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Aerobic Training

The aerobic system is the foundation on which an entire endurance training program rests. The aerobic system is the system that is continually replenishing the energy we use at all levels of activity. The degree that this system is being called upon to produce energy is the critical issue. Generally speaking, as the duration of effort increases, the intensity must decrease and more energy must be provided during the task using aerobic metabolism.

Training the aerobic system has two important intensity levels. Aerobic conditioning and Max VO2 training. Aerobic conditioning is not the same as increasing Max VO2 . The bulk of your training in all phases will be for aerobic conditioning. This is low intensity training that will accomplish various physiological adaptations crucial for performance improvement. These adaptations are:
  • Improved respiratory function (oxygen delivery system)
  • Improved cardiac function (blood pumping system)
  • Improved thermoregulatory system (helps keep you cool)
  • Improved neuromuscular function (smooth pedaling)
  • Improved fat burning capabilities (calories from fat spares carbohydrate)
  • Increased number of mitochondria (energy producing structures)
  • Increased liver and muscle carbohydrate stores.


  • Max VO2 training will occur in the Race Phase and be accomplished by hard efforts above the Anaerobic Threshold. Exercise at this level increases the amount of oxygen you can consume during all out efforts. The greater the amount of oxygen consumed, the greater work potential. An aerobic workout is not used specifically to increase maximal aerobic capacity. It is an aerobic workout because it is performed below the anaerobic threshold. The training purpose for this type of training is to get the athlete accustomed to exercising for extended periods of time.

    As a general rule, the longest of these workouts should be no more than 15 to 20 percent longer than the distance the athlete intends to compete at.


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