CSCS Chapter 20: Program Design and Technique for Aerobic Endurance Training
CSCS Study Guide Chapter 20

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Chapter Goals:

  • Know the factors that relate to aerobic endurance performance.
  • Choose the modes of training for aerobic endurance.
  • Acquire frequency of aerobic training frequency based on the training status, sports season, and the requirements for recovery.
  • Give aerobic endurance training duration and know its interaction with training intensity.
  • Give aerobic exercise intensity and know the different methods for monitoring intensity.
  • Discuss different types of aerobic endurance programs.
  • Give variables of program design based on the season of the sport.
  • Know the cross-training, detraining, tapering, and supplemental resistance issues when designing an aerobic endurance training program.

Factors Related to Aerobic Endurance Performance

Maximal Aerobic Capacity

When the length of aerobic endurance events increases, the total energy for aerobic metabolism also increases.

High relation between VO2 max and performance in events.

Lactate Threshold

In events, the athlete that is the best among people with close VO2 maxes is the one that can keep up the aerobic energy production at the highest percent of VO2 without a lot of lactic acids building up in the muscle and blood.

The lactate threshold is the speed or percent of VO2 max where specific blood lactate concentration is seen or the level where blood lactate concentration starts increasing over the levels at rest.

Exercise Economy

Measures of the energy cost of activity for given exercise velocities.

Exercise economy improvements enhance the max aerobic power and the lactate threshold.

Designing an Aerobic Endurance Program

Exercise Mode

The specific activity performed by the athlete.

The more specific training is to the sport, the greater the performance improvements.

Training Frequency

The training frequency is the number of sessions done per day or week.

Training session frequency depends on exercise duration and intensity interactions, the athlete’s training status, and the sports season.

Training intensity

Body adaptations are specific to training session intensity.

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High-intensity aerobic exercise increases cardiovascular and respiratory function and improves oxygen delivery for working muscles.

Exercise intensity increases and benefits skeletal muscle adaptations by affecting the recruitment of muscle fibers.

Heart rate is most often used to give aerobic exercise intensities.

Target Heart Rate Calculations

Karvonen Method

  • Age predicted = 220 – age
  • HRR = APMHR – RHR
  • THR = (HRR X exercise intensity) + RHR
  • THRR is determined by doing this twice.

Percent Max Heart Rate Method

  • APMHR = 220 – age
  • HR = APMHR X exercise intensity
  • Again, do this twice to get the THRR.

Ratings of Perceived Exertion

Maybe for the regulation of the intensity of aerobic endurance training.

Mostly with the 15 point Borg scale.

External factors may influence.

Metabolic Equivalents

One MET equals 3.5 mL/kg/min of O2 consumption. It is the amount of oxygen needed at rest.

Power Measurement

Cyclists might use power cranks and hubs to measure their intensity.

The rate of metabolism is closely related to mechanical power production.

Exercise Duration

The amount of time of a training session.

Exercise intensity often influences the duration of sessions. The longer the session, the lower the intensity.

Exercise Progression

Progression during a program has increasing frequency, intensity, and duration.

Frequency, Intensity, or Duration shouldn’t exceed 10 percent every week.

Intensity progressions need to be monitored so we can prevent overtraining.

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Types of Aerobic Endurance Training Program

Long, Slow Distance Training

Training is longer than the race distance at 70% VO2 max.

The ability to clear lactate and shift muscle fibers to type I are some of the typical adaptations.

Intensity is lower than the competition.

Pace/Tempo Training

For this, we train at or above our intensity for competition. Based on the lactate threshold.

This is used to develop a sense of pace for the race and enhance the ability to keep up exercise at that pace.

It can improve the running economy and increase the threshold of lactate.

Interval Training

Exercise close to VO2 max for 3 – 5 minutes. Work to rest is one to one.

This increases VO2 max and enhances the anaerobic metabolism.

High Intensity Interval Training

Done at levels above VO2 max for 30 – 90 seconds.

Work to rest is typically one to five.

Longer recoveries are needed between sessions.

It may improve the running economy and increase anaerobic metabolism capacity.

Fartlek Training

Other methods are put together.

Easy running and fast bursts together.

It can also be used for cycling or swimming.

Applications of Program Design to Training Seasons

Off Season

Starts with longer durations but low intensities. Intensity increases the most, with duration also increasing a little.

Preseason

Increasing intensity is a focus, along with possibly reducing the duration.

In Season

The program relates to competition. There is low intensity and shorter durations near race days.

Post Season

The focus is recovering from the season but still keeping fitness levels.

Special Issues Related to Aerobic Endurance Training

Cross-Training

Training that is used to keep a general fitness level during reduced training because of injury or recovery from training cycles.

Detraining

This happens when the athlete reduces the length of sessions or intensities or stops everything because of the program, injury, or an illness.

A loss of physiological adaptations from training may happen.

Tapering

Systematic reductions in duration and intensity with an increase in technique and nutrition.

Resistance Training

Resistance training, while aerobic endurance training, may have many benefits: 

  • Short term exercise performance increases
  • Quicker recovery from injuries
  • Prevent overuse injuries and muscle imbalances
  • It may improve climbing of hills, gaps, and bridges in breakaways and the final sprint.

Altitude

When altitude increases, atmospheric pressure and partial pressure go down. 

Performance drops may happen after 700 meters.

In 12 – 14 days, your body can acclimate.

Live High, Train Low is a typical saying for athletes that want to benefit from altitude training.

So, you would live around 2k or 3k meters and train nearer to sea levels.

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CSCS Chapter 20: Program Design and Technique for Aerobic Endurance Training 1
CSCS Chapter 20: Program Design and Technique for Aerobic Endurance Training 2
CSCS Chapter 20: Program Design and Technique for Aerobic Endurance Training 3

Tyler Read

Tyler Read, BSc, CPT. Tyler holds a B.S. in Kinesiology from Sonoma State University and is a certified personal trainer (CPT) with NASM (National Academy of sports medicine), and has over 15 years of experience working as a personal trainer. He is a published author of running start, and a frequent contributing author on Healthline and Eat this, not that.

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