Bet you didn’t know this, humans can outrun horses!
If we were to sprint, we would not stand a chance. However, over much longer distances, humans are actually quicker! It’s why the Greeks used foot messengers as oppose to messengers on horseback.
We can maintain our body temperature so much better. We don’t have fur which helps. We also expel sweet onto our skin to cool our surface temperature. We also remain upright which can utilize the air temperature more effectively for cooling our body down as oppose to remaining on all fours.
“Up yours Sea Biscuit!”
Now, let’s pretend that you were to organize a race between you and a horse. How would you train up for such an event?
To beat a horse, your chosen event may need to surpass an Ultra Marathon! The event may even take more than 24 hours to complete. Consider a cross country foot race.
Strength training must be added into any athletes training protocol. Strength training will aid in mobility, soft tissue resilience and postural support. Improving your strength will also assist in circulation. The act of the muscles pressing against the blood vessels is known as the “muscle pump” and it will aid in pushing the blood back to the heart.
The strength training would be situated around full range squats, dead lift variations and a shed load of work on the trunk. The repetition range would be low as we would not want to over fatigue our muscles for the endurance work.
Muscular endurance is crucial. Without it, your legs are going to freaking burn! Muscular endurance is the skeletal muscles ability to go about prolonged activity without fatiguing.
You can go about a standard circuit training session as the protocol is highly effective but it does not trump Tabata. Tabata is king of muscular endurance training. Adding Tabata 3 times per week is a game changer.
If you’re going to run a substantial distance, you need to ensure that you have great endurance on your lower back. Holding a glute bridge for up to 2 minutes every day will protect you from substantial pain.
Your lungs are next on the agenda. VO2 max is the maximum oxygen capacity of your lungs. The best protocol I’ve found is a 4 minute on, 4 minute off interval format. You blast out a spin bike cycle as hard as you can for 4 minutes. No holding back and no stopping, unless you feel faint or in danger. Just kill it! From there, cycle gently for 4 minutes to recover. Repeat this brutal process 5 times. You only need to do this once each week.
Don’t be fooled into believing that intervals and strength work will be enough. You’ll need to run at least 5km twice each week and you need to practice a killer long run every week. The long run may start at 10 miles but by the end of a 6-month training cycle, you’d need to progress to 50!
I’m a massive advocate in wave loading for endurance athletes. This is the principle of swapping between lower intensity, medium intensity and higher intensity workouts on a weekly basis.
Check out the format below…
- Week #1: 10 miles
- Week #2: 11 miles
- Week #3: 12 miles
- Week #4: 11 miles
- Week #5: 12 miles
- Week #6: 13 miles
- Week #7: 12 miles
- Week #8: 13 miles
- Week #9: 14 miles
You get the picture!
Nutrient density would need to sky rocket!
Protein is for growth and repair. This will not only aid in recovery from a workout but as a means of recovering from an injury. Eat red meat for a much higher iron content. Iron is crucial for the oxygen carrying capabilities of red blood cells.
Your immune system will be in jeopardy! Therefore, I cannot stress how important it is that you consume a high level of dark green vegetables. Not only are vegetables high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatories but they also contain a generous supply of nitrate oxide. Nitrate oxide is essential for the development of the walls of your capillaries.
Fish oil is needed for concentration and joint health. Select your fish wisely. If you don’t choose to supplement with fish oil, consume cold water fish such as sardines and mackerel. Fish high on the food chain such as tuna and swordfish contains high traces of mercury which suppresses glutathione, an antioxidant that is crucial for preventing viruses. Remember, your immune system needs extra care during insane endurance events.
Take on plenty of fruit and plenty of starchy foods. No, you don’t need sweets just because you are an endurance runner! You may want to save the Jaffa cakes for the event but snacking on crappy food will slump your energy during the average day.
Your testosterone can lower with intense endurance work. Fats from fish and nuts are needed in generous supply.
Also, Zinc, Magnesium and D3 all have a great impact on your body’s ability to produce testosterone.
I recommend Solgars Ultimate Bone Support to get all 3 of these bad boys in one wicked kick. You will also benefit from K2. K2 is associated with calcium regulation and an improvement in cognitive capabilities.
Creatine monohydrate is a must for anyone who is serious about their health. Take on at least 5mg per day as creatine is not only vital for anaerobic respiration but also for neural development.
Endurance athletes need vitamin C. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that also aids in iron absorption.
If you’re serious about endurance racing, the above recommendation should be followed. Just remember that endurance feats are highly stressful on the body so train hard but recover harder.