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Endurance Training Explained

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Endurance Training Explained

Training for an endurance activity such as running, cycling or swimming can be a daunting challenge, especially if you are unprepared or don’t know what to expect. Cooper Fitness Center Professional Fitness Trainer Christian Mazur explains that endurance training is “sustained activity that takes place over a period of time--such as a marathon or traithlon--and in which you withstand fatigue and breakdown of movement.” With the appropriate guidance and awareness of how to best condition your body for endurance training, you’ll be able to conquer your event with confidence.

The Foundation for Your Training

When training for endurance, such as a marathon or triathlon, it is important to start at a baseline of activity. The base should be a slow, continuous, longer-duration activity that you can do occasionally, such as a long run, ride or swim. This base sets a foundation for training. With your base activity set, try challenging your intensity significantly one day a week and practicing a moderate pace and intensity the other days of the week. “It’s good to mix a higher intensity workout into your fitness routine in order to challenge your system,” explains Mazur. “It will benefit your endurance by ratcheting up your energy output and stamina as well as your ability to manage more uncomfortable fitness situations."  

Add Strength Training

Strength training should be incorporated into the endurance fitness routine as well. Mazur recommends breaking up training into endurance every other day with strength training added in a couple times a week. Strength training is important because it counteracts the stress placed on the one plane of motion found in running or cycling. “Strength training should include a three-dimensional movement pattern program with exercises that test you laterally (side to side), forward/backward and rotationally,” says Mazur. “This helps prevent or lessen the potential of stress injuries that occur when you perform an activity over and over, including endurance sports.”

“Being a movement expert, I notice when people have movement pattern breakdown,” explains Mazur. “Many people are so focused on one particular activity that even when their body is telling them not to do it and to take a break from that particular pattern, they will  develop compensations as they continue to reinforce that faulty movement. The result of this neglect will be a repetitive stress injury, which when left untreated will cause worse problems."

Avoid Common Mistakes and Injuries

Mazur recommends the following tips for conquering an endurance training program:

  • Make sure to eat something before engaging in endurance activity that will last longer than 20 minutes. A smoothie or an apple with peanut butter are great options that will give you enough energy to sustain the activity.
  • Swimming is a great way to relieve your lower body from the stress that running or cycling (and everyday sitting and standing) can cause. Swimming elongates the body and can rejuvenate the body while giving you a great workout.
  • Doing a repetitive activity--such as aerobics class, running or walking--calls for purchasing professionally-fitted shoes for the activity. Each person’s movement is different, and shoes can positively or negatively impact your movement.
  • Strength training should be incorporated into your routine at least twice a week for 20-30 minutes. Three times a week would be ideal depending on the training level and the type of event.
  • Rest! Working out four or five days a week is great for many endurance programs. Don’t push your body too hard and expect it to perform at a high level five or six days a week for months at a time.

Mazur notes that other activities, such as yoga and HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), can also be forms of endurance exercise. In order to fully embrace a multidiscipline approach to endurance training, performing both cardio and strength exercises routinely is key.

For more information about Professional Fitness Training at Cooper Fitness Center, visit or call 972.233.4832.

Article provided by Cooper Aerobics Marketing and Communications.