Basic Training Principles for Middle and Long-Distance Running (booklet)

"Rome, 1960.  World record holder Roger Moens headlined an impressive field in the men’s 800m final at the Olympic Games.  At the gun, Moens led with a fast pace, and by 600m, the lead pack had thinned to five runners.  It looked to be a sure victory for the Belgian.  But then, something curious happened..."

So begins Basic Training Principles for Middle and Long-Distance Running, my first official booklet release.  I've been working on it for a very long time, and I am very excited to finally release it to the public.  Today marks the official "digital" launch of Basic Training Principles, and it should be available (for free!) at a number of Twin Cities running stores in print within a few weeks.  I'll make another post about that once the print version has launched.   Until then, you'll have to content yourself with downloading the .pdf version, or just printing it yourself! This booklet is free to copy and distribute, so PLEASE share it with your friends, family, teammates, coaches, and so on.

Basic Training Principles gives you an introduction into the structure of a proper training program through the eyes of Arthur Lydiard's legendary training methods, as first outlined in "Run to the Top" in 1962.  This booklet is short, gripping, informative, and (unlike some of the ramblings on this blog) written at a level which even complete novices can understand.  It is designed to be "an introductory lesson in fundamental training methods for young middle and long-distance runners," as the preface says.
This booklet was written to get young, promising high school runners eager to embark on a training journey and to set them on the right track for long term development.  But I think any runner, young or old, newbie or veteran, can gain something from Basic Training Principles.  And, since it's FREE, why not take a peek?  
The 16-page booklet is currently hosted as a PDF on Google Docs.  The image and text quality is rather poor in the Docs window, so I recommend clicking File > Download on the Google Docs menu to view it in its native PDF form.  As mentioned above, this booklet can be freely distributed, both digitally and in print.  Some of the photos I have used are copyrighted (used with permission of course), so you can't alter or reuse pictures from this booklet for any other project.  
Speaking of photos, I'd like to personally thank a few people who kindly allowed me to use their photos in this booklet.  Dan Mulhare from provided an excellent photo of a huge group of Kenyan runners out for their morning training session in Iten.  Dennis Barker, the coach at Team USA-Minnesota, provided a great shot taken by Paul Sanft of Josh Moen, Andrew Carlson, Jason Lehmkuhle, and Matt Gabrielson out for a long run in the winter.  And JJ Vico, a Spanish athletics photographer (, kindly allowed me to make a few alterations to one of his photos for use on the "wraparound" cover of the booklet (and with whom I correspond entirely en Español!).  ¡Muchas Gracias JJ Vico!

If any readers would like to print a large volume (say, 300 copies for the running store you own) and don't have an easy way to do that locally, contact me and I can arrange to print and mail it to you, charging you only for the printing and postage fees.  

Anyways, I hope you all enjoy Basic Training Principles for Middle and Long-Distance Running.  For those of you in Minnesota, keep your eyes peeled for the print release, hopefully coming to a running store near you.  And, looking ahead, I'll be coming out with a much more detailed booklet, titled Modern Training and Physiology, tentatively in a month or two.  A third booklet on injuries and setbacks is also in the works!  If you've got questions, comments, or feedback, click the "contact me" tab at the top of the page.  I'd love to hear from you!

About the Author

John J Davis, PhD

I have been coaching runners and writing about training and injuries for over ten years. I've helped total novices, NXN-qualifying high schoolers, elite-field competitors at major marathons, and runners everywhere in between. I have a Ph.D. in Human Performance, and I do scientific research focused on the biomechanics of overuse injuries in runners. I published my first book, Modern Training and Physiology for Middle and Long-Distance Runners, in 2013.

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