What does it mean?

Well when I first trained as a PT we learned that you have different areas of fitness that can be adjusted to challenge and therefore force the body to adapt. These are the ways me, your coach, can get a better outcome for you AND to keep mixing the training up to continually challenge your body and stave off boredom.

You might have heard of these before they are:

FREQUENCY  -  how often you train

INTENSITY – How much exertion it takes

TIME – How long you train for

TYPE – the kind of training you do.

Which handily spells out FITT so it’s easy to remember.

As a trainer, I’ve learned it’s best to change only ONE THING at a time so that the body is overloaded (which forces adaptation) but not overwhelmed – which can lead to injury, loss of motivation and LOTS AND LOTS OF DOMS!!


AND this can be applied to running as well.

Think back to when you first started running – so you probably started to run/walk once or twice a week (frequency) the difficult was probably pretty hard as running was new to you (intensity), the time was probably about 30-45 mins (I am thinking of my C25K programme here), and the type of training was essentially interval training – run/walk/run with a bit of cross-training thrown in!

Then we come on to the 3-7.5k programme – the time training stayed more or less the same, likewise with intensity and frequency (as you’d worked up to 2-3 times a week at that point) but what we did change was the TYPE of training – so lots more hill sprints, cross-training and speed work – and this had a massive effect on your distance.

The above is just an example of how adjusting one aspect of FITT can alter a programme to achieve a different outcome.

Can you think of other times that you’ve adjusted one of the FITT principles to achieve something different?


What’s that got to do with ENDURANCE and RUNNING?

When it comes to running we have three areas of endurance.

  1. Endurance Running (running for long periods of time)
  2. Distance Running (running further and further)
  3. Your body (training the muscles to do more for longer)

And it’s these three areas I am going to focus on in this section.

Going back to the lessons I learned when I just qualified – endurance differs from strength in the approach (it’s always about the approach!). So if you wanted me to get you MASSIVE biceps I’d get you to do various different bicep exercises with really large weights at low repetitions (6-10 reps max) essentially if you could do a bicep curl with a 20kg dumbbell and crack out 10 reps – I’d double the weight of the dumbbell.

Just take a look at Usain Bolt in comparison to Mo Farah.

Bolt needs to quickly leap into action and put all that POWER into 9 secs of activity – look at his leg muscles THEY ARE MAHOOOOOSIVE – this is because he has trained those powerful legs by using short bursts of really intensive, heavy training. He probably does 2 rep barbell squats of double his body weight (I am guessing here and could be wildly off!!) but it’s all about low reps and heavy HIGH weights.

Now look at Farah – his legs look completely different to Bolt’s – those massive bulging Quads are replaced with leaner versions. This is because Farah needs to last for longer than 9 secs (ha ha childish giggle!), he needs his legs to keep him going for hours at a time. He has trained those legs by doing hours and hours of low intensity, low weight training. His squat routine would probably consist of lots and lots of reps with a light barbell (again guessing but you see my point).

Different goals – completely different training routes.