5 Key Areas of Performance – Endurance

There are five key areas that contribute to improved athletic performance; Speed, Strength, Coordination, Flexibility and Endurance. In subsequent posts we will highlight one of the key areas of performance and will kick it off with a look at Endurance.

What types of endurance are there?

The types of endurance are aerobic endurance, anaerobic endurance, speed endurance and strength endurance.  A sound basis of aerobic endurance is fundamental for all events.

Aerobic Endurance

The chart below provides estimates of aerobic energy contribution during selected periods of maximal exercise (95% effort)[1].

Duration % Aerobic % Anaerobic
0-10 seconds 6 94
0-15 seconds 12 88
0-20 seconds 18 82
0-30 seconds 27 73
0-45 seconds 37 63
0-60 seconds 45 55
0-75 seconds 51 48
0-90 seconds 56 44
0-120 seconds 63 37
0-180 seconds 73 27
0-240 seconds 79 21

During aerobic (with oxygen) work, the body is working at a level that the demands for oxygen and fuel can be met by the body’s intake. The only waste products formed are carbon dioxide and water which are removed by sweating and breathing.

Aerobic endurance can be sub-divided as follows:

  • Short aerobic – 2 minutes to 8 minutes (lactic/aerobic)
  • Medium aerobic – 8 minutes to 30 minutes (mainly aerobic)
  • Long aerobic – 30 minutes+ (aerobic)

Aerobic endurance is developed using continuous and interval running.

  • Continuous duration runs to improve maximum oxygen uptake (VO2max)
  • Interval training to improve the heart as a muscular pump

Aerobic Threshold

The aerobic threshold, point at which anaerobic energy pathways start to operate, is around 65% of maximum heart rate.  This is approximately 40 beats lower than the anaerobic threshold.  The aerobic thresholds of untrained males range from 35 to 65% VO2max[2].

Our next installment will cover Anaerobic Endurance.

GASTIN, P.B. (2001) Energy system interaction and relative contribution during maximal exercise. Sports Med, 31 (10), p. 725-741
McLELLAN, T. M. and SKINNER, J.S. (1981) The use of the aerobic threshold as a basis for training. Can J Appl Sport Sci. 6 (4), p. 197-201.