“You cannot train alone and expect to run a fast time. There is a formula: 100% of me is nothing compared to 1% of the whole team. And that’s teamwork. That’s what I value.”Eliud Kipchoge
Anyone looking to succeed in middle or long-distance races needs to work their aerobic system hard. Why? Because a 5K race is metabolically around 90% aerobic whilst a marathon is about 99%! Now my lovely, whilst these numbers look exciting just knowing them isn’t gonna cut the mustard. All will be explained below on how to capitalise. KNOWLEDGE IS POWER.
Every day is a school day 🤓.
Aerobic vs Anaerobic
What even is an ‘aerobic’? Well, aerobic basically means ‘with air’, so your body is making energy with the oxygen coming in when you’re panting away… and also if you’re running 😉. Anaerobic unsurprisingly is the opposite, so without oxygen.
When you’re munching quinoa or bulgur wheat (because you’re a good athlete who wouldn’t touch unhealthy food) your body breaks this down into glucose. This glucose is your body’s rocket fuel. In an anaerobic state, this glucose is being made straight into energy for you bulging muscles AND also into lactic acid (boooooo!) Lactic acid is that stuff that feels like it’s eating your muscles making them scream at you to stop. Now if we add oxygen into the equation we don’t produce lactate (yay!) Only water, energy and carbon dioxide (which is causing global warming you selfish person 🤬).
Okay, it’s slightly more complicated than that but that’s all we need to know. There’s supposedly stuff about ATP but I swear that’s a tennis thing?
So, now you know how aerobic training now works, but how does make you a better runner? How are you going next level?
Benefit 1 – Lil Blood Vessels
Capillaries, the smallest of the blood vessels but incredibly important. They are like waiters bringing nutrients to the muscles and taking away the waste. It won’t shock you to be told that we want more of these! Aerobic training directly increases the number of capillaries 💪🏻.
I’ve seen more fat in a glass of water
Benefit 2 – My Goblin 👺
Myoglobin is a hoarder of oxygen. It’s a protein in your muscles that bind with oxygen. When times are tough and your muscles are begging for oxygen the myoglobin will give its reserves to the mitochondria to produce energy lactate free! Again, the more of these blighters the better and they are produced from aerobic training.
Benefit 3 – Mitochondria Development
THE POWERHOUSE OF THE CELL! Mitos use oxygen to breakdown carbs, protein and fat into usable energy for the muscles. Having more of these will allow you to more effectively you can create muscle fuel. Now guess how we get more of these…
Time to smash those VO2 sessions and lactate threshold runs isn’t it William?… Isn’t it William? Will, why are you looking at me like that? Well, my dear reader, yes this does work BUT research into maximising this 3 key benefits shows there’s a better way. To get the best aerobic development you want to be running at about 50-55% of your 5K race pace.
Of course, you need to be doing the sessions though there’s a great need for easy running. Ever heard of the phrase,’keep easy days easy’? It’s not just about not overtraining, it is actually all part of process of becoming a beast. Slowly building up mileage using running can greatly improve your aerobic base and help you smash those PBs!
This is a brief breakdown to try to convince you of the importance of aerobic training, there’s loads more on this online for all of you keen beans 🙂
Lots of love,
P.S. a lot of this I may have been… ‘acquired’ from an article written by Scott Larsen. Cheers mate, lifesaver 😘