The objective of endurance training is to develop the energy production system (s) to meet the demands of the event.
In the human body, food energy is used to manufacture adenosine
triphosphate (ATP) the chemical compound that supplies energy for
muscular contraction. Since ATP is in very low concentrations in the
muscle, and since it decreases only to a minor extent, even in the most
intense voluntary contraction, tightly controlled energy
pathways exist for the continual regeneration of ATP as muscular
contraction continues. For continuous exercise, ATP must be re-synthesized
at the same rate as it is utilized.
What types of endurance are there?
The types of endurance are aerobic endurance, anaerobic endurance, speed endurance and strength endurance. A sound basis of aerobic endurance is fundamental for all events.
Aerobic means 'with oxygen'. During aerobic work, the body is working at a level that the demands for oxygen and fuel can be meet by the body's intake. The only waste products formed are carbon dioxide and water. These are removed as sweat and by breathing out.
Aerobic endurance can be sub-divided as follows:
Aerobic endurance is developed using continuous and interval running.
The aerobic threshold, point at which anaerobic energy pathways start to operate, is around 65% of maximum heart rate. This is approximately 40 beats lower than the anaerobic threshold.
Anaerobic means 'without oxygen'. During anaerobic work, involving
maximum effort, the body is working so hard that the demands for oxygen
and fuel exceed the rate of supply and the muscles have to rely on the
stored reserves of fuel. In this case waste products accumulate, the
chief one being lactic
acid. The muscles, being starved of oxygen, take the body into a
state known as oxygen debt. The body's stored fuel soon runs out and
activity ceases - painfully. This point is often measured as the lactic
threshold or anaerobic threshold or onset of blood lactate accumulation
(OBLA). Activity will not be resumed until the lactic acid is removed
and the oxygen debt repaid. Fortunately, the body can resume limited
activity after even only a small proportion of the oxygen debt has been
repaid. Since lactic
acid is produced, the correct term for this pathway is lactic
anaerobic energy pathway. The alactic anaerobic pathway is the one in
which the body is working anaerobically but without the production of
lactic acid. This pathway can exist only so long as the fuel actually
stored in the muscle lasts, approximately 4 seconds at maximum effort.
Anaerobic endurance can be sub-divided as follows:
Anaerobic endurance can be developed by using repetition methods of relatively high intensity work with limited recovery.
The anaerobic threshold, the point at which lactic acid starts to accumulates in the muscles, is considered to be somewhere between 85% and 90% of your maximum heart rate. This is approximately 40 beats higher than the aerobic threshold. Your anaerobic threshold can be determined with anaerobic threshold testing.
Speed endurance is used to develop the co-ordination of muscle contraction. Repetition methods are used with a high number of sets, low number of repetitions per set and intensity greater than 85% with distances covered from 60% to 120% of racing distance. Competition and time trials can be used in the development of speed endurance.
Strength endurance is used to develop the athlete's capacity to maintain the quality of their muscles' contractile force. All athletes need to develop a basic level of strength endurance. Examples of activities to develop strength endurance are - circuit training, weight training, hill running, harness running, Fartlek etc.
As an endurance athlete, you will develop an athlete's heart which is very different to the non athlete's heart. You will have:
The above for the average person (non athlete) indicate a probable heart block, hypertension, heart failure, a recent myocardial infarct or cardiomyopathy. Should you need to go into hospital or see your doctor, you should inform them that you are an endurance athlete.