Endurance Fitness – Increasing heart and lung capacity

August 13, 2018 Uncategorized


Endurance exercising increases the body’s ability to perform work on a consistence level for a desired period. It trains the aerobic energy system, which require oxygen to help produce energy. The body’s ability to use oxygen to produce energy is measured in V02max. The higher the VO2max the fitter the fitness the more energy and fitness they will have. In many sports cardiovascular and muscular fitness capacities go hand in hand. Training for fitness is a complex issue that can be very sport specific to the athletes themselves.


Endurance Sports

Many sport have a varying level of fitness requirements. As well as different components of fitness that make a better rounded fitness. In running events as we get into higher levels of distant running the requirements are increased. Marathon and UltraMarathon are running event take this level to the extreme. Triathlons has fitness capacities from three different sports tied together for one glorious event. In reality every sport requires fitness to increases their fitness’s chances of success, performing their sport specific task to a higher level for a longer time. Here I will use Long Distance running in post blog to explain the basic concept of fitness in Marathons.

Benefit of Endurance

Benefits of better fitness training can be seen in the cardiovascular system, less energy expended to do the same task and a higher level of confidence. Cardiovascular changes include decreased heart and even flow of energy delivery. This training works the aerobic energy system creating higher resistance to fatigue. All these together will lead to a more confident faster fitness.

Training Run Endurance

Training for running events can include periodization, intervals, hard easy, long slow distance, flexibility and some strength training. In Periodization, a period of training that spans 4-12 weeks cover areas of preparation, base, build and race. Preparation phase lays the foundation to prepare the fitness for the hard work to achieve his or her goals for race day. This can consist of runs ranging from 1 to 4 miles 3days a week, followed by core and strength training routines. In the base phase cardiovascular fitness building includes longer runs each in a time of slow steady pace with a slight increase of 10% each week. At the end of the base phase the fitness should have sufficient fitness to initiate the build. The build phase incorporates interval training allowing one to maintain a greater pace for a longer duration. Interval training add a much higher strain on the body and must be approached carefully to avoid injuries. A correct warm up must be performed to allow the body to adjust to faster paces needed for interval training. To be followed by a slight stretching session to reduce tightness. The same should be followed in a good cool down then stretching to lessen the chance of injuries. It is also advisable to have a day of rest or easy workouts after the interval day, this can include an easy run or other light aerobic activities to allow the body to recover from the stress of hard interval training work. In the race phase, taper phase, the duration of workouts are shortened but the same level of intensity has to be maintained to protect the higher trained level of fitness that was attained during the other three phases.

These intervals will allow better fitness that transfer into speed over greater distances. With interval training we run the interval distance, slightly faster than our 5k or 10k pace, to be followed by a rest interval period. With the increase of fitness adjustments to the workout’s number of intervals can increased or the rest period can be decreased, giving new challenge to better fitness. An example would be to run 8 x 400 meters with a 90 seconds rest interval between intervals. In a few weeks as these become easier an increase in the number of interval to 10 x 400 meters or lower the rest interval to 75 seconds. Again another increase would be 12 x 400 meters or a rest interval of 60 seconds.

Examples of intervals: 10 x 200 meters work on the athletes stride, strength and speed, 8-12 x 400 meters are for speed over a longer distance with 90 seconds rest to strengthen the cardiovascular system, 4-10 x 800 meters increased fitness with 3:12 rest interval, 4-8 x 1200 meters 3-5 x 1600m 3 x 2000m pyramids 1200meters, 1000m, 800m, 600m, 400 meters with rest intervals of 200 meters walk, 5 x 1000m with 400m rest interval.

Another concept to follow interval training with a tempo run, 2 days later at least. The tempo run is a mid distance range allows your body to use the gained fitness from the intervals over a greater distance. The tempo run should be set to 15-30 second slower than the marathon race pace for race day. Complete a warm up of 10 minutes easy run, stretch for a while then get into the heart of the tempo run with distances 4 – 8 miles of steady run. Cool down period to allow the heart rate and breathing to return to normal levels. Stretching again can and will have added benefits. Yoga a few times a week can also have great benefits in flexibility and breathing.

Endurance Test – VO2Max

VO2max is the maximum rate of oxygen consumption during exercise intensity, it is measured in milliliters per kilograms per minute. Meaning the amount of oxygen consumed per each kilogram of body weight per each minute. There are measurements methods to accomplish this, but the best is to have it administered on a treadmill with breathing apparatus to get a very good reading. Other methods include running a test on a track or measured course. Another method is to take your race finish time and see where your VO2max is on a chart or in an app. Some GPS running watches can calculate your VO2max based on training or race times.


Endurance fitness is a complex issue with many facets. Endurance touches base with every sport and has application to life endeavors from heart health, lungs and physical strength. Training can improve our fitness thru the application of interval workouts.





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