What is Endurance?

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  • Written By: Dee S.
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 06 February 2020
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Athletes often want to improve their endurance for a variety of athletic activities, such as running or biking. There are two different ways of considering endurance. It can mean that people want to go further; for example, they may want to run or bike a longer distance without becoming tired. It can also mean that they want to go faster. For example, an athlete may want to improve the pace at which he is running or biking.

There are training plans that allow a person to increase the length of her workouts and others that improve her pace or speed. Regardless, it is important to build endurance slowly. If a person tries to do too much, too soon, injuries will occur. For running, it is best to add no more than one mile each week. For biking, miles can be added more generously, as long as they are added in a steady manner.


One of the best ways for runners to build speed endurance is by completing Yasso 800s. Yasso 800s are named after elite running expert Bart Yasso, and are a form of interval training for people wanting to run a marathon. To complete a set of Yasso 800s, runners predetermine how fast they would like to run a marathon. Then, they run 800 meters (2624 feet) in a certain time. For example, if a runner wants to run a marathon in four hours and 20 minutes, she would run 800 meters (2624 feet) in 4 minutes and 20 seconds. Ideally, she would repeat this workout ten times, although it may take time and patience before that can be accomplished.

For biking, one of the best ways to build speed endurance is to simply ride faster. Focusing on speed training a few days a week will help a rider learn to ride faster. Racing against the clock or even riding with faster bikers will help improve speed. Other ways to improve speed are through indoor spinning classes and riding up hill repeatedly.

Some trainers suggest that bikers and runners work at a reduced effort most of the time. In fact, specialists claim that those who use only 80 percent of their effort can still build endurance; however, they will remain free from injury. In addition, rest or recovery days are important for those athletes trying to build endurance. Rest days give the body a chance to recover and become stronger.

To build endurance in one sport, it is advisable to still take time to do other activities. For example, instead of running, an athlete might play tennis, swim, or lift weights. By engaging in different activities, different muscles are used. It will make the body healthier as a whole and work to build strength and energy – all necessary components in endurance training.



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