Endurance training: What you should know

Endurance training is an inexhaustible field to analyze in just one article. However, we’ll try our best to examine a few important things that you need to consider; that is, before setting out on your endurance training path. 

To begin with, endurance is the ability of the body to sustain a prolonged stressful effort or activity. In sports terms, endurance can be aerobic, anaerobic, or muscular. 

Note that the term “endurance training” is mainly used for aerobic endurance exercises, like running, cycling, or swimming. These are all exercises that last for more than 3 minutes, and the energy required comes mostly from aerobic metabolism; of course, through processes that need oxygen. 

Is endurance training only for endurance athletes?

Endurance training is not only for athletes who run marathons, climb steep mountains, or swim 5km. To clarify, endurance training is almost a “must do” task that has to be implemented in all human life. That goes to say, there is a strong correlation between aerobic endurance (aerobic capacity) and well-being.

There are many research studies that show a huge reduction in risk scores for chronic conditions, like metabolic syndrome, heart diseases, mental break-down, even cancer, in people who train aerobically; to be specific, this needs to happen at least 2-3 times per week, and for 20-40 minutes.

Endurance training stresses the human body in a way that improves all body functions; from oxygen consumption and cardiovascular circulation, to molecular improvements, like mitochondrial genesis and increased activity of aerobic enzymes. 

Can I start training in the 40s, 50s, and 80s, or is it too late?

Human physiology is a magical mechanism where wonders do happen! By all means, you can reap the benefits of endurance training, no matter your age or your initial physical condition. Of course, you will not hit the Olympic games podium if you start training in your late 20s. Nonetheless, you can improve your quality of life, even if you start training at 80! Adaptations with aerobic training happen very fast, especially if your training program is structured; which, needless to say, can improve your overall health immediately.

What are the most critical parameters of aerobic training?

The three most important parameters that determine aerobic endurance are the VO2max, velocity/power at Lactate Threshold and Exercise Economy. In brief:

  • VO2max is the maximum amount of oxygen the body can use, to produce energy and cover the oxygen demands. 
  • Velocity/power at Lactate Threshold is the highest value of power or velocity the body can sustain; without increasing the blood lactate and hydrogen ions. 
  • Exercise Economy is the volume of oxygen required to move at a given speed, power output, or work rate.

What are the most common methods of endurance training?

High-Intensity Interval Training and continuous endurance training are two highly effective methods for increasing cardio-respiratory and metabolic functions; as well as aerobic performance. Still, the question ‘which of the two methods induces greater physiological adaptations?’ remains a major issue; both for exercise scientists and endurance coaches. So which is best, continuous or interval endurance training?

Most scientific literature shows that low volume – high-intensity interval endurance training induces similar or greater physiological adaptations; at least, when compared with high volume – moderate-intensity continuous endurance training. Indeed, due to the nature of interval endurance training and the intensity required, it seems to bring upon greater adaptations. But is it really only about intensity? You can read more here

Do I have to train systematically?

Well, YES! Even if the most well-trained athlete in the world stops training systematically, their aerobic adaptations will just ebb away; which means, all the hard work and everything they’ve achieved, will disappear into thin air. In other words, the detraining effect happens. 

Detraining is when you take a prolonged break from training, so you lose fitness. The physiological changes your training stimulated, eventually wears off, and your body resets itself back to its initial condition. Bummer, right? 😕

A message to take home

Endurance is synonymous with health; and, it goes without saying, endurance training is a must for everyone. Always remember, age is just a number, and consistency is the key. Have a nice workout 🏃‍♂️!

Train with Endogusto

Endurance training: What you should know was last modified: July 27th, 2022 by Aris Myrkos