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What is Endurance Training?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 17, 2024
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Endurance training is athletic training which is designed to improve stamina, endurance, and overall performance. Athletes use it while they prepare for both long and short events, ranging from iron man events to sculling. People who are not athletes may utilize endurance training as a method to get fit. It is advisable to undertake such training under the advice of a coach or personal trainer.

As endurance training progresses, the body actually undergoes physiological changes. The training conditions the heart and lungs, slowing the heart rate, increasing oxygen exchange in the lungs, and upping cardiac output. People in endurance training also produce more red blood cells, and have elevated levels of some enzymes in their muscles. The bloodflow to skeletal muscle is increased, as is the capillarization in the muscle bed, meaning that the network of blood vessels is more extensive.

This form of training often relies on aerobic exercise and lots of hard cardiovascular exercise. Exercises vary from day to day, and can include a variety of activities. It may be paired with stretching regimens to keep the body toned and flexible, and to allow plenty of time to warm up and cool down so that the body is not injured.

A personal trainer or coach can help develop an endurance training program which is suited to a particular athlete and sport. The program will vary in intensity at various points to keep the athlete in condition without causing damage or injury. As the program proceeds, the athlete's body will be able to use energy more efficiently and to increase the delivery of usable energy to the muscles when it is needed.

Some of the changes associated with endurance training would be viewed as signs of ill health in people who are not in athletic training, which is something to be aware of. When visiting a doctor, an athlete in training should make sure that the doctor knows about the kind of training the athlete does, and that the athlete's resting heart rate is normally lower than that of the average population. Otherwise, a doctor may think that the athlete has an underlying muscle problem.

People who have been injured should not plunge back into an endurance training program, although it is worth noting that people in good physical condition often recover more quickly from injuries. A doctor should be consulted before resuming activity after an injury, and adjustments may need to be made to a training plan to accommodate healing.

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Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGeek researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By cougars — On Jul 18, 2011

@fiorite- You forgot two of the most important types of endurance training. Strength and Speed endurance training are very important, especially to athletes. Speed training helps to develop muscle coordination as well as speed and agility. Speed training can help your body prevent injury, especially during strenuous activity. Strength endurance training can also help prevent injury, and helps to maintain muscle performance throughout the workout.

By Fiorite — On Jul 17, 2011

@Submariner- Endurance training can be separated into a few categories. Aerobic training consists of exercises that are done at a pace where the trainee is introducing enough oxygen and fuel into the body at a sustainable rate. Continuous aerobic endurance routines help to improve your oxygen uptake, while interval training help improve the hearts ability to pump blood.

While aerobic training is better suited for marathon training, anaerobic training is best suited for sprints. This type of training focuses on improving how long the body can perform while in oxygen debt. Anaerobic endurance training workouts will push the body near the limit of failure through repetitious high intensity/short recovery workouts.

I would suggest reading a book about endurance training workouts, then seeking the services of a personal trainer. This way you can design a safe workout that you will be able to stick to.

By submariner — On Jul 16, 2011

Are there any types of endurance training exercises for beginners? I have been out of shape for about eight years, and I would like to get back in shape. More specifically, I would like to improve my cardiovascular and respiratory systems as well as improve my metabolism. I would appreciate any suggestions for a healthy male in his late twenties.

I feel like it takes more work to feel good, so I would like to start endurance training to really get on top of my health. I do not want to be one of those people who succumb to the preventable diseases that plague society. My grandfather had heart problems, and I do not want that to happen to me.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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