthy” page of this Lydiard Training & Academy website, I have posted quite a few “archived” articles by and on Arthur Lydiard’s training (I still have quite a few more to be added). There are some actually with specific training schedule for each event. Lydiard himself didn’t even quite like to put together day-to-day training schedule because of this very reason — “a fool simply follows the schedule.” For that reason, for a while, I wasn’t sure if it’s actually a good idea to include these “day-to-day” training schedules. But as I continued to “reproduce” all these articles and booklets, I’ve started to see something interesting.

His first book, the classic “Run to the Top” was first published in 1962. Its second edition was published in 1967. The original “Run to the Top” has 12-weeks track schedules. In the 1967 edition, these schedules were streamlined down to 10-weeks. As he did so, you can see more distinct “pattern” in these schedules. There is a small green booklet called “Arthur Lydiard’s Running Training Schedules that Lydiard put together for US Track & Field News. The first edition was in 1965. The second edition was in 1970. There are changes, not only from 3-months (12-weeks) down to 10-weeks, but there are also other evolution; his Cross Country schedules were even more streamlined. His new book, “Run — the Lydiard Way” was published in 1978. Its newer edition came out in 1983 as “Running with Lydiard”. His last book was “Running to the Top” that came out in 1997. The most intriguing part was the Marathon Schedule. I can see his “struggle” in the final few weeks from one publication to the next. There are also some changes in “terminologies” which I have noticed many people seem to get all bent out of shape with.

It is a well-known story that Lydiard used himself as a guinea pig to come up with this “Lydiard System” back in the 1950s. It took him some 13-years to come up with this System. Recently I was told that there are some people who claim they “accompanied Arthur on his last US lecture tour” and insinuate they had (almost) mastered this System. Unfortunately, as the original organizer of the last 2 US lecture tour for him, I can say that there was nobody who actually “accompanied” him (unfortunately…). It was all “grassroots” project and it was all done by local supporters. These guys who “claim” they accompanied Arthur Lydiard actually did so for a couple of days. This is grossly misleading and totally disingenuous but also I actually found this nothing but an insult to these local organizers as well as Arthur Lydiard himself who spent literally decades to figure out this System. Furthermore, what really impressed me about Arthur Lydiard was his never-ending “intellectual curiousity”. I remember one day in 1984 when I was in New Zealand with Arthur, he had a small booklet on his training in Swedish language. He was going over it and working on updating some parts. Remember the old Nike ad that read: “There is No Finish Line”? With Arthur, there was No Finish Line. He was always working on his own work, refining it and trying to streamline it. Surely, you cannot “master it” in 2 days!!

My intent purpose of reproducing many of “old” literatures with day-to-day schedules is actually in hopes that you would “study” these schedules, not just simply getting it out and “follow” it. In fact, I would someday post side-by-side comparison of some of these “old” and “new” schedules and add some “analysis” as well. I truly believe, by looking at and studying the original writings and then study the “evolution” of his writings; we get better and clearer understanding of Principles of his System. — Nobby Hashizume