In this article, I explain how to improve your running base, starting with understanding what this “base” or aerobic endurance is, and how to train it correctly to improve our race efficiency, especially in terms of metabolic efficiency.
When we talk about endurance running and the different types of training sessions required to improve efficiency in medium and long distance races, we always talk about “improving your base”, but what does this “base” involve?
What can you do for greater endurance?
As we’ve addressed in previous articles on endurance races (referring to medium, long and ultra-distance races), it’s important to understand the main pathways and/or metabolic routes predominant in these types of distances.
Based on this, we’ll be able to approach the training and nutrition plan in a way that makes our body as efficient as possible and understand how to perfectly manage the metabolic and energy resources required for this kind of long-distance running.
We’re not referring to sprints or explosive running, or races lasting less than 30 minutes.
So, when talking about improving our “base”, we’re referring to improving our aerobic endurance, or our aerobic base.
As the name implies, it will be based on endurance training.
Keys to improving your endurance base
What you don’t train, you don’t improve.
And this goes for the following points:
Change your mindset
Most amateur runners perform the highest percentage of their running sessions and training volume in training areas where there is no improvement of the aerobic base.
Benefits of training in these training zones (below or around the first ventilatory threshold, known as aerobic):
- Improved mitochondrial activity and density (mitochondria are the energy power plants).
- Improvement of capillary activity, and therefore, improvement of the energy and oxygen supply network.
- Heart hypertrophy, your primary muscle.
With all this, we’ll be able to teach our body to work more efficiently by the time the most intense workouts come around.
Otherwise, we’re losing all these benefits.
Run for longer
When we talk about improving endurance, we’re also talking about longer training sessions at a continuous and sustained pace.
Of course, the volume will depend on the time of the season , the previous experience of the runner, as well as the main objective of the training. All of this will be included in the specified training plan.
In any case, we’re talking about race sessions between 50-90 minutes.
They may be longer when preparing for long-distances, close to competition.
To run fast, we must first teach the body to run slowly, that’s to se, we have to train solely in those areas we mentioned.
This is the best way to make it metabolically efficient and to manage energy resources in an efficient way.
Regarding nutrition or supplementation, given that when training in these areas of aerobic endurance the fundamental metabolic pathway is the oxidation of fats, we accumulate large reserves of the energy resource and there is no need for a continuous supply of carbohydrates.
And don’t forget that we need to keep work at a really low intensity, helping the body learn to be metabolically efficient.
Recovery product to take after the race: Evorecovery.
Talking about rest as a fundamental tool for improving performance is nothing new.
However, the restorative power at the level of tissues, metabolism, the nervous system, etc… continues to be underestimated.
Quality of rest.
As these types of training sessions are conducted at intensities that don’t generate an excessive level of stress, a good remedial supplementation plan is necessary after those long and continuous sessions.
What workouts can you do to increase endurance?
The distribution of running training sessions throughout the week should prioritise a good combination of:
- Several low-intensity runs.
- One or two of high and/or demanding intensities.
Long (50-90 minutes maximum) and continuous workouts, as well as rhythm changes (fartlek type), are workouts that will help us improve our aerobic base and endurance as long as we respect training intensity zones.
For this, it is essential you carry out a stress test with gas analysis to determine the 2 thresholds that will help us understand the different training zones.
And don’t forget that this is something individual – it shouldn’t be calculated with outdated formulas that don’t take into account the real and individual values of each person.
- What types of Fartlek are there? We tell you in this Post.
- Polarised training to improve endurance: see post.