In humans’s endurance is our ability to exert or self for both aerobic and anaerobic efforts. It is our ability to perform and persevere over distances, duration, repetitions in all elements. An endurance feat can be defined in minutes, hours, days or longer!
What endurance training can do for us:
- Increased mitochondria – our energy factories.
- Larger stroke volume because our heart is beating more blood with every beat.
- Lower resting and exercise Heart Rate because of the increased stroke volume.
- Improved oxygen diffusion at the pulmonary vascular level.
- Increased capillary density to distribute oxygen to our muscles.
- Improved lactate clearing and utilization.
- Enhanced muscular endurance or resistance to fatigue.
that come from endurance training are truly amazing. To be able to get our bodies to run over all kinds of terrain for a 100 miles separates us from any other mammal. Yes, that fact that we can sit on our couch and watch football for 6 hours on a Sunday also separates us from most other animals. Horses can run a long way but humans can run longer and have beat horses in Ultra Endurance races on numerous occasions. Our endurance can improve with as little as one aerobic workout a week. However, when we move to two days a week the improvement is even greater and when we hit three days a week of aerobic exercise, we see the biggest increases in fitness. An interesting phenomena presents when we go from 3 to 4 days a week; the increase in fitness is not as large. This diminishing return pattern continues on all the way up to 7 days a week. Does this mean you should only train three days a week? Absolutely not. It basically goes something like this: at one day a week you might bring your maximum aerobic power from 30ml/kg/min to 35ml/kg/min. At 2 days a week you would climb to 42ml/kg/min and at three days you could hit 50ml/kg/min. However, when you go to 4 days you might only climb to 55ml/kg/min and at 5 days you could get to 58ml/min/kg. 6 days might bring you 58.5 and 7 days you might or not squeeze an extra .5ml/kg/min and get to 59. We all know that 59 is a lot more aerobically powerful than 50ml/kg/min and can mean the difference between Winning a race and finishing towards the middle of the pack. If you get fancy and progressive with your training you can even get more out of all your time and could take this 59 well into the 60’s. At some point you will reach a aerobic power ceiling and will need to get your body to get more out of what have by improving your speed or power your aerobic max and all subsequent aerobic function. This brings in the concepts of training zones, intervals, tempo runs, periodization etc…
The staple of endurance training that accounts for most of the adaptions listed above. Aerobic workouts are typically defined as an intensity below our aerobic threshold where you can continue on without finding it super hard to breathe or feel like there lactate or that burn feeling building up in your body. Many long distance races like run or cycling Marathons, Ironman events and Ultra races are done aerobically. It is safe to say that 70-80% of our training is done below our aerobic thresholds. I like to break down aerobic zones into easy aerobic, aerobic, best economy and strong aerobic.
Question: How do we become better runners?
A simple question with a not so simple answer. Becoming a better runner takes practice and patience. It is a complex balance of strength, body mechanics, technique, efficiency and fitness. Learn how to run well, increase your training capabilities and RACE.
Take your training to the next level with Interval workouts. Increasing your intensity to simulate race pace or harder will train your muscles to compete at a much higher level. Interval workouts will range in time, distance and intensity. Specifically designed to meet your needs and have you continually improving.
Expecting to show up to the start line and run fast without tempo running is foolish. Our bodies can become so accustomed to training at a certain pace that taking it to the next level can be difficult. Varying your pace with tempo running will increase your speed and running efficiency. Tempo workouts often near or equal the distance of an upcoming race but are done at little lower intensity.
Train on Trails
As a runner or cyclist, there is no way to refresh your mind and body that is more effective than hitting the trails. Don’t allow complacency to set in, schedule regular trail runs or rides that improve core strength, balance and run momentum.