Endurance Training – Is the Effort worth it?


In two previous articles, The Myth of Exercise and HIIT we looked at why pinning your weight loss hopes on exercise might prove to be unfruitful. Certainly, the picture isn’t always clear.

In this article we are going to explore a few thoughts on endurance training, how it might be of benefit and what we can really expect from building it into our health regime.

First of all we’ll take a look at what we mean by ‘endurance training’. Any training that increases our endurance can be classified as endurance training and usually improves either or both our muscular endurance and our cardiac endurance. In so doing not only can we operate for longer periods of time but also our technique stays good for longer.

Long distance runners are well known for their great endurance so can we get better by running longer and longer distances? Absolutely! Millions of runners dragging themselves over marathon finishing lines have gotten there by doing exactly this and if you can run for distances beyond 26 miles you certainly are an endurance athlete. But runners have been getting much smarter with their training and have developed numerous improved endurance-training techniques that we can use. These techniques will undoubtedly improve your endurance and fitness and you might find them easier to motivate yourself for than repeating long jogs around the streets.

One of our favourites here at Waetugo is the wonderfully named Yasso Technique or Yasso 800s. Bart Yasso, the designer of the eponymous technique suggests that those wishing to run a marathon identify what time they would like to complete it in – let’s say 5 hours. In training you then run 800 meters in 5 minutes. Simply convert your goal time from hours and minutes into minutes and seconds. So if your goal time was 4 hours and 45 minutes you would now run 800s in 4 minutes and 45 seconds. After each 800 you take a break by maybe slowing down to a slow jog or a walk for an equivalent time. To begin with, you might only be able to do a couple of these but each week you add one 800 at the fast pace and endurance fitness inevitably follows. Fans of the Yasso method seem to find that it is more fun than simply running mile after mile after mile, night after night after night and it might even be easier to motivate yourself for a Yasso session than a traditional long distance jog – after all, you are starting with a quick 800 meters.

Here at Waetugo we are fans of exercising in the great outdoors and in particular in a mountain environment. Mountains are a challenging place at the best of times and increasing endurance makes them a safer and more enjoyable pursuit. When exercising for the mountains we might add weight to our training packs or simply push ourselves further by adding in rewards such as a break at a tea shop that might be a little way off our route thus adding a mile or two.

We like endurance training. But what about its effects on weight loss?

A study we like by Sajad Ahmadizad and colleagues entitled Effects of resistance versus endurance training on serum adiponectin and insulin resistance index suggests that endurance training is great for increasing insulin resistance, which is fantastic for our health but does nothing for increasing adiponectin. And that’s key in the world of weight loss as adiponectin levels are lower in obese people than they are in those with slimmer waist lines suggesting our tummies aren’t changed much by our endurance efforts. In this study, endurance training took the form of running for between twenty minutes and thirty minutes a day for twelve weeks. Interestingly, the runners started at 20 minutes and had built up to 30 minutes a day by week three. The intensity was maintained by keeping within certain heart rate limits. So slimmer, trimmer bodies didn’t occur but healthier, fitter ones certainly did.

However another study completed by Jing et al boldly stated that either endurance training alone or endurance training combined with strength training did result in weight loss and reduction of fat, but this study was conducted only on high school students so maybe age is a factor. Unfortunately there is no full text article of this study for us to link to.

As the number of members here at Waetugo increase we would love to gather your opinions together in the hope of answering some of the weight loss through exercise questions so please, sign up and start adding your information onto your own personal page and build up a picture that you can share when you feel ready. If you get into endurance activities and find they really help, we want to known – your opinion, your input is the most valuable thing we have here.

Also add to the comments below. What are your endurance training tips and favourite endurance exercises?

Good luck with all of your efforts.

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