Lydiard Dies
December 13, 2004 6:12 AM   Subscribe

Legendary running coach Arthur Lydiard died this weekend at age 87. Q and A with Lydiard here. Obit via Boomberg here. NYTimes obit here. Lydiard had been travelling through the US on a final lecture tour. Among distance runners Lydiard is a hero. Two of his athletes won gold medals for New Zealand at the 1960 Olympics, and Peter Snell went on to dominate the middle distance running at the 1964 Games, taking home two gold medals, the only man since 1920 to win both the 800m and the 1500m. Lydiard coached Mexican, Japanese and Finnish runners to Gold medal performances, and his philosophy of training has influenced countless other runners. Finland thought that he was important enough to the success of their runner's to award him the White Cross (eq. of a knighthood), making him the only non-Finn to be given the award. Lydiard's approach was high-mileage, aerobic conditioning. Even his middle distance runners trained 100 miles/week. He felt that too many athletes were training for speed first and endurance second. One of his lectures, explaining some of the science behind his theories, is here.
posted by OmieWise (10 comments total)
posted by crusiera at 6:22 AM on December 13, 2004

posted by memnock at 7:34 AM on December 13, 2004

I think this FPP is too long. I should have done MI, I apologize.
posted by OmieWise at 8:03 AM on December 13, 2004

Bummer. He was in town over Thanksgiving and I meant to go see him.
posted by Frank Grimes at 8:03 AM on December 13, 2004

No need to second guess yourself, OmieWise.

I have always subscribed to the "run far not fast theory (except that I never get my shoes on anymore). It used to drive my high school cross country coach crazy--"How am I supposed to see anything or relax if I'm running a hundred miles an hour?"

posted by sdrawkcab at 8:11 AM on December 13, 2004

A sad loss - perhaps sadder that the first I ever heard of him was that he had died. Thanks for the links - they will be invaluable in my current pursuit.
posted by The Ultimate Olympian at 9:15 AM on December 13, 2004

Sad. He was a truly great Kiwi.
posted by isthisthingon at 9:25 AM on December 13, 2004

Don't worry about the length of the FPP, OmieWise. I just appreciate the rememberence. I was on a dropback week last week and only ran nine Sunday morning. I didn't hear the news until after my run. This coming Sunday I'm (hopefully) back to fifteen and owe Coach Lydiard a thanks for every step.
posted by LinnTate at 9:36 AM on December 13, 2004

Seems like a great man and trainer. I would imagine that being of another generation he did not speak much about the steroid and doping habits of too many ?modern? athletes because folks used to just not talk about the bad things as much.

The emphasis of oxygen as a fuel supply was interesting. From years of cycling; my legs never wear out; but my lungs will seem to never get enough air in them. Now I understand.

What wonderful training advice... practice, practice, train, and win.
posted by buzzman at 10:00 AM on December 13, 2004

My Dad was coached by Murray Halberg, and Lydiard would drop by from time to time. We were talking about him last night.

It's funny. I just dropped an obscene amount for specialty running shoes for my pissant 30 minute runs - these guys were doing 100 miles a week in tennis shoes. But still, who would be running for health if it weren't for Lydiard? Not me.

Lydiard ended up on the outer in New Zealand after the big successes with Halberg and Snell, but no one ever seems to talk about how and why he fell out with the local athletics folks. He became the classic prophet without honour in his own country...
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 12:12 PM on December 13, 2004

« Older New Power for 'Old Europe'   | the new (toon) boss... Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments