Tag: training plan

How to increase stamina for running to build aerobic capacity, strength, and speed

One of the longest traditions in the world of running is to run lots and lots of miles to get faster and improve race times.

But so many miles takes a lot of time and takes a toll on your body.

What if you could increase stamina for running endurance by running fewer miles and doing more intense speed work?

Even with limited time, you are able to combine endurance miles with intensity for the perfect blend of training stimulus without building too much fatigue – and avoiding injury.

A running training plan for endurance balances long runs, speed work, strength training, and yoga, to increase stamina for running and improve performance.

Polarized training can provide best of both worlds

With the polarized training, the model that Simple Endurance Coaching uses, runners still spend training time in the endurance zone.

But the volume of mileage is significantly reduced.

Recent research at the University of Northern Iowa bears this out. Individuals who ran approximately 50 miles per week did not finish a marathon any faster than runners who averaged 40 miles per week at a similar intensity.

Runner’s World

Runners get faster by doing speed work – intervals that focus on building running efficiency, aerobic capacity, and muscle endurance.

The speed work improves VO2 max (your capacity to use oxygen).

But if we spend all our time doing the slow miles, we’ll be too fatigued – or hurt – to do quality speed work.

The goal is to do as much intensity as possible in the intensity sessions.

That’s how to increase stamina for running: build capacity with long runs, build speed with intensity.

Plus we usually avoid those middle-ground tempo runs that can build up a lot of fatigue while not being hard enough to stimulate as much VO2 improvement as hard interval work.

A running endurance training plan brings big benefits down the road

Endurance runs are still important.

But we don’t need to do 60-70 miles week to be fast in races.

In fact, some research indicates that doing only three runs a week can lead to significantly reduced marathon times.

These three runs include one long endurance run, one moderate-paced run, and one speed day. Two other days are dedicated to cross-training, particularly strength training.

If you are a beginning runner, or someone who’s doing less than 20 miles a week, adding more mileage will help build your fitness and aerobic capacity.

But if you’re already running more than 40 miles a week, then adding more will not help.

How to increase stamina for running is the balance of speed work and endurance.

That balance, plus strength training and yoga, is the reason to have a running training plan for endurance.

Not just miles but lifting heavy things and intervals

Recent research is suggesting that in addition to putting in the run training, lifting heavy things and doing intervals also builds endurance.

Building strength by lifting heavy things also increases the muscle’s capacity to do more by creating more mitochondria AND making them more efficient at producing energy.

And HIIT sessions kicks up the endurance adaption to exercise even more.

The downside of both strength training and HIIT is that you can’t do them every day. Your body can’t recover.

Lots of endurance miles, HIIT sessions, strength training, and recovery are the key elements of polarized training at Simple Endurance.

Only recovery makes the adaptations possible

There is an adage for training: gains are made when you sleep.

That’s truth.

Recovery days, yoga, proper and adequate fueling , and hydration are all key elements to rebuild our muscles and make them stronger that before.

Start off slowly and build your mileage up gradually.

Imagine that your body is a house, and training and other stressors are the weather and elements. You begin with a house made of straw, and your first bout of training is like a gust of wind. It knocks out a few walls and so you build them back up. If you have the means, you’ll probably build the new walls from brick. When the next bout of exercise comes along, your walls are more resilient, and this time nothing crumbles. You keep training, and as you do, you increase your training load, or stress, by lifting more weights, running more miles, or throwing more pitches.

Christie Aschwander, Good to Go

How do I create a running endurance training plan?

You need to go slow to get fast.

Then you need to go really hard to get faster.

A good training plan includes at least one long slow day, one or two interval days, some strength training, yoga and/or mobility work, and recovery/ rest.

How that kind of schedule works together to build up to your target event or adventure goal is what I do.

I build your program focused on the goals, building your fitness so that you’re ready to go by event day.

Do you have questions? Want to talk more about how a program might look for you? Fill out the form below and let’s talk!

Build Motivation and Fitness by Creating Your Own Running Adventure

This is the year you’re going to get in shape and start running!

And for most of us, finding a local 5k or 10k race can serve as a great goal for your training.

But most races in 2020 were scrubbed, and 2021 isn’t looking a lot better until late summer or fall.

So it’s time to plan to create your own 5k race during the pandemic – or other adventure if you’re feeling up for a bigger challenge!

Use the pandemic time to prepare for some kind of adventure that pushes you out of your comfort zone and gives you a purpose to get out and do something.

The new year is a good time to create your own 5k race that pushes you out of your comfort zone and gives you purpose and motivation.
Photo by Josh Gordon on Unsplash

Nickel: Create Your Own Races

Lori Nickel, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter and author of the Chin Up column, says she had a lot of events on her 2020 schedule prior to the pandemic.

