Krzyszkowiak rose to the international athletics scene at the 1956 Summer Olympics, where he missed the bronze medal in the 10,000 metres by 7.4 seconds, finishing fourth. At the 1958 European Championships in Athletics, Krzyszkowiak established himself as one of the best European long distance runners by winning both the 5000 and 10,000 metres. Just two months before the Rome Olympics, Krzyszkowiak ran his first world record, clocking 8:31.4 in the 3000 m steeplechase.
After the Olympics, Krzyszkowiak decided to concentrate on the 3000 m steeplechase event, running his second world record in 1961, but was forced to retire from sports prematurely in 1963 due to injuries.
After his running career, he worked as a coach. Zdzisław Krzyszkowiak died in Warsaw, aged 73.
Zdzisław Krzyszkowiak Stadium in Bydgoszcz was named in his honor.