Making A Better Runner – Endurance

Yes, I know. This is perhaps the most obvious one of the lot. Fell running takes a fair amount of Endurance. Arguably its the thing that people concentrate on most. Getting out for longer runs in evenings. Getting out on the weekends and pushing the distance.

As Julian Goater says in his book, people find it easier to improve on distance than on speed, hence why “progression” as a runner so often appears to go down the lines of 5k, 10k, half mara, mara, 50k, 50 miles etc as opposed to necessarily getting faster at short distances.

I don’t really need to spend a lot of time extolling the virtues of Endurance training – going for 90 minutes or longer on a run is simply a way to increase time on the hills and time for increased endorphins, what I will say is that although it needs to be done, it should not be over-emphasized.

We see a number of people who have the Endurance to get out and run for hours, yet they so often lack the basics of the other end of the spectrum.

Lynne on Bryce Canyon ultra race in Utah, USA

Lynne on Bryce Canyon ultra race in Utah, USA

Runners understand that they need to be able to go for a certain distance or time, but are somewhat blind to the fact they need some fundamental Strength in their legs, arms and torso to actually enable them to do so without ending up getting injured.

Think about it. If you struggle to stand up from a chair using one leg, if you struggle to hop onto or off of a box, if you have to compensate with your arms for every movement you do as you run you will tire faster. Your running over distance will be compromised.

When do most injuries occur? When we are tired, the limbs aren’t moving optimally and odd movement patterns start happening. Someone with a mass of Endurance, but no Strength is in no better position in terms of injury prevention, or indeed running progression than the monster we saw in the first blog who has a huge amount of Strength and no Endurance. There is a happy medium somewhere in between.

Yes, Endurance is a very important part of running training, but to gain the most from time in the hills, a base of strength, power, power endurance and endurance will help performance and injury prevention.

Now, I mentioned previously that I’d go through a slightly different Power issue – and that is the Stretch-Shorten Cycle, and we’ll look at that next.

If you have any questions / arguments you want to pick / suggestions for me / and so on and so forth, please drop me (Tim) a line on

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