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Aerobic training methods

This is an excerpt from Fitness Professional's Handbook 7th Edition eBook With Web Resource by Edward T. Howley & Dixie L. Thompson.

Once a training base has been established, the focus can shift to specific aspects of performance during each training session. A variety of aerobic training methods can be used to achieve performance goals, and each method is unique in how it adjusts training intensity and duration to achieve a particular outcome. The major methods of aerobic training are tempo training, aerobic interval training, fartlek training, and anaerobic interval training (discussed later in the chapter).

Tempo Training

Tempo training uses an intensity that is at or slightly below that used in the competition (14). For improvements in V over timeO2max, this type of training is superior to LSD training (33). The purpose of these training sessions is to develop a sense of an appropriate pace for competitions, and the duration of each session is usually 20 to 40 min. Hanc (29) suggests four methods to choose the appropriate intensity for these runs:

  1. Recent race: Add 30 to 40 sec to the current 5K pace or 15 to 20 sec to the 10K pace.
  2. HR: Should be 85% to 90% of maximum HR.
  3. Perceived exertion: Should be an 8 on a scale of 1 to 10 (a comfortable effort would be 5; racing would be close to 10).
  4. Talk test: A question like "Pace okay?" should be possible, but conversation won't be.


Jack Daniels has written extensively about this topic in his book Daniels' Running Formula (14). In addition, a website with a calculator based on Daniels' principles is available to determine the pace for a tempo training session (www.runsmartproject.com/calculator). This calculator was used to determine the pace for the following two runners: Anna, who is currently able to run a 10K at a race pace of 10 min · mi-1 (62:10 finishing time), and Rodney, who is able to run a 10K at a race pace of 7 min · mi-1 (43:30 finishing time). The pace during their tempo training session will vary slightly depending on the total duration of the session. For a 20 min tempo run, each should be able to maintain an intensity similar to their LT pace but below race pace. For each additional 5 min of exercise duration, the pace should slow by about 1% (14). Table 15.1 shows the tempo training pace for each runner based on the exercise duration and the runner's personal performance in the 10K using Daniels' calculator.


Table 15.1

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Learn more about Fitness Professional's Handbook, Seventh Edition With Web Resource.