5 Key Areas – Endurance part 3

In this final installment on Endurance (one of the 5 Key Areas of athletic performance) we will introduce Speed Endurance and Strength Endurance.

Speed endurance

Speed endurance is used to develop the co-ordination of muscle contraction.  Repetition methods are used with a high number of sets, low number of repetitions per set and intensity greater than 85% with distances covered from 60% to 120% of racing distance.  Competition and time trials can be used in the development of speed endurance.

Example sessions

The following are different types of speed endurance sessions for an 800m runner.

  • Pyramids – 200m, 300m, 400m, 300m, 200m @ faster than race pace w/3′, 4′, 5′, 4′ recovery
  • Up the clock – 600m, 700m, 800m @ faster than race pace w/8′ recovery
  • Over distance – 4 X 1200m @ slower than target pace w/8′ recovery
  • Under distance – 2 X (3 X 400m) @ faster than race pace w/3′, 8′ recovery
  • Quality – 3 X 600m @ race pace w/8′ recovery


Strength endurance

Strength endurance is used to develop the athlete’s capacity to maintain the quality of their muscles’ contractile force.  All athletes need to develop a basic level of strength endurance.  Examples of activities to develop strength endurance are – circuit training, weight training, hill running, harness running and Fartlek runs.

Effect on the heart

As an endurance athlete, you will develop an athlete’s heart which is very different to the non athlete’s heart. You will have:

  • Bradycardia – Low resting pulse rate of under 50 bpm
  • Ventricular hypertrophy (thickening of the heart muscle wall)
  • Enlarged heart
  • Blood tests shows raised muscle enzymes

The above for the average person (non athlete) indicate a probable heart block, hypertension, heart failure, a recent myocardial infarct or cardiomyopathy.  Should you need to go into the hospital or see your doctor, you should inform them that you are an endurance athlete.