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Endurance Training Explained: Part 3

Keith run 1

OK: what we haven’t gone through so far is that the body seems to respond best to ‘regular variety’ in ‘aerobic’ conditioning. In other words, experimentation by Arthur Lydiard and his athletes over many years indicated that as long as the great majority of exercise was well within the realms of comfort, without distress, then the body responded best to a weekly schedule that had set types of workouts on set days, and within the week a good variety of surfaces, locations, and topography. The key staple of his program was the weekly long run; ideally 2 hours or more, once a week, for a mature athlete. His athletes in Auckland ran the 22-mile (35 km) ‘Waiatarua’ circuit every weekend. This circuit of the ranges to the west of Auckland had a climb of about a thousand feet (300 metres) which got very steep over the last few minutes, and then progressed to an undulating run along the ridges of the range before descending back into the western suburbs. A typical week during an aerobic conditioning phase could have a bit of spontaneous fartlek running (speedier running interspersed with recovery jogs) over parkland in the middle of the week, sandwiched between several days with medium-duration “bread and butter” steady effort runs, one or two ‘strong runs’ for up to an hour  and at least one longer steady effort of about 2 hours or longer. The ‘strong’ effort runs, as noted in the previous post, could be introduced gradually into a program. Early in the conditioning phase, there might be one strong effort of 20 minutes within an hour run, and by the end of the conditioning phase there could be two strong runs a few days apart, with efforts out near the hour. Younger athletes in their teens should all be able to respond well to longer runs over 90 minutes in length. If most running is done within the correct effort zones, then the body should be able to exercise every day and progress week by week as the mitochondria profliferate, the capillaries develop, and the oxidative enzymes hit high levels. Fatigue should not be an issue. In fact, after several weeks the running becomes very enjoyable. There is absolutely no harm to the developing aerobic systems by practicing legspeed running once a week, as long as the fast runs are RELAXED, and shorter than 10 seconds in length, with good easy jogging recoveries, so as to stay in the safe alactic/non-oxidative anaerobic creatine phosphate energy system, which self-replenishes rapidly. This work is suggested so that there are no ‘surprises’ when it comes to the more extensive faster work that will be introduced as we come into the racing season. Next post : The ‘GREAT SECRET’ for Middle Distance Training that is so basic you’ll wonder why no-one understands or values its worth!

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