Did you know that…

Valentin Belz 14. April 2021

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…according to a study by the American sports scientist Stephen Seiler, the best of the best neither train harder more frequently nor push themselves more to the limit during interval units, but simply spend more hours training in the easy zone.

What does this mean for us amateur athletes?

To become faster, you not only need high intensities, but a good mix of the different intensity zones, with the units in the extensive zone making up the largest piece of the cake. Those who put their foot down every time they go running or cycling will thus do themselves a disservice. It would be more appropriate to do three quarters of the units in the basic training zone and only one quarter in the intensive zone.

Endurance training should be coupled with additional measures such as strength, coordination, and flexibility training to not only reduce the susceptibility to injury, but to also ensure that maximum performance can be achieved. Because every (endurance) sport is a complex mix of the fitness factors.

5 important basic rules in endurance sports

  1. Only train once you have recovered: training and recovery belong together like the ebb and flow of tides. Give yourself enough time for the effect of the training stimulus to unfold, particularly after long and intensive units.
  2. Increase the frequency, then the duration, and then the intensity: if you want to optimise your training, you should always maximise the training frequency first (4 instead of 3 times a week). If you can’t train more often, then extend the scope (run 5-10% longer). Only once the first two parameters have been maximised should you increase the intensity (run 5-10 seconds faster per kilometre).
  3. Maintain your foundation: three quarters of your training should be done in the aerobic endurance zone to ensure your performance is built on a solid foundation. Otherwise, your performance curve will flatten very quickly after a short high and musculoskeletal disorders will develop.
  4. Diversify your everyday training by doing short, long, extensive, and intensive units. You should constantly surprise your body so that it always has to adapt anew.
  5. Grass does not grow faster if you pull it: this African proverb puts it in a nutshell. The various adaptation processes such as replenishing the energy reserves or regenerating the connective and supporting tissue quite simply need time. They cannot be sped up. But they can be supported, for example, by eating an optimal diet, sensibly coordinating the training stimuli, or taking the necessary rest periods.
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