Marathon champion presents the Lydiard way
1992: Marathon (Bronze)
1984: Marathon (5th)
1988: Marathon (33rd)
1996: Marathon (46th)
1986: Marathon (Silver)
1982: 1500m (Bronze)
1982: 3000m (Bronze)
1984: 1st woman
800m: 2:03.63 (1974)
1500m: 4:10.35 (1985)
Mile: 4:32.97 (1985)
3000m: 8:51.78 (1983)
5000m: 15:35.75 (1985)
10000m: 32:40.17 (1988)
Marathon: 2:28:17 (1986)
One of the world’s most successful female marathoners is in Bermuda to talk about the training system devised by famed running coach Arthur Lydiard.
Lorraine Moller will also pass on personal stories and inspirations from her eventful running career.
She competed in four consecutive Olympics, including the inaugural women’s Olympic marathon in 1984 and, at the age of 37, won bronze in the 1992 Games marathon.
From her teenage years onwards she applied the principles of the Lydiard training system and believes that was key to her lengthy career. She won 16 international marathons, including the prestigious Boston Marathon in 1984 and a silver medal at the Commonwealth Games two years later.
Another benefit she attributes to following Mr Lydiard’s methods is her relatively injury-free time as a runner, competing at distances ranging from 400 metres to an ultra-distance 50K.
She is president of the Lydiard Foundation, which promotes the methods of Mr Lydiard, who coached a number of world-beating New Zealand athletes during the 1960s, including double-Olympic champion Peter Snell and Murray Halberg.
Mr Lydiard’s training system is known around the world and it has been used and adapted by generations of athletes.
“I was brought up on Lydiard training. I was put on his programme when I was 14,” said Ms Moller, who is also a New Zealander.
She met the late Mr Lydiard on many occasions and he passed on training principles and advice including once, on a chilly day, telling her to run home and fetch a tracksuit after she showed up for training without one.
“Arthur was very passionate and very forthright. He was never my coach, but he was like a godfather to me because I was on his programme.
“He knew he was sure he was right [with his training method], and he was.”
Mr Lydiard became a national coach in Mexico and Venezuela. He also coached in Finland shortly before a number of outstanding distance runners emerged, including the great Lassie Viren.
Ms Moller discovered her love for running as a youngster when she competed in a 400m race and beat girls who always finished ahead of her in shorter sprints. “That day I became a distance runner,” she said.
She was 19 when the 1974 Commonwealth Games were held in Christchurch. Running in the 800m she set her lifetime best of 2 minutes 3.6 seconds.
However, it was at the marathon distance that she was to enjoy her greatest success, and she achieved an Olympic Games podium finish in Barcelona in 1992.
She was methodically following the Lydiard system, organising her training by working backwards from the target race day, where she hoped to peak, and planning specific blocks of training that needed to be accomplished in the months leading up to the Olympics.
“When I went to Barcelona it was my third Olympics. I’d had 10 years of racing at the highest level and I knew I would not get another chance [to win]. I was the oldest in the field, at 37. I had to distil all my experience,” she said.
“I was focused. I thought I had a really good chance of winning. The two things I did not like were heat /humidity and uphills.”
The year before the Games she visited the Spanish city and discovered how hot the conditions would be — and also that the final part of the marathon was uphill to the stadium.
“I had to conquer the hills, humidity and heat during that year of training. So I ran in the heat of the day, layered up, and I finished every run going up a hill. I also imagined myself finishing the marathon.”
On race day the temperature was 96F, but Ms Moller’s preparations paid off. “I never felt I was hot and the uphill was fine.”
She finished third behind Russia’s Valentina Yegorava and Japan’s Yuko Arimori. There was only a minute-and-a-half between the medallists.
This afternoon Ms Moller will give a talk on Lydiard Training and Peak Performance at the National Sports Centre, and in the evening she is the guest speaker at the Mid Atlantic Athletic Club’s annual presentation dinner.
She will speak about her own running inspirations and aspects of the Lydiard training method.
Explaining the concept behind the training method, she said it was constructed as a type of pyramid, with five phases. The first is the base, where runners build their aerobic conditioning with endurance training.
“The bigger the base, the higher the peak,” she said, describing the base as the ‘mortar’ that binds the pyramid together. The other phases include strength training and speed work.
“There is a timing factor which is all important,” said Ms Moller.
The training method is flexible and can be applied to meet the needs of each individual.
Ms Moller said: “A lot of people want to go faster, so they do intensive training. But it is very easy to overdo speed work.”
When that happens runners can encounter injuries or illness.
“You want to have a balance of the type of work you do in training and co-ordinate all the elements. There is a balance between workout and recovery.”
Ms Moller and Nobuya Hasizume run the Lydiard Foundation, promoting the Lydiard training methods. Mr Hasizume was coached by Mr Lydiard in the early 1980s.
Former Bermuda Day Half Marathon Derby champion Victoria Fiddick is a certified Lydiard Foundation coach.
For information on today’s training talk and this evening’s MAAC awards, contact email@example.com