What is running endurance and how to make it better?
Speaking about endurance, we mean the ability of the body to perform certain intensity work for a certain period. The runner is considered quite hardy, if they don’t get tired quickly and or can continue the race in a state of fatigue.
Endurance depends on the maximum oxygen consumption (or VO2max) and lactate threshold (the start of lactic acid accumulation). Roughly speaking, the VO2 max is the car engine volume, it sets the upper limit of your ability to withstand the load.
The lactate threshold gives information on the ability of your cardiovascular system to support certain efforts in running. It depends on the skeletal muscles’ characteristics and training adaptations. The combination of VO2 max and lactate threshold factors (oxygen consumption at the lactate threshold) is an indicator of your “engine’s” efficiency.
Let us give an example. The engine with a large volume in the truck can accelerate to 200 km/h. But the same engine in a small racing car will be able to accelerate it to 350 km/h! With constant engine power, the speed increases.
Therefore, it is reasonable to introduce a third factor: efficiency (or economy in running), which determines the limit of speed increase.
There are general, special, high-speed, power, aerobic, and anaerobic endurance.
The term "aerobic" literally means: "with energy obtained using oxygen." Aerobic exercise leads to the development of the ability to use oxygen in muscles. This type of endurance can be developed through continuous or interval running (we’ll talk about this a little later).
Aerobic endurance can be of two types - high-speed endurance that helps an athlete to run at high speed, despite acid formation, and power endurance, which develops the speed of movement in a sprint, running with barriers, throwing and jumping.
The term "anaerobic" means: "without oxygen": the muscle work is powered up with energy obtained with no oxygen. Proper anaerobic training with the lactate system participation allows the athlete to withstand the accumulation of lactic acid.
The most important types of training for endurance development are permanent exercises with extensive repetitions, or interval training, with various series of repetitions and distances.
How to build up endurance
An example of regular training to develop general endurance, special endurance and speed up recovery:
— slow run.
- Goal: recovery.
- Place: forest and park paths, ground coating
- Heart rate: 120-140.
- Duration: 30-40 minutes;
— long run.
- Goal: general endurance development
- Place: forest and park paths, alternate plain and mountainous terrain. Ground coating with asphalt coating less often
- Heart rate: up to 145.
- Duration: 1-3 hours depending on your fitness level.
— series of uphill runs.
- Goal: special endurance development.
- Place: parks or forests with hilly terrain.
- Coating: asphalt, soil.
- Duration: 60-100 m distance, 3-5 series, 3-5 runs in each series (depending on the fitness level);
— fartlek, alternating acceleration and jogging.
- Goal: aerobic and lactate endurance.
- Heart rate: up to 170 BPM on acceleration, and up to 140 on jogging.
- Acceleration by time: from 20 seconds to 3 minutes (depending on the training cycle) after 1-2 minutes of jogging.
With interval training, the entire distance or the entire training load is broken into small repeatable series. A few examples of such a training session:
- 5-7 accelerations 200 m each (rest time 3-5 minutes, acceleration speed - 90% of the maximum)
- 10 accelerations 400 m each (rest time 5 min, acceleration speed - 80-85% of the maximum)
- fartlek, 1-minute accelerations, then 2-minute, then 3-minute, then 2-minute, and 1 minute of accelerations alternating with 1 minute of jogging.
Let's get back to our example with cars. The biggest engine (in our example, this is the VO2 max analog for a runner) doesn’t guarantee the fastest time in the competition. As a racing car goes faster, because it is lighter, and has excellent aerodynamic characteristics, so the best stagers show high running economy: they can run at a given speed with a smaller oxygen demand.
High running economy can help at a relatively low VO2 max (small “engine capacity”).
Factors that influence endurance:
- VO2 max. It is limited to cardiovascular system development, including the capillary network, but also depends on adaptation to the loads and trained muscles.
- Ability to work intensively on the lactate threshold. The high lactate threshold depends on adaptation to the load, which improves the ability of muscles to generate energy using oxygen.
- Running economy to convert efforts into speed. High economy helps runner’s “engine” increase the average speed. It can be developed with the help of a competently built training plan.