Developing the aerobic metabolism is the number one goal of any distance runner. Why? Take a look at the percent energy contributions from the following three metabolisms, keeping in mind that aerobic means “with oxygen.”
|Distance||Aerobic %||Anaerobic %||Phosphogen %|
*There is a debate as to the exact percentage for the 1,600m, ranging from 80% to 85%.
The second key with the aerobic metabolism is that you can improve it year after year. This is why the best marathoners in the world tend to be older than the best sprinters in the world…and it’s why many masters runners, who come to running later in life, continue to run faster year after year.
The way I like to think about the aerobic metabolism is that you’re building your engine when you train aerobically. Now, you need a strong chassis to handle this engine (so LMLS and SAM work daily – videos here), but the key to your long term success as a runner, and the way you’ll run PRs at a variety of distances, is to continue to improve your aerobic system.
What follows are four fundamental aerobic workouts. They are presented in roughly the same progression that you would do the workouts, one per week for the busy adult and perhaps two per week for serious high school and collegiate athletes. The long run is the key aerobic workout of the week and I’m assuming that you’ll be doing a long run virtually every week that you’re training. [Read more…]