With all of the focus on High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), Crossfit, and testosterone-fueled events such as Tough Mudders and Spartan races it seems that building an endurance base the old-fashioned Long Slow Distance way may be relegated to history.
And, this turn of fitnessí evolutionary screw makes a lot of sense since HIIT and the like are effective and loads of fun, while going LSD can in fact be boring and lead to overuse injuries. However, I am here to tell you that just as it is good to mix up our workout of the days, it is good to mix up our fitness plans over the long term. We need to periodize our plans so that we still are able to build a healthy and effective endurance base from time to time. Not only will our hearts and lungs thank us, so will the the rest of our bodies and our minds.
A good way to approach the building of your endurance base is to do so after your sportís season has ended, assuming you have a season, or after a particularly tough race or event. Though there is a wide range of thought regarding training intensity to target when building oneís endurance base, most trainers and coaches tend to agree that it is best start out low and slow.
The best way to go about this is to monitor your intensity with a heart rate monitor or by using the talk test, which is simply not going fast enough for talking to become difficult. If you go with a heart monitor, which you should since they are inexpensive and make tracking progress a breeze, you will need to keep your heart rate below 70 or 80 percent of your maximum heart rate (use the subtract-age-from-180 method to get a rough starting point) depending upon the school of thought you follow. For the vast majority of us this means that we will need to slow way down during our training, which will give our bodies and minds time to rest and recover while new capillaries and other processes are being built.