The philosophy of sports science about endurance

Sports science is the field that studies how the human body works and performs during sporting activities. Its main focus is, of course, to understand the physiological mechanisms that lead to adaptations; and to maximize the athlete’s performance, when preparing for races. That being the case, a coach’s objective here is twofold: on one hand, to achieve the best possible results for athletes; and on the other, to lower the risk of injuries.

Over time, sports science incorporated various scientific disciplines on the functions, processes, and mechanics of the body under exercise; to name a few:

Through the application of sports science, researchers gained in-depth knowledge of physical responses during training. Consequently, using scientific methods and data, coaches can pinpoint athletes’ strengths and weaknesses; hence, they can create individualized training programs, to help them reach and maintain peak performance with the least effort. In other words, to help them build endurance.

Sports science: The human body was built to endure 

Ever since human beings first walked the earth, they’ve been preoccupied with making the most of their physicality. If anything, they saw their bodies primarily as a means to an end — and that was none other than survival. Putting their bodies’ capabilities to good use meant a better chance of survival for them, and their offspring. 

Τhere was no other way for our species; indisputably, we needed to cover very long distances in search of food, and better-living conditions. We also needed to hunt down fast-running animals, persistently. To do so, we had to build strong bodies that could endure the effort, without getting injured or sick along the way. 

As we evolved, we’ve managed to become the best endurance runners on earth! Indeed, according to Business Insider:

when it comes to endurance, we can outrun wolves, cheetahs, and even horses.

In the modern world, millions of people — from elite athletes to hobbyists — engage in endurance sports, with enthusiasm; even though it’s not a matter of survival anymore.

Today’s athletes dedicate their lives to their craft, in pursuit of excellence. Without a doubt, they spend much time and energy striving to build endurance, oftentimes overcoming themselves. Besides, they know that endurance is key to a crowning achievement. But what does sports science have to say about endurance?

Building and measuring endurance with the help of science 

It is known that sports science and endurance training go hand in hand in the creation of a successful training plan; to point out, the former provides the theory, and the latter the practical knowledge. For a coach who approaches their art holistically, it goes without saying, these two are complementary. 

In this respect, an endurance training program cannot get an athlete very far without a strong scientific foundation. The most efficient way to build, measure, and apply the knowledge derived from evaluations is, undoubtedly, through sports science. 

A thing to clarify here: when we speak of endurance in sports, we usually mean aerobic endurance; as you probably know, there is also anaerobic endurance and muscular endurance — each of them serving a different purpose.

Aerobic endurance is closely tied to the development of skills and techniques; not to mention, their spot-on execution. Under those circumstances, a high-performing athlete has no other choice than to execute their technique consistently and impeccably; of course, with the least effort possible

Sports science in the service of coaches and athletes

Truth be told, behind every high-performing athlete, there is a high-performing coach; and a high-performing coach is one who possesses scientific knowledge. If anything, such a coach knows that excluding science from training would mean wasting away an athlete’s potential.

Modern coaches call on sports science to research, measure, test, and monitor. They work together with their athletes to interpret the scientific data, and translate it into actions; not only to improve the training, but also the race day results. 

At the end of the day, sports science is here to serve both coaches and athletes; yet, science only ‘helps those who are willing to help themselves’. As our ancestors have taught us, those who confront their limitations to overcome themselves — those who endure, and never give up —  are the ones who get to be on top of their game in the end!

Do it with Science!

The philosophy of sports science about endurance was last modified: July 27th, 2022 by Aris Myrkos