A BRIEF INTERVIEW OF COACH ARTHUR LYDIARD
The following was published in New Studies in Athletics Arthur Lydiard
Born: Auckland. New Zealand, 6 July 1917
Titles: New Zealand Marathon 1953-1955
Representation: Commonwealth Games 1950
Personal best: 20 miles -1 hr 54m 52.4s; Marathon -2hr 39m 05s
-When and how did you become involved in athletics?
In 1932, I was a rugby player and over- weight, working at a New Zealand shoe factory.
I decided to change my life when I realised that rugby had done nothing to re- duce
my overweight. I was discouraged when I watched the runners in my region. They run
very fast until they collapsed. Then I tried to develop my own endurance training
schedule by taxing my own body. By applying long slow runs I could reduce my overweight
and became kind of addict- ed to running.
-What have been the most thrilling moments in your career as a coach?
Definitely the Olympic Games 1960 in Rome, when three of my neighborhood kids Peter
Snell, Murray Halberg and Barry Magee -won distance running medals.
-What is your profession today?
Today I'm retired, but I'm still advising interested athletes and sportsmen allover
the world in training, equipment and nutrition.
-Do you have a family? Do you encourage your family to practice athletics?
Yes I have a wife and she is a good marathon runner.
-What are your hobbies and interests?
When I'm at home I used to gardening because I like nature.
-What sport are you actually practising?
Some years ago I had knee surgery on both knees, so it is difficult for me to
practice, but I used to walk. My actual favourite activity is Nordic Walking, which
is walking with cross-country skiing sticks.
-Are you still involved in athletics somehow or do you follow international athletics?
Yes, I follow international athletics always.
-How do you judge the actual situation of international athletics?
The well-conditioned people succeed. The African Nations or Mexico are successful
because they have a different lifestyle. To run is a natural activity for them. In
the so-called developed countries the kids are used to watch television or play computer
games. To catch up with the successful nations we have to develop early and naturally
our kids' ability to run.
-What advice would you give to young athletes (and their parents) if they wanted
to join athletics training?
Run far and not fast. Children have a good maximal oxygen uptake capacity, in comparison
to adults, which enables them for long runs. Coaches should avoid any anaerobic-lactic
work with their young athletes. The parents should reduce the expectations on the
development their children's.