Former elite cross-country racer Scott Johnston has quietly become the leading expert on lung capacity. And his new book, which was written along with elite runner Kilian Jornet and the famous climber Steve House, training for the mountaineer is intended to be the definitive reference for endurance training. In particular, Johnston has spent the last three decades studying and training everyone from cross-country skiers to high-altitude climbers to ultra-runners to better understand the difference between our aerobic and anaerobic engines – a difference that few people understand. Johnston points out that so many people still view high-intensity cardio as a good solution if there is not enough time to work longer. Even many elite stamina athletes lack the importance of longer, less intense workouts. Now that endurance sports like marathon racing, triathlon and distance trail running are exploding, people want a more sophisticated understanding of cardio work than they can achieve through their local spin class or their local running club. Mountain Athlete is the bible. The new book is a comprehensive training guide for all cardio junkies who want to be endurance athletes, or for all endurance athletes who want to improve their "work rate". Here are the key tips from Johnston to move even faster.
Johnston says that if you want to get fitter for a particular endurance event or goal, you need to train "one-way," which means that all your training hours will be used for that event. And these workouts are often much more measurable than the typical gymnastics or spins. While nonspecific training keeps you healthy, it does not necessarily make you faster or fitter. And exaggeration is the most common culprit. "For people who enjoy sports, training is the event," says Johnston. "So the problem is that they often try to break this PR every time they go to the gym."
. 2 Learn to love low-intensity workouts
Johnston says that we humans are actually built for the kind of long low-intensity efforts that only our aerobic system requires (an increase in intensity affects the anaerobic system out). "From the point of view of evolutionary survival, it was a great advantage to spend days without food, to walk long distances and then still be able to hunt animals." In general, Johnston defines low-intensity work as what many fitness trackers call "Zone 2" or a rate at which you can breathe through the nose and / or have a conversation. For many it is too easy. He quickly points out that it means something different to everyone, which is why serious endurance athletes should land on their personal heart rate zones through a series of tests (see below).
3rd Monitor your heart rate in the right way
Johnston says that Although heart rate is an incomplete method of measuring strength, it is the only method we have and should therefore be performed as accurately as possible. "Wrist monitors simply do not work for serious training," he said. "The technology is simple Not yet, and they usually read "Johnston recommends a chest monitor." He says power meters – the type cyclists attach to their bikes – are even better, but they're not yet available for foot-driven efforts.
4 Find your low-intensity zone.
Finding the low-intensity heart rate zone actually starts with suffering through a brutal high-altitude Tenside work, known as the lactate threshold test, to determine your average maximum heart rate. While the old formula of subtracting your age from 220 is incredibly accurate, Johnston says it's not good enough for serious athletes. "Personalized tests show you exactly where your body is physiologically moving from aerobic to anaerobic work," he explains. The easiest way to set your lactate threshold is to work as hard as possible for 30-60 minutes. Your average maximum heart rate during this effort is your lactate threshold, and other zones can be determined. (uphillathlete.com is a great resource for more details on threshold testing). For those who need even more accurate numbers, there are laboratory tests that measure oxygen flow, and even tests that draw blood during exercise.
. 5 Use Your Time Carefully
Most people train with endurance events for a few hours or more. That's why your workouts need to prepare your aerobics engine for hours, not minutes. "People who are serious about endurance training usually stop doing class or crossfit or whatever else they do," says Johnston. Instead, they replace these workouts with less intense but longer workouts, even though they are only 20 percent longer. "Low to medium intensity workouts are really important," he says. "And you should find at least a day – maybe a weekend – for a really long distance or ride." Johnston points out that it is no coincidence that all the best endurance athletes in the world seem to be creating about 80 percent of their training in this low-intensity zone. "The main stimulus for the aerobic system is the frequency and duration of the workout," he explains. "Most endurance athletes work out twice a day because they need to constantly stimulate this system."
6. Never increase the intensity to make up for the duration
"The big misconception that has been spreading in the fitness industry is that high-intensity cardio has the same benefit over shorter durations as 16km of easy running," says Johnston. He explains that the two metabolic processes respond to completely different stimuli and actually have zero crossings. While High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) certainly makes you better at high-intensity activities, it can make you even worse when running a marathon or cycling over 30 miles.
. 7 Remember Three Success Rules
Johnston points out three keys to success in endurance training: Consistency ("You can not miss training exercises"); a gradual workload; and what he calls modulation. "Your program has to have tough days and easy days or hard weeks and easy weeks," he says. "It must have this modulation in the training load, so that your body has the opportunity to absorb the work done and to adapt to it and to prepare for the next load."