What is endurance training?

Endurance training involves the exertion of our cardiovascular and muscular system over a long period of time. Unlike shorter duration of anaerobic training (weights), they are usually much longer in duration (usually more than 1hour).

A high level of muscle and mental endurance is needed to withstand fatigue and pain due to the high repetitive movements of large muscle groups. Hence, long hours of aerobic training is essential to attain good metabolic response and cardio effects.

From our point of view, an endurance exercise is usually performed at sub-maximal intensity (easy to moderate intensity) with progressive intervals of short anaerobic bursts. Our body will involve different anaerobic thresholds, with high lactate production, causing tiredness and muscle pain.

Physiologically, it requires a lot of work on our respiratory and cardio system, shifting our muscle fibre types and increased blood capillaries. Proper endurance training targets heart and lungs efficiency, allowing more fats being burned as fuel for the long exercise duration.

Sugars and glycogen stores in our muscles and liver will be the first to be used up. Therefore, fat metabolism has to be efficient for the athlete to last longer during the race. Therefore the basic aerobic fitness has to be good before we move on to various training protocols.


marathon running, cycling, ironman
Marathon runners

Ways to improve aerobic endurance

Our program uses many different training methods to help our clients improve in their endurance sports. We start off by focusing on their lactate threshold and ventilatory threshold performance.

Lactate threshold meaning:

Lactic acid builds up in our muscles causing pain and fatigue. Lactic acid is a by-product in our body system during exercise. In simple words, lactate threshold is the maximum effort that a person can withstand for a period of time without giving up.

Ventilatory threshold meaning:

It is the intensity of the exercise in which your breathing suddenly becomes difficult and you feel that you need more oxygen in your lungs. The urge to breath faster and heavier when the threshold is met.

We will work on these 2 components side by side as they are closely related to each other.

Lets take running for example. Running is a cardiovascular exercise. In order to be efficient, the training process can be complicated. A lot of heart rate monitoring is required.

Many runners may find it difficult to hold a constant pace. Its either they are running too fast (fatigue easily) or too slow (not efficient).

We need to find the quickest sustainable running pace. It takes a couple of weeks to achieve this comfortable “fast” pace.


endurance running training program

Types of Endurance Training (our approach)

Long Slow Distance (LSD) training:

LSD training is the most basic method for a beginner to start off with. Each of these trainings are long (usually 30min-2hrs) and low to moderate in intensity. The whole idea is to work on a pace that is comfortable and sustainable over a long period of time.

Long Slow Distance sessions are great for long distance cyclists, marathon runners and triathlete. They are usually done on recovery days.

Interval Training:

The most common and effective training method to improve anaerobic fitness (speed and power). It consists of alternating periods of high intensity exercise with low intensity recovery periods in between.

During the high intensity periods, the exercise must be at all-out effort, pushing your heart rate near to maximum. The recovery periods (usually 1 min)  can be low intensity or a complete rest. We usually use a 1:1 work-rest interval.

High Pace Tempo Training: 

Training at a speed higher than the race pace for a shorter period of time (10-20min) non-stop. Then take a complete rest for a few minutes. Repeat 3-4 sets.

It helps to improve the anaerobic pathways for energy production efficiency.

Fartlek Training:

Fartlek means “Playing with speed” in Swedish. Is is very similar to Interval Training. The only difference is that it does not have any rest in between the session. Clients have to continue the exercise (running/cycling) at an aerobic moderate pace with a mixture of fast pace running, alternating between fast and slow pace at a random timing.

This method is great for improving running or cycling speed. It enhances the continuous bursts of power in your sport, making it more efficient.

VO2 max Training:

VO2max is also know as maximum oxygen uptake. This training maximises oxygen utilisation of a person during a high intensity exercise.

During the session, our clients have to perform a 5-8 min exercise (usually running or cycling) at a very high intensity level. Its just like doing a 2km run at your best effort.

This method can only be done on experienced athletes or clients with high fitness level. It helps clients to achieve peak performance and results.

Try a 2.4km VO2 max test !


different types of endurance sports such as running and cycling

Types of endurance sports

Some of the activities or sports that involves high endurance are marathon, duathlon, triathlon, ironman, Spartan challenge, CrossFit Games, Tough Mudder, soccer, cycling, wall climbing , long distance swimming and even combat sports like Muay Thai and boxing.

Such sports involve high level of fitness endurance . Take for example a 42km Marathon race. We usually don’t recommend beginners or clients that just started working out to take part in it.

For long distance running, its advisable to gradually increase your mileage. Always start off with shorter, attainable distances first. This is to make sure that enough fitness conditioning is done, before putting your body in such extreme stress.

Furthermore, without proper physical conditioning, it places a lot of stress on our muscles and joints leading to injuries. Muscle strengthening, stretching and foam rolling also needs to be done.

Lastly, a good nutritional plan is also very important for endurance sports. It requires a more defined diet that fuel such as carbohydrates are very important. Usually such diet plans are quite high carbs and protein, because huge amounts of calories are used up during a marathon.

Proper carb loading within the first 72 hours is crucial. On the race day, having the right amount of fluid and electrolytes is important too.  Pay extra attention to your thirst and alternate plain water with sports drinks to ensure enough sodium and electrolytes. Read up on the do’s and don’ts on hydration.


Wish to know more about our endurance workout? Do contact us !