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How do I build my endurance?

October 3, 2019

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Gary asks - 

Hi, I'm a 44 yo Male. I'm healthy so far as I know and strong. But i feel my aerobic fitness is lagging. At bootcamp and martial arts classes I seem have good anaerobic fitness I can sprint, hill sprint etc well. But my running endurance doesn't build up so easily. Despite my efforts over the last few years I struggle to get a good pace over a few miles. What's going on with me please?    

Reply - coach Janet

Bootcamp and Martial Arts classes and hill runs and sprints as you have correctly identified are ANAEROBIC activities and are not the same as the AEROBIC nature of endurance running. They're operating on different energy systems and training in the anaerobic realm won't build endurance the same way that training in the aerobic realm does.  For most distance runners the key element is to build a big healthy base of mileage - running several times a week at a totally conversational, easy pace. Then when that fitness base is established you can work in some intensity stuff in the form of hills and or intervals to get to where you can sustain faster paces for longer periods, but you would still not do that stuff on every run... just a portion of your weekly miles would be done at higher intensities but the majority is still at easy effort. The bootcamp and martial arts are a nice way to build strength but they won't really help with your stamina and endurance in a continuous activity.  For that you have to do more specific (aerobic, not anaerobic) training. Shift your focus for 6-12 weeks and see what a difference it makes.  Hope this helps - Janet Hamilton, MA, RCEP, CSCS, USATF-level 1, RRCA Certified coach.