Siobhan was actively involved in competitive athletics as a junior, primarily in field events (throws), and remains fit now through yoga, running and strength training. She believes that maintaining fitness is the key to preserving physical and mental wellbeing.
Over the years I became involved in coaching as my children were involved in sport. Eventually I trained to be a UK Athletics Throws coach and Endurance Running coach, a UKA Run Leader and a Level 3 Personal Trainer. I looked at good practice in the USA and became an accredited United Endurance Sports Coaching Academy coach. I also became a Girls Gone Strong women’s specific coach so my training approach can meet women’s specific needs as they move from phase to phase in their lives. Nutrition is important to most of my clients so I certified as a Precision Nutrition coach and this highly scientific approach to nutritional needs is especially helpful to those seeking to maintain a healthier weight. In 2018, I qualified as a Lydiard Level 2 Coach and certified at Lydiard Level 3 in 2022. This has transformed my approach to training runners; I now focus much more on efficient and effective training, on empowering runners to respect their body’s need to recover so as to optimise the benefits of training. Being an active member of the international Lydiard Foundation enables me to collaborate with a worldwide group of Lydiard coaches and to draw on the experience of coaches such as Lorraine Moller, Barry Magee, Rod Dixon, Greg McMillan who have a wealth of experience in this area.’
Why the Lydiard approach to training?
Despite maintaining a high level of fitness, and applying a phased approach to training, I constantly struggled with niggles or injuries after pursuing any structured distance running programme for more than a few months. I became really frustrated with always encountering the same sorts of problems just when my training programme should have been showing results. And, I observed that many other runners seemed to face the same types of problems. Then I learned about the Lydiard training principles and I felt like I’d been given the answer!
Arthur Lydiard is recognised by Runners World as the ‘all-time best running coach’. He trained or influenced large numbers of highly successful athletes such as John Walker and four-time Olympian, Lorraine Moller, whose international career spanned over 20 years and events as diverse as 800m and marathon! Lydiard also believed it was possible to use running to improve health. He trained men with heart conditions half a century before it became fashionable to use exercise referral programs in primary medical care!
The concepts in Arthur Lydiard’s programs are deceptively simple but make complete sense for endurance runners. Many modern approaches are based on his principles but, maybe in our efforts to ‘train smart’ and to ‘make every training session count’ we habitually train too hard and so actually neglect the fundamental concepts Lydiard employed. Some of us may not really listen to our internal feedback systems and tailor our training accordingly – we may believe that these systems are trying to get us to avoid working optimally! Sometimes, we get too focussed on the numbers, or on following the training plan exactly, and neglect to make reasonable adjustments to each individual session. And this, unfortunately, may be the reason for many injuries and under-performances. If Lorraine Moller could compete on the international athletics circuit for 20 years using this approach, I thought, maybe there’s something in it … and there is!