ENDURANCE SCIENCE

WHAT GOES ON INSIDE?

You'll read a lot about Vo2 Max and Anaerobic threshold (or lactate threshold) in running books that get more in depth about the science behind what's happening in your bodies while you push your body harder and harder.

What's Vo2 Max?

This is the volume of oxygen your body can process during exercise. There are many way to test this AND this has it's advantages to know it and to actively work on it. There's the walk test, the jog test, the step up test and the run test.  Or in their proper (fancy) names The Rockport Walking Test, The Brigham Young Jog Test, and if you are a male and can run 1 mile in 8 minute, or female and can run 1 mile in 9 minutes then it's the 1.5 mile run test. The McArdle Step Test is the easiest one to do at home.

Some of these tests need your weight in kgs and your heart rate at the end. Others simply just need the time it took.

Your Vo2 Max score shows how fit your cardio-vascular system is and you can compare this to other people of your sex in your age group. You'll be given a result from poor to excellent.

You can work on improving this and see results by using deliberate practice so I recommend you DO make time to test your Vo2 Max!

 

ENDURANCE

HERE COMES THE SCIENCE

What is the Anaerobic Threshold?

This is the point where the waste products from running (or other exercise) mainly lactic acid begins to exponentially increase. This is usually around the 85% of your Maximum Heart Rate (MHR) - where the burning starts and your body desperately wants for you to stop.

You can get this tested at a local university or sports medicine centre. If you've read From Fat Man to Green Man by Ira Rainey he describes this test in detail. Basically they make him run on a treadmill wearing a harness, with lots of sensors on him and then periodically they test his blood, the treadmill gets faster and faster and eventually you either collapse (hence the harness!) or you choose to stop!

Interesting fact - Dean Karnazes (US Ultra Runner) - has an unusual biology in that his blood/body/muscles can clear the build up of lactic acid BEFORE he has to stop. Which explains why he can carry on and on and on - he has some special superhuman quality! Fascinating right?!

So, unfortunately you can't really test this at home, or rather not accurately....BUT you can give it a good guesstimate.

Again knowing this info can really help a you can then start to work on improving it!

 

Rest

I cannot stress how important resting is. When you overload your muscles you MUST give them chance to repair afterwards. Yes your body might be ABLE to keep going going going everyday without stopping BUT at some point it'll start to break. The sensible thing is to build in rest days within your running week. At least one but preference is 2-3 per week. Rest days are perfect AFTER a really hard training run like tempo or threshold runs.

ENDURANCE

RUN SMARTER NOT HARDER

There is a lot of evidence that shows that you CAN run marathons without even running up to 20 miles. It's all about HOW you train. For me the jury is still out on that - and I continue to read books to find out more - my personal experience is slow and steady increases to build up your body's resilience.

But work out what works for YOUR body.

I just got 80/20 Running - which is all about how 80% of your runs should be low intensity and 20% high - and this is a huge theme across many sectors too - Tim Ferris preaches that 80% of your profit should come from 20% effort - and i'll add a summary of this book when done. What is for sure is that you don't want 100% of your effort to turn into 0% action because you're crocked up!

Main takeaway: run less but make sure every run/workout has a purpose - run for zone 2 (build your base) run for tempo, run to increase mileage, run to increase Vo2 Max, Run to your lactate threshold, or even run to get your stress out. But don't run more and more and more - you NEED rest. You must allow time for your body to adjust.

If you need details on how to perform any of the Vo2 Max tests - and your results OR ways to guess your anaerobic threshold - there are other posts on here.

Just a couple of things for you to think about there.