Trail runners, road and mountain bicyclists, ultra-marathon runners, swimmers and other endurance athletes have developed cardiovascular systems designed to go long distances with a minimum of energy burned. With rare exceptions, these skills were not birthrights. Rather, they had to be earned through hard work, dedication and exercises designed to bolster endurance.
Running a series of set-distance repeat intervals or drills builds stamina and endurance, according to Rick Morris at RunningPlanet.com. He suggests taking a warm-up run and then doing either one-, two- or five-mile repeat drills. You need to know your maximum heart rate (MHR) for these drills. During your repeats, set a pace at 15 seconds per mile below your current training time. Begin to slow down 400 yards before the end of your chosen distance to cool the body down and bring your aerobic system back to a comfortable breathing level. You should be able to talk in a conversation without gasping for air. Repeat this drill four to eight times.
When training for endurance events, very few amateur athletes do speed work. But speed work is an essential tool for building endurance, according to Rick Morris. Take your warm-up run and begin to run a mile at your own personal 10K pace. Bring your MHR to 85% of the maximum. Bring your pace down to where you can talk without gasping for air and hold for one mile. Bring your pace back to 85% MHR and run one mile. Repeat these intervals for six circuits.
Lactate Threshold Runs
The goal of lactate threshold training is to get to a pace just below your lactate threshold---the point where you generate lactic acid in the muscles leading to fatigue and pain. Run a five-minute warm-up and "park" at a pace just under your lactate threshold. The point where you begin to feel your muscles aching is your threshold. Do not allow the pain to set in. Go to just below that point and run for two to six miles, depending on your stamina level and training experience. You should be running a pace two seconds per mile slower than your race pace.
Article Written By Eric Cedric
A former Alaskan of 20 years, Eric Cedric now resides in California. He's published in "Outside" and "Backpacker" and has written a book on life in small-town Alaska, "North by Southeast." Cedric was a professional mountain guide and backcountry expedition leader for 18 years. He worked in Russia, Iceland, Greece, Turkey and Belize. Cedric attended Syracuse University and is a private pilot.