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Harder vs longer training for endurance? May 18 2014, 0 Comments

My next race is the MEC half Marathon, June 14th in Calgary the day after I turn 43. (half marathon #6, if we're counting)

Bring on the training advice!

I've always enjoyed running and fitness advice from others. It helps to avoid ruts to find other effective ways to improve performance.

LSD (long slow distance) had been the mantra of my early days from coaches when training for a race, and in terms of training our aerobic system, it's still got a place in sound, safe running progression.  Increasingly though, it looks like ramping up the intensity of our training, whether running specific or otherwise, has enormous impact on performance. My own experience with intensity over volume has been very positive. Taking a little more time between hard runs allows my body to complete its repairs before I fatigue it again. The harder we *can* go, the less time it takes to get us to our goals (such as a sub 30 minute 5km), which just means less chance of repetitive strain. It can also mean (if my reading is accurate) better training and effectiveness across varying intensity levels and times.  

Interesting article about Cross Fit Endurance training.

I didn't use a Cross-fit Endurance approach last year, but I did knock myself out on hilly trails, and pushed my speed barriers. That was way more intensity than I'm used to, and it knocked my pace way, way down during training runs. It's good to ignore that. Yes, I'm getting a very slow 10-18km on steep hills, increasing my cardiovascular endurance, but I'm also working so hard that I become much more capable of lower intensity for a similar time investment. This also raises lactate threshold. GREAT article about raising our lactate threshold here: Runner's World 

I also used big hiking or scramble days as substitutes for running days. For indoors, climbing and spin class are incredibly effective for maintaining a higher overall fitness level.

 This higher intensity approach still allows for 'easy running' days, and not surprisingly, increases what I consider to be a comfortable pace. Have you made any significant changes to the way you train for your adventures? Have you added any adventures or switched up what you do for fun and fitness? Please share in the comments.