“I decided to create my own “races,” which are really just personal challenges to train for,” she says. “For example, I’m going to do a social distancing “triathlon” by the end of this month with two or three friends to celebrate my 50th birthday because the original triathlon has been canceled.”

Lori Nickel

And you don’t need to make this event a big deal, Nickel says.

“It just has to be one thing that you want to do. Pick a goal. Make it realistic. Pick a date on the calendar. Write it down. Pull in friends or family to join you. Or make it your own. And go for it!” she says.

Make a Date; Find a Place

First, pick a date and a place for your “Create Your Own 5k” event.

If you choose to run outdoors, you can ask a friend or two to join you.

Make the place somewhere interesting or unusual. Run from one Starbucks to another for drive-through service!

Run through a historical neighborhood.

Find the steepest or longest hill and do your event to the top.

The bottom line is to get creative and have fun with your challenge.

Start Slow With Your Training Plan

Creating an effective training plan is a challenge, even when there isn’t a global pandemic!

As with everything, you need to start slow.

Plan on getting out three days a week. If you want to do more, that’s great.

But start slowly.

Otherwise, you’ll get yourself sore, and the next day’s workout is going to suck. And you might not do it.

Day 1: Get out and move for 20 minutes.

If you’ve never run before, then jog for a minute, walk a minute.

Work up to running more than you walk, then running the whole time.

Your pace should be slow and steady. You’re building your aerobic system, and that takes time.

Create Your Own 5k By Building Up Your Aerobic System

Your next step to create your own 5k race during the pandemic is to start building up that aerobic system.

Increase that 20 minutes of running. Try one to three minutes a week or more depending on your past fitness and commitment.

Just keep adding time to your runs.

Build up to jogging/running for about 40 minutes or more, again depending on your fitness level.

Now Comes the Fun Part: Intervals

Once you have a base of fitness, let’s make you faster: Intervals!

When you create your own 5k, you’re going to want to go as fast as possible.

Here’s one example of an interval session:

Find a soccer field or some other open space. Warm up a bit with some mobility work.

Sprint down one line, rest behind the goal, then sprint down the other line.

Your first sprint should be about 60 percent of your maximum effort. Just run a little harder than normal.

You want to get warmed up with your sprinting so you don’t pull a hamstring!

Your second sprint will be about 70 percent, your third 80 percent, and so on, until you’re running as fast as you can down the sidelines.

Do these until your speed really slows down. Then stop and go home!

These short intervals will quickly build your aerobic and anaerobic systems, and make you stronger and faster, as well as give you more endurance.

The new year is a good time to create your own 5k race that pushes you out of your comfort zone and gives you purpose and motivation.
Photo by mauro paillex on Unsplash

Strength Training Will Help Build Your Endurance

It’s also good to build some strength training into your week as you prepare for the “Create Your Own 5k” event.

Do some body squats, split squats, lateral squats, core work, and some push-ups two or three times a week.

The strength work doesn’t need to take long.

And it yields a great benefit for your endurance, overall strength, plus strength training helps with kick-starting weight loss if that’s something you’re interested in.

Be Easy on Yourself

How to train for your own event? It takes time.

Your body needs to adapt, and that adaptation can take some time, depending on your past fitness.

Your body, like a stubborn teenager, does not want to change.

But after a few weeks of working out several times a week, your body just gives in and agrees to the adaptation your workouts are demanding.

The best way to adapt, especially when you’re starting, is to keep a training plan.

Do your running on Monday, Wednesday, and try a longer run on Saturday.

Do your strength training on Tuesday and Thursday.

Add in yoga several times a week.

Whatever works for you.

But give yourself time.

Are You Ready to Create Your Own 5k?

Get started today! Create your own 5k race during the pandemic – or create some other kind of event.

Create a schedule and stick to it.

Need some help with your training program? Contact me here?

Plan your training with the pandemic to look long-term

A friend of mine was logging a lot of long indoor trainer sessions this winter to prepare for the Dirty Kanza scheduled for May. 

But most of the spring and summer races have been cancelled or postponed. The fall events are not looking good either.

Moreover, many WAC clients and members were also planning for the Milwaukee Marathon in April, and that has also been cancelled, although organizers have created a Virtual Run

So what do you do when your spring – or maybe summer – event has been cancelled or postponed? 

This means you need to change your training and plan your training with the pandemic.

If you've been training for events that are now cancelled or postponed, look long-term. Plan your training with the pandemic with lots of endurance.
Photo by asoggetti on Unsplash

Stay focused and calm

There is nothing you can do about your events getting cancelled or postponed. Zero.

