Key Run Sessions for triathletes – part two. Stamina training by Dave Green

Posted On : 09/06/2016


Stamina development , or anaerobic conditioning to give it its scientific name is primarily housed in an area between 75 – 90 % of your Vo2 max or around stand alone marathon pace down to maybe 10km race pace, depending on how fast your PB is. Heart rate wise, say 83% - 93% of maximum.

Benefits :-

1:- Increased ability of type IIa fast twitch muscle fibres to use glycotic and oxidative enzyme.

[ ie:- they can take on aerobic characteristics].

2:- Increased stroke volume ( the amount of blood in a single contraction or beat of the heart).

3:- Increased capillary density and blood volume.

Training sessions within this zone are better accomplished by using ‘blocked’ sessions, which means using periods of time [ 5-30 minutes ], and effort [ 75-90% Vo2 pace]. These are generally defined as ‘tempo runs’ or  LT [threshold] reps. The main goal of this type of work is to complete fairly long repetitions, 5 minutes or longer, which should feel comfortably hard when finished. It would be fairly structured and strong discipline is needed as it’s relatively easy to go quicker and miss out on the full benefits of this type of work.

This type of work is often ‘abused’ by runners and triathletes in two ways, they either try to run too far within this zone or too fast!

Suggested sessions:-

30 minutes  at best marathon pace.

2 x 20 minutes at Marathon pace/5-10 mins jog between.

1 x 20 mins at Marathon pace/ 5-10 mins jog then 15 minutes at LT pace.

6 x 5 mins at LT pace/ 1 minute jog recovery.

Marathon pace would be around 82% Vo2, LT Threshold around 88% Vo2 and 10km around 90% Vo2 pace, or approximately 84%/90%/93% maximum heart rate, but I prefer using pace for this type of work. I like the excellent Jack Daniels charts for calculating run speeds over different race distances , they have stood the test of time for a couple of decades now.

30 minutes total is probably enough of this type of work for most runners or triathletes, although high volume runners would probably benefit from around 40 minutes worth of work, 10% of your running volume/time or 30 minutes minimum is usually recommended . Experience tells me that doing much more than say 40 minutes worth in this region impacts on the next zone higher, aerobic capacity work or Vo2, by leaving you partially fatigued as you start the Vo2 sessions, and then unable to hit track or session times as a result!

Next:- Part Three Aerobic  Capacity or Vo2 training.