The first thing individuals looking to improve their triathlon run endurance must keep in mind is the level they belong to i.e. whether they are experienced triathletes or are new to the field. Although the basic training is usually very similar both for the advanced triathletes and the beginners, there’s one significant difference. There advanced athletes need to prepare themselves for much longer runs.
The Basics of Training for Endurance
When training for endurance, you’ll come across primarily three different forms of training; they are:
Extensive endurance or EE- This type of training involves comfortable breathing and it will take a while for you to get fatigued.
Intermediate endurance or INE- Experts describe this form of endurance training as the uncomfortable comfortable type. It’s true that INE is not difficult, but it’s not easy either. In some running circle, INE is referred to as TEMPO.
Intensive endurance or IE- This one is the hardest one of the lot and cannot be categorized as comfortable.
Your training instructor will pick the suitable type for you depending on your endurance level. Training for endurance should improve your fatigue resistance and provide you with the ability to run for a longer duration at a similar pace.
Primary benefits of endurance training
Endurance training helps triathletes to try more intense speed training, which in turn increases their speed.
It allows triathletes to run at a speed very close to their best single discipline speed (the speed at which they can run when taking part in an event just as a runner).
How will you know what’s the right training intensity for you?
If you are training under a professional instructor or trainer, you will not have any confusion as the expert will guide you about the suitable training intensity. However, if you are training alone, this question is extremely pertinent.
The best way of identifying the intensity that would match your ability is calibrating yourself. You can use the electronic devices capable of telling you your speed, heart rate etc. However, make sure those toys don’t dictate your training; they should be used just for supporting your run. For ensuring that the training you are undergoing is having a positive impact on you and your ability as a triathlete, you must know what kind of feeling the training must offer. You can determine whether you are running too far or far enough only when you understand what the training should make you feel.
There are quite a few reasons why an individual’s heart rate might be misleading. However, still you must keep an eye on it. On most occasions, getting lower heart rates for the same speeds indicates that your endurance training is working for you. That’s because endurance training tends to increase the strength and size of our heart and alters the composition of our blood. The combination of increased volume of blood and a stronger, larger heart decreases the number of heartbeats an individual needs for transporting oxygen in his/her blood to the muscles for a specific speed. However, it must be noted that you will not see the heart rate for a particular speed decreases every week; it’s a change that would take several months to occur.
About Types of Endurance Training
Extensive endurance- As mentioned above, this is the triathlon endurance training of lowest intensity. EE training sessions take place at a controlled, comfortable pace. As an EE training session continues, you will be feeling the same physically, but your legs will start feeling less fresh after a while. Then, as more time will pass, your legs will become a little fatigued. Tiring of legs is actually a sign indicating that you have started challenging your EE capacity. Every individual, irrespective of his or her endurance level, will reach this stage. Your level of endurance would decide the time you’ll take for reaching the stage. If you are a beginner, you will be reaching the point in just 15-20 minutes. Individuals, who are better trained, on the other hand, might need 45 minutes or even more than that for reaching the point.
Intermediate endurance- This uncomfortable comfortable training type involves noticeably more frequent and deeper breathing; continuing conversations during these sessions is not a very easy job. The duration of an INE training session would depend on the triathlete’s training status. Usually for beginners, the duration remains around 20 minutes and for more experienced triathletes the duration can be as high as 90 minutes.
INE training sessions will require you to maintain a consistent intensity as this form of training is meant for improving both your cardiovascular and muscular endurance. Triathletes undergoing this form of endurance training need to keep a both their cardiovascular and muscular systems under a steady load. Easing off or relaxing before starting again would allow the two systems a moment to recover. Ideally, you shouldn’t pick a route filled with steep ups and downs, road crossing, poor surfaces, etc. for INE training sessions. If you end up doing so, you will find it difficult to finish the session successfully.
This training type would make you a better performer when it comes to running fast on downhills. This is one quality that rarely gets the focus it deserves. A large number of triathletes don’t have the leg control and speed required for running downhill effectively. By developing suitable leg control and speed for running downhill, you will be able to achieve impressive time gains.
Intensive endurance- We have already mentioned that intensive endurance training sessions are only about difficulties. If you are a beginner and not yet trained, you will be able to sustain this training for a maximum of 20 minutes. Even the most well training triathletes cannot sustain it for more than 45 minutes (of course there are exceptions).
IE would not allow you to talk and will require you to breathe on ragged edge (it would essentially be deep breathing). The experience would not be a happy one and you will never want to continue with this training type for a long period of time. That’s primarily because the muscle damage and soreness caused by IE training don’t subside easily.
We would never recommend IE training to the beginners. Expert triathletes interested in experiencing the difficulty can take part in road races of 5 to 10 km for getting the best IE sessions.
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