Getting frustrated and/or angry is understandable, but ultimately, you’re going to have to accept these strange and challenging times.

Everyone is going through the same thing. No one is getting some kind of unfair advantage. Unless you live in a severely restricted area, like parts of Europe, you’re still probably able to get out for rides or runs.

Was that all that training wasted? 

First of all, no training is ever “wasted.” Any training stress you put on your body, helps muscles strengthen and adapt. Unless, of course, you do too much. More on that later. 

Second, you’ve been building aerobic fitness through your training. All of your aerobic training helps your cells add mitochondria, and that creates more potential energy.

Third, you’ve gained some valuable experience. You’ve learned something about what works for training, nutrition, and rest. 

Now what? Plan your training with COVID

As a personal trainer for the Wisconsin Athletic Club, and since the clubs are now all closed, I have a lot of time on my hands! I’ve been doing a boat load of research and reading.

But I could spend a lot of time on the bike or on trails training. 

But I know too much training right now would actually set me back. Plus too much training can weaken my immune system, making me more susceptible to COVID-19.

So what should we do if we were training for an event that has been cancelled or postponed? How to plan training with COVID-19?

Here are some options:

1. How to plan training with the pandemic: Smash Some Segments

If you’ve been peaking toward some spring races, you’ll have some good form. Spend the next week or two setting some personal records!

Use some of the form you’ve gained and get on Zwift or outside on Strava to smash some KOMs or segments. Treat the segments as a race and see what you can do. 

2. How to plan training with the pandemic: Take an “Injury” Break 

When you’re hurt or sick, you need to take time off. Most of us know that if we have a forced break, we come back stronger!

You can take some time to just rest, read books, and watch Netflix. Maybe we actually talk with our families and spend some good time with them so that when we are able to return to racing, they won’t mind as much.

3. How to plan training with the pandemic: Return to Base

Use the opportunity to get more fun cycling or run time in. Structure your training loosely, doing one or two long, slow efforts a week, and one or two moderate, longer interval days. 

And by loosely, I mean have a “sort of” plan. When you go out for the long runs or rides, don’t focus at all on the numbers. Just go. Have fun. Take a break from serious training and ride or run by feel.

For your long days, just keep it slow and easy. Go find some trails in the woods. Run through neighborhoods you haven’t seen before. Explore different parts of the county on your bike.

And the intervals should likewise be moderate, around 85 to 90 percent of your threshold HR or power. (In the talk test, you would be able to hold a minimal conversation with few words.) Those intervals should probably be a little longer, depending on your sport and goals.

If you've been training for events that are now cancelled or postponed, look long-term. Plan your training with the pandemic with lots of endurance.

Do some body weight strength training. Do unilateral work, do posterior chain work (hamstrings, glutes, back), move laterally, do some yoga to build your movement strength.

Decide what’s best for you. If you have another event planned for late summer or fall, you can start preparing for it now.

If it’s far enough in advance, and you have a little energy, go seek some segments. If you’re a bit tired from everything – including anxiety about COVID-19 – take some time for yourself and rest.

And if you’re ready to start training again, get after it. Plan your work, and work your plan. Let me know if you need help.

How to plan training with the pandemic: Caveats/ Extras

1. Don’t use your time to really ramp up the training. I’m obviously tempted to do a few month long training camp with a lot of long miles and long runs. But don’t.

As your body wears down, so too does your body’s immune system, making you more susceptible to illness, including COVID-19.

Plus, you might end up overtraining and setting you back before any racing this summer or fall.

So keep your training “normal.” Sure, take advantage of the time and do some longer rides or runs. But just keep it simple!

2. Keep calm about race dates. No one knows how long this is going to take. Race promoters are losing money since the permits, numbers, etc., are all pre-paid. So stay calm, be courteous, and give race organizers a lot of slack. 

3. Use some of the time to build some strength and mobility. Get outside and use the playgrounds around you for strength work, particularly single leg forward and side work. Or stay inside and do pushups, core work, and single leg lower body work!

4. This can be a time to ride or run solo or only with your partner/ family. Group rides should be off-limits for a while with social distancing.

Go explore new places and have new adventures. Use this time as a positive as best you can. 

Need to Talk Through Your Plans?

What questions do you have?

We can do a Skype, Zoom, or Facetime meeting, talk over the phone, or chat anytime. Send an email to set up a time: pwarloski at gmail dot com or 262. 705.4892.

We can do a consult or we can start working out a plan together that meets your needs.

At Simple Endurance Coaching, we keep your training simple, regardless of the circumstances.

