What is endurance? Endurance is being able to do something for a period of time, usually an extended period and yet still be able to recover in a reasonable time. Just one example of an endurance event could be long distance running.
Naturally your endurance level is seen to go hand in hand with your health level, mostly because being able to endure physical activity at a certain level for extended periods is associated with having good heart health, or cardiovascular health and fitness.
As a personal trainer I see many people trying to build their endurance levels in the wrong way, an unsafe way and this inevitably causes injury and/or damage if not stopped. Today I'll help you avoid unnecessary and unhealthy strain while building your endurance levels.
Focus on Your Own Endurance
One of the easiest traps to fall into when trying to boost your endurance levels is to try and mirror the training that professional runners, lifters and more follow. This approach is doomed to fail and you are likely to end up injured and demotivated. The reason for this simple. Everyone's body is individual and everyone moves at their own speed. You may not be at a level where you are capable of achieving the same workouts someone who has been in the field for years is and that is ok. When you first started training and your warm up alone was torturous you might not have thought you'd realise the stage you are at now. Progress takes time and your own goals should be specific to you.
Chasing someone else's success is the quickest way to injure yourself.
What You Should Be Doing
Now you've heard the cautionary tales it is time to focus on what you can do to improve your endurance levels, and safely. Avoiding over-training is key and so a training plan which increases the intensity at which you train, across a number of multi-disciplinary workouts is best. What better then than HIIT?
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is ideal for boosting endurance gradually as over time it enables you to increase both your VO2 Max level as well as your lactate threshold. HIIT is no picnic, that is for certain however it is the best and undoubtedly the safety way to gradually increase your workout intensity (as opposed to the time you workout etc) which is what will over time boost endurance.
HIIT is not the only training type that should be worked into your overall plan however if endurance is your goal. Boosting your intensity and cardiovascular health and fitness via HIIT is key however you also need to be looking at long distance training. By this we are talking about runs, jogs, cycling etc. Don't get confused here however as where HIIT is all about the intensity long distance training is more about taking it fairly easy and keeping going for longer.
Endurance training, both HIIT and long distance work is almost as much about your mind-set as it is your body. If you follow a workout as prescribed, to the letter regularly you will see the benefit, particularly with HIIT. With long distance training however you need to be motivated, know and listen to your body and be prepared to find your pace and stick to it.
This type of endurance training is the best type for you to go further, for longer and be able to recover well afterward.