The Lydiard Method FAQ

What is the Lydiard Method?
This year our long distance training programs will be using the Lydiard Method, one of most utilized training system for endurance sports worldwide by both recreational runners and champions. 

How do I register?
There will be landing pages on our website along with both the Detroit Free Press/Chemical Bank Marathon and Metro Health Grand Rapids Marathon websites.

Here is the direct link:

Participants will choose the distance and location that they will train.

They will then go through a series of questions to determine their pace, distances and specific training that they will follow.

The questions will include how many days a week do you run and starting run duration.

  • For how many days a week, there are options for 4, 5, 6 or 7. This is one of the highly personal questions that will add real value to your program. If you’re wondering what is best, we suggest that you start with a lower number and adjust to more days if desired.
  • For starting duration, there are options for 60, 90 and 120 minutes. Again, this helps with supporting different runner abilities and will provide a better experience for you! We suggest starting lower your most recent longest run. If you have not yet run for at least 60 minutes, we do not encourage training for the full marathon.


What do participants receive with the Lydiard Training?

  • A unique training schedule based on their ability and goal event
  • Access to a fantastic amount of information on training though the training site
  • An online log to track workouts and communicate with their coaches and team
  • Receipt of a daily email explaining their runs for the day and the next day


What are benefits for participants beyond the Lydiard Training?

  • 10% off regular-price products in store during the program
  • New Balance tech shirt
  • Lydiard certified coach on-location
  • Pace teams lead by team leaders
  • Past participants will receive a $25 Gazelle Sports gift card
  • Supported routes
  • Free informational clinics through the program
  • Medical professionals onsite during select runs to offer support


Can a schedule be modified?
Yes. Using the online log a coach or participant can modify or adjust the schedule.

What are the reasons to train with our group?
The biggest reason is the social camaraderie throughout the training journey. Other important reasons include the Lydiard certified coach that is on-site, being held accountable, access to medical expert support, and fun activities along the way.

What if I am not running the Detroit or Grand Rapids half or full marathon?
Participants can pick another fall half or full marathon and can add a different end date. They can choose an earlier date for any plan or can choose a later date (up to three weeks) with the performance plan. This provides the opportunity for a unique schedule for participants.

With all the personal schedules, how do the group runs work?
The group runs will be on Saturdays for long runs and Tuesdays for workouts (hills, tempo, intervals). All schedules will have these components aligned to these days. You will run with people running a similar pace as a team.

What is Lydiard Training?
Lydiard training is based on five critical principles:

  1. Conditioning – At the start of any Lydiard training cycle, there is a long phase of aerobic running to build endurance and lay the base for a strong performance on race day.
  2. Response Regulated Adaptation – Trying to run at training paces that are not aligned to your current fitness level is not a recipe for success. Lydiard plans adjust your effort levels based on how you are responding to training stimulus to optimize your fitness improvement.
  3. Feeling Based Training – Learning to accurately interpret the language of your physiology allows the runner to stretch the training envelope while avoiding the perils of overtraining.
  4. Sequential Development – Unlike many running plans that seek to develop multiple facets of running fitness at the same time, Lydiard training is based on a philosophy of developing the building blocks needed for a good race day performance individually over a longer training cycle to allow optimal fitness development.
  5. Peaking – The later phases of Lydiard training are designed to guide and sharpen the runner to a point where they are in peak condition on race day and in an excellent position to run the best race possible.


The Lydiard Training Pyramid

A typical Lydiard plan includes five distinct training phases over (ideally) 24 weeks.

While it is a longer training cycle than what you may be used to, the length of the cycle allows the safe development of running fitness as each phase builds on the previous one. The individual runs are not significantly different from what you might find in another training approach. It is the overall structure and flow of the plan that sets Lydiard apart.

Aerobic Base Building – a period of aerobic runs (based on overall time, not mileage) at a variety of paces to develop stamina and a base of conditioning.

Hills – Develops the leg power and flexibility that will be needed to support faster running while continuing to develop the aerobic base.

Anaerobic Development – Adds faster running (tempos and intervals) to prepare the runner to be able to handle race pace.

Integration – Race distance-specific tuning and sharpening including shorter distance time trials.

Taper – Final preparation for race day.