Thanks for reading!

Not knowing what to do at the gym to get a solid full-body workout can be bewildering and overwhelming.

And that can lead you to skip the gym altogether.

Full-body strength training three days a week will help build a strong foundation, help you manage your weight, increase metabolism, and increase mobility.

But what do you do, and how do you fit it in to a schedule?

Not knowing what to do at the gym can be overwhelming. Here are five ways to know what to do at the gym when you want to get a solid full-body workout.

Here are five ways to know what to do at the gym when you want to strength train.

1. Take Complimentary Classes at Your Gym

Most gyms, including the Wisconsin Athletic Club, offer a ton of classes that are free.

In particular, strength classes are great ways to begin to understand how to structure a workout.

Once you attend a few classes, you can repeat many of the same moves on the gym floor.

Ask the instructor if they have a list of the workouts!

2. Take Advanced Classes

Most gyms also have paid classes that are more specialized, but if you look at them as personal training, the cost is less than $10 a class!

The class can be more challenging than a complimentary class, but you can always work at your own pace. A

gain, you can learn moves and exercises from these classes that you can repeat on the gym floor.

3. Work With a Personal Trainer

You can tell a trainer that you want to develop a plan you can do on your own.

Then you can work together to create a plan that works for your needs.

I often work with people once a week, and they repeat our workout when they return to the gym on other days.

We’ll help you create a strength training program that is specific to your endurance sport.

Almost all endurance sports, for example, benefit from lunges and split squats.

I’m opening a yoga and personal training studio called Foundation in Hales Corners March 1.

Foundation will be by appointment only in a clean, well-ventilated space.

I continue to do personal training by appointment at the Wisconsin Athletic Center in Greenfield.

4. Do a machine circuit

Each strength training machine works a different body part.

And most gyms set up its machines so you can do a circuit.

If you do all of the Technogym, Technogym cables, or Hoist machines, for example, you’ll get a solid workout.

However, I would advise you to not use the stomach crunch machine.

Crunches have been shown to shorten the rectus abdominis muscles, which, in turn, pull us forward and hunch our shoulders.

We spend enough of our lives hunched over computers, stoves, and desks.

We don’t need to make it worse.

5. Use the six movements of a full-body workout

The six movements are:

  • Chest Push – to develop chest and arm strength
  • Chest Pull – to develop back and arm strength
  • Shoulder Push – to develop shoulder, arm, and upper body strength
  • Shoulder Pull – to develop shoulder, arm, back strength
  • Hinge – deadlift-type movements that strengthen glutes, hamstrings, hip stabilizers, and lower back.
  • Squat – to develop leg, hip, and back strength.

You can always add additional exercises to this routine, but if you use these six movements as the structure of your workouts, you’ll make sure your full body gets stronger.

With this structure, you have the option of using many different exercises for one movement.

For example, a chest push might be a bench press, dumbbell press, dumbbell flies, seated cable press, machine chest press, or TRX bands.

And a chest pull might be seated rows, cable rows, bent-over rows, reverse push up on barbell, etc.

Unstable Weights Build More Functional Strength

If possible, I recommend using dumbbells, barbells, TRX, and/or kettlebells for the majority of your work because they are more unstable than machines.

An unstable weight requires you to use more stabilizer and core muscles to support the effort, and that means a more full-body workout.

Here are some more ideas to consider what to do at the gym for your full-body strength training workout:

  • You can alternate movements, such as hinge and chest pull, to create “supersets” and maximize your time in the gym. Avoid doing the shoulder pull and press at the same time, though!
  • Start with three sets of 12 repetitions if you are just getting started. Your muscles need time to adapt to the new work required of them.
  • Once you have worked for four or so weeks, you can do 6 to ten repetitions of each exercise for 2 or 3 sets each. If you get to 10 repetitions, move up in weight. This is strength training, so you should be doing some heavy weights!
  • The goal is to fatigue the muscles, not jack up your heart rate. So if you’re breathing hard after a set, take a few moments to let the HR come back down.
  • You can do multiple exercises for the same movement to really fatigue particular muscles. For example, you can do a traditional squat, Bulgarian split squat, and pistol squats with the TRX. Doing a negative, or slowly releasing the lift, is a solid way to fatigue the muscles.

Strength Training to Meet Your Goals

At Simple Endurance Coaching, we create strength-training and work out plans that are a critical part of any cycling or running programs.

Plus, at Foundation and the WAC, I work individually with people to help them reach their fitness goals.

When you have a coach/ trainer, you are more likely to stay motivated and committed.

Plus, there’s less chance of getting hurt with improper form.

Learn more about strength training and endurance training by signing up for the blog.