by Thomas Kurz
In the previous articles I wrote about individualization of training and about increasing training loads. In this one I will give an example of a gradual increase of loads in accordance with principles of individualization and accessibility of training. The example is an athlete’s question on endurance training and my answer.
Question: In the past 6 weeks I’ve started my running program (continuous training with constant intensity), starting at 8 minutes and increasing by 2 minutes every workout. I’m now at 30 minutes, and I do this twice a week. Now what I understand from Science of Sports Training, from now on I should be increasing intensity. I currently run at heart rate 134–172, at my pace I usually hang around 171. What I understand is that if I increase too much on my heart rate, I’ll be working more on anaerobic endurance than aerobic. The book says that after increase in intensity I should lower the duration of the workout. How much should I decrease my workout duration after that?
Answer: You do not make it very clear but I guess that you refer to the first and second stages of continuous training with constant intensity, described on pages 202–203 in Science of Sports Training.
What follows is the commonsense explanation of two stages of this type of endurance training.
Exercise (in your case, run) at a pace at which you can maintain steady heart rate below your anaerobic threshold. Initially this pace may be well below your maximal aerobic pace (see page 351 in Science of Sports Training).
When during your exercise your heart rate climbs over your anaerobic threshold (you enter the critical intensity)—even though your pace of movement is not increasing—it is time to slow down, cool down, and end your workout. Actually, you should not let your heart rate climb that high, so next time you work out, begin to slow down before you feel that your heart rate is about to get above the aerobic pace.
Gradually extend the time you can exercise at this same pace until the duration of your exercise is the same as that of your target effort (i.e., a typical intensive sport-specific workout). Another sign that you do enough aerobic work is not getting winded during your intensive sport-specific workout.
Increase the exercise pace gradually, from workout to workout, until it reaches your target pace. If your purpose is to increase your maximal aerobic pace, then end the exercise when your heart rate reaches your anaerobic threshold, or better, before that. If you want to increase your mixed aerobic-anaerobic endurance, then set your target heart rate about 10 beats higher than what it is at your maximal aerobic pace. As the set pace of your exercise increases in subsequent workouts, you will see that it takes less time before your heart rate gets over the assigned limit, and so your exercise time gets shorter.
If you want to work above the anaerobic threshold, then you should do repetitive training and eventually interval training (see pages 203–208 in Science of Sports Training).
To manage your endurance training, observe yourself and if you see signs of insufficient aerobic fitness (see page 201 in Science of Sports Training), either decrease the volume of anaerobic efforts or increase the volume of aerobic efforts.
The heart rate range you exercise at shows that you have not paid attention to what is written about it in Science of Sports Training and in my articles “Sequence of Conditioning Exercises for Fighters and Martial Artists in Long-Term Training and in a Single Workout” and “Rules of Thumb for Conditioning.”
To keep your exercise aerobic, do not let your heart rate exceed the difference between 180 and your age, if you are older than 16. If you are 16 or younger, you may run with a heart rate of 165 bpm. This rule applies to the majority of your training—such as most of your technical drills and sparring or grappling. The reasons are explained in Science of Sports Training.
In future articles I will continue to show, on examples of developing other abilities and various skills, how principles of training are applied in practice.
References are listed in Science of Sports Training (Kurz 2001).
This article is based on the Stadion book Science of Sports Training. Get it now and have all of the info—not just the crumbs!
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