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Lilac Bloomsday Association’s mission statement: To promote national and international sports competition and fitness education for the civic betterment, social improvement, and physical well-being of the general public.

Arthur Lydiard talk scheduled; legendary New Zealand coach to visit Spokane

Oct 13, 2004

Spokane, WA—Legendary New Zealand coach Arthur Lydiard, whose training system revolutionized distance running in the 1960s and influenced thousands of coaches around the globe, has scheduled a lecture in Spokane. Lydiard’s talk—which is sponsored by the Lilac Bloomsday Association and the Bloomsday Road Runners Club—will be at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 26 at the Lewis & Clark High School auditorium.


Lydiard was an accomplished distance runner in his own right, winning New Zealand national marathon titles in 1953 and 1955. But it was as the coach of Olympic stars like Peter Snell, Murray Halberg, and Barry Magee that he gained his greatest fame. Lydiard pioneered a system of periodization of training that included high mileage and hill work to build underlying strength. His system totally changed the way distance runners trained, first in New Zealand and later for runners around the world.


Lydiard’s emphasis on “building a base” was revolutionary when he first introduced it. In the 1950s most distance runners trained almost exclusively on the track, running intervals of varying distances and speeds, alternating with brief recovery jogs. Lydiard reasoned that preceding this kind of speed work with strengthening, through both accumulated miles and hill repeats, would allow a higher level of training once the athlete began track work. His system gained widespread acceptance when his athletes won two gold medals and a bronze at the 1960 Olympics in Rome.


After serving as an Olympic Coach for New Zealand in the 1964 Games, Lydiard accepted coaching assignments for the national teams of Denmark, Venezuela, Finland and Mexico. Along with revolutionizing distance running training, his concepts also influenced the acceptance of jogging as a way of maintaining fitness in the general public.


There is no charge for Lydiard’s lecture, but donations are welcome for the Bloomsday Road Runners Club scholarship fund.


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