In 1991, Lydiard was invited to Japan by Japanese Amateur Athletic Federation for series of clinics. This is the script of his Osaka clinic with Nobby Hashizume’s footnotes. Click here to view the entire Osaka lecture script.
“Now in this particular case with this athlete of the oxygen uptake level of 3 liters, this is now the performance level. The athlete can do all the anaerobic training he likes but, once maximum is achieved, it’s physiologically impossible to improve the performance level by trying to elevate anaerobic capacity to exercise. So the only way we are going to get this performance level up is to get the base (=aerobic capacity) up. So if I can bring that base up to here (from, say, 40ml/kg/min. in the first year to 50ml/kg/min. in the second year and so on in the chart), I can improve the performance level with the same anaerobic development (on the top of the oxygen uptake level: see the chart). So the performance level is governed by aerobic threshold, not by anaerobic development, and the aerobic threshold can be improved year by year with the marathon type training, with the aerobic volume of training.
So I try to explain to my athletes, “You don’t make yourself great doing anaerobic training; you make yourself great doing aerobic training.” You also have to understand when to back away from the anaerobic training. You can do too much of it (to affect physiological condition adversely).
Just talking about aerobic development, we found that if we work on the time basis rather than mileage basis, we got better results, particularly developing young people. For instance, if we say we are all going out for 25 kilometers (=15 miles), some people might finish a half an hour before the others and people who aren’t quite as fit and haven’t got the background of training, therefore those people start to do too much training on the time basis. In other words; some people would only take an hour and a half to run 25 kilometers (=15 miles) in training, others might take 2 hours. The important aspect is that they run an hour and a half in relation to the fitness level and the background of training…”