The Unknown Truth about Endurance Training
This subject was brought to my attention again just a few days ago, so I thought I’d elaborate a little bit on my stance with endurance training and the best methods to produce the best results of performance.
Now it was once thought that to train for endurance you need to perform your sport endless hours of the day. Let’s use running as an example. Say you’re a marathon runner and are training for an upcoming race and want to improve your time from the year before when you participated. There are two ways the typical distance runner will change their training:
1. They will run their routes, building more miles per week up to the event, just push their pace more, trying to decrease their time.
2. They will run more miles, spend more hours running in their training leading up to the big day.
There are a couple challenges with these two training methods. Dramatic increase of overuse injury and burn out. Also, the amount of free hours in a day are a big challenge as well. Injury is never fun, and often hinders training, or even eliminates participation all together.
Now its not to say that injury can happen at any time, it can. However we can greatly reduce the amount of overuse injury by minimizing the overuse of muscles, joints, and tendons. And we do that by reducing the amount of reps or repetitive motions along the same pattern (like running).
Now I”m sure you are asking yourself how do we do that if our sport requires lots and lots and lots of repetition and an event like a marathon can take anywhere from 2-5 hours? An understanding of energy systems in the body is a great start and then utilizing that knowledge to reduce repetitive motion while not compromising the training effect is the key to a successful training program in preparation for Endurance sports.
Weight training, metabolic training are great additions to an endurance sport training program as they change things up from the repetitive motion of the sport but do not compromise training goals or the training effect desired. Performing weight training circuits of 2 minutes or more per movement produces a great training environment for directly training endurance. However, sprinkling in some heavier weight training for strength is also a good practice for Endurance athletes as it will help with hills, or an extra kick at the finish line.
A mix of upper body and lower body training combined with, yes some running ( or whichever particular sport athlete is training), will provide a well rounded training program for the Endurance athlete. The actual sport is trimmed down and overuse injuries are prevented, or greatly reduced, but your training goals and performance goals are not compromised, rather they are enhanced.
Utilizing all the tools in a well rounded training program, plus also understanding how the body reacts to specific training methods is an important practice when designing a program for athletes or for the weekend warrior just wanting to get in better shape. Make sure your training is enhancing not hindering your goals.
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