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I'm running every other day, and I run pretty hard. I'm looking for the best way to build endurance so that I can run for longer without wearing out, but I'm also liking the amount of calories that I'm burning during my runs as well. Would it be more beneficial to slow down my pace to lower my heart rate, or should I continue to run hard? According to my miCoach Pacer, almost all of my running intervals are in the "yellow" zone.

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At this level, breathing is difficult, and I can only say a few words, but there's no way I could carry on a conversation. I've been doing this for almost 4 full weeks, though, and I am definitely improving, but would I improve more if I slowed down (into the green zone) for my running intervals?

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I'm wondering if it's even beneficial to workout anaerobically when you're not yet in great shape. Especially because you would be conditioning your body for the wrong intensity. On the other hand, if you're able to maintain it... :\ –  Ivo Flipse Mar 28 '11 at 15:38
    
If the goal is endurance, you should not be running high intensity intervals which is what it looks like from your heart rate rising and falling. For endurance, you run one pace for a long time. So yes if you want to improve endurance, you have to slow down and quit intervals. –  Rhea Mar 28 '11 at 20:00
    
Looks like an interesting app, more useful than the pos garmin watch –  Chris S Mar 28 '11 at 20:11

3 Answers 3

up vote 5 down vote accepted

For endurance training, distance is more important than pace. You will find many programs will ask you to run slower for longer and run at a certain % of your anaerobic threshold.

"For example, if you’re training for a 10k (6.2 miles), make your shorter endurance runs four to five miles and longer ones seven to nine miles."

If the goal is endurance, you should not be running high intensity intervals which is what it looks like from your heart rate rising and falling. For endurance, you run one pace for a long time. So yes if you want to improve endurance, you have to slow down and quit intervals.

This website has tables to break down which % anaerobic threshold (based on 3 speeds) you can run in and how long you should spend at that threshold with respect to your training run.

*I plugged in an anaerobic threshold of 150 (a random # just to explain the website screenshot below) and race time to populate the numbers

This is how the website generates it's numbers:

· By endurance training you run in the same speed, therefore without discontinuances and speed changes.

· The mentioned % are percentages of the anaerobic threshold.

· The anaerobic threshold is approximately = 220 - age - 15. Another method is: take 80 % (beginners) to 90 % (advanced) of the maximum heart rate.

Running speeds

· Speed 1: The long quiet endurance training: 75% and 80%

Convalescence training: under the 75%

· Speed 2: The average endurance training: 85% and 90%

· Speed 3: The intensive endurance training: 93% and 95% Only arranged for the advanced runner in the preparation period.

So for example from the table below, if your run is 10 miles and you're training at speed 1, you will run it for an hour and 28 minutes at 75-80% of your anaerobic threshold. Maintain your HR around 128-136.

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This website also has it in kilometers for those who prefer the metric system.

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But... You'll never increase your anaerobic threshold if you don't ever push it higher. Meaning, if you hit a hill while you're doing a distance run it'll wear you out. Your anaerobic threshold is not a fixed figure, it can increase a lot if you train properly. And, max heart rate of 136 doesn't even come close to anaerobic. If you're a healthy young adult that doesn't even reach the aerobic zone. –  Evan Plaice May 10 '11 at 1:35
    
"And, max heart rate of 136 doesn't even come close to anaerobic." - @EvanPlaice I was plugging in a random number to have the fields automatically generate just for the sake of explaining the website. I'll add a note next to it to avoid confusion. Thanks. –  Rhea May 24 '11 at 13:49

In my (limited) experience I would recommend using the Smart Coach to set yourself speed goals. The tool speeds you up gently over a 12-16 week period (or less amount of time if you're feeling like a challenge). It gives you an indurance run, a gentle run and speed training each week.

I only use it for 10k running so I can't speak for half or full marathon running, but it really improved my pace a lot - down to about 46 mins from 50+ mins.

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Some research suggests that high intensity intervals increase both aerobic and anaerobic capacity.

In my own experience, intervals improve speed and help my conditioning, but distance work is still necessary once a week or my joints don't hold up over long races like a half-marathon.

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The reason I don't like 'too much' high intensity intervals is because my legs hurt a lot more during those intervals. So I think the advice might also be dependent on your condition. If you're not in sufficient shape yet, those high intensities might be too hard for your muscles or soft tissue. –  Ivo Flipse May 9 '11 at 20:37

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