Healthy Intelligent Training

Book cover of Healthy Intelligent Training by Keith Livingstone


Healthy Intelligent Training by Keith Livingstone is a modern look at the proven training principles of world-famous coach Arthur Lydiard.

The book was developed from a Powerpoint presentation and 20-page summary that author Keith Livingstone used to use for local coaches in 2005.

Book Review

The central message of Lydiard's system is that middle- and long-distance athletes should focus on the aerobic energy system, since it is this system that is the major contributor in events from 800 metres and above.

Livingstone not only does a magnificent job of explaining the Lydiard system, but also describes in great detail how and why it works. If you're in any doubt about the benefits of lots of aerobic running then this book should put every last one of those doubts to rest.

Full descriptions of energy systems and complicated-sounding terms such as "deflection point" and "glycolytic enzymes" are all explained in an easy-to-understand format for the layman, and are well-supported with analogies, examples, charts and tables as necessary.

And Keith's brother Colin provides illustrations for the book in the form of cartoons, that in Keith's words “ripped the guts out of what I was trying to get across in simple diagram form, so that by the end of the physiology section, a 12 year old could tell you what all these things represent”.

The key message of the book is enabled by the idea of a training pyramid, starting at its base with an aerobic foundation and with layers on top being added in order of increasing intensity. The argument is that the lowest and largest layer of this pyramid, the aerobic foundation, is not only the most important part, but absolutely integral to the success of distance runners. Without it the entire pyramid comes crumbling down.

While plenty of space is dedicated to the aerobic system, attention is also paid to anaerobic training and there's a full chapter dedicated to the important Hill Resistance training phase.

There are also chapters on nutrition & recovery, strength training, psychology and overtraining. And for those that really want to get their teeth into the science there's a "For the Nerds" chapter.

The book is littered with examples of Lydiard's methods working in the real world and Livingstone goes to great lengths to show how the training of many world-leading athletes is based on these principles. There's even a chapter dedicated to “How Different Athletes use Lydiard Principles”.

Who it's for

The book is described as being for "serious middle distance athletes and coaches", but the truth is that anybody who runs any distance at all will benefit from a thorough reading. Indeed, one of the book's key messages is that aerobic training should form the bulk of all endurance athletes' regimes and that this is true regardless of distance.

It's an excellent resource for both beginning runners as well as the more-advanced.

For the beginner it provides the perfect overview of the principles of training and will help avoid falling prone to many of the errors that new runners often do.

While more-experienced runners will find they frequently relate to several of the anecdotes – many of these about Lydiard and his disciples themselves - and advice given and will be able to combine their own experience with that given in the book to become a better-rounded runner.


The reader of the book will be left with a thorough understanding of the principles of the Lydiard approach to training and in no doubt of its benefits and will end up a more-intelligent, healthier and better runner as a result.

About the Author

Keith Livingstone, a chiropracter now living in Australia, grew up in Lydiard's neighbourhood and was coached by Barry Magee, a contemporary of Peter Snell and the rest of the world-class athletes that Lydiard first trained.

Keith is a former nationally-ranked distance runner in Australia and New Zealand, and performed well on the road, the track and in cross country.