Endurance training is about developing your respiratory pathways so that you can perform at a higher intensity for longer, creating muscles that are more efficient and able to cope with the stress. This means making some tweaks to your training and ultimately your diet. The aim of endurance based training is to improve your aerobic threshold – this is the point at which your muscles being to work anaerobically. When you are working anaerobically you are using glycogen as a fuel source and producing lactic acid as a by product.
1. Aerobic Sessions
We improve by doing. Quite simply, just performing the exercise will help improve our performance. Long, easy runs at a comfortable pace will encourage an adaption of the capillary network to your muscles. This means you will be increasing the amount of oxygen available for aerobic training and improving the bodies ability to remove lactic acid when you do eventually train anaerobically. Training aerobically will use a combination of carbohydrate and fat for energy production, so you’ll only need gels at slightly longer intervals or during a big run.
2. Progressive sessions
These are runs where you periodically increase your speed so that ultimately the second half of your exercise is faster than the first. The idea is that you start out training aerobically and progressively (every mile perhaps) increase the intensity so that you finish your session training predominately anaerobically. To get the most out of these types of training you’ll most likely require extra fuel during the second half as the intensity increases. As a runner, aim for 30-60 grams of carbohydrate per hour during these progressive sessions, using GO Isotonic Energy Gels.
3. Tempo sessions
Anaerobic threshold. In much the same way that tempo sessions help develop speed they will also help build endurance. Out and out speed isn’t our goal, as it will impact our recovery and duration at which we can train anaerobically. Endurance tempo sessions can be done at a slightly lower intensity but while still training anaerobically. During these sessions you will need to replace a steady stream of carbohydrates to maintain your level of performance and improve your neuromuscular conditioning.
One of the simplest things we can do to help us on a quest to become our best is to analyse the composition of our intake. This means eating mostly carbohydrate as a fuel source. The reason for this is because if a largest percentage of our food comes from carbohydrate our liver and our muscles will actually store more glycogen as a result. This doesn’t mean increasing your overall energy intake, it means changing the ratio of fat, protein and carbohydrate that you eat. Eating a majority carbohydrate based diet will result in increased liver and muscle glycogen storage, to fuel running performance.
5. Immune system
It’s often said that in the quest for peak performance we travel right through the scope of being ‘healthy’. What does this mean? When training for endurance events we put a huge strain on our bodies. Our immune system becomes weakened and as is often the case our iron count can drop drastically low. Alongside including a range of fruits and vegetables in the diet, vitamin and mineral supplements can be used to promote athlete health.