Let’s Get This Aerobic Capacity!

It’s time for some volume conditioning.  For me it’s cause of these three things, I’m sure you can cross at least one of too..

  1. Charity Run (Sporting life 10 k)
  2. Shed some of the extra bulk that got put on over a long winter
  3. Off season training for sport (basketball)

To help you I’ve put together a couple of key ingredients to consider for your plan, much of this has been adapted from Essentials of Strength Training by Thomas R. Baechle, it’s a great resource if you want to get smart training and involved in the field.  However, I do believe this should suffice.  The offseason is a time to Evaluate, Plan and Execute so before you can even get going into your postseason you have to know your needs and have a plan.  If you fail to plan you plan to fail.  

There is a colossal difference between training and working out. Training is when you have a progressive plan with measurable goals. Working out is anything that makes you sweaty and tired but lacks consistency, direction and purpose. – Alan Stein


This is the first step is where you look at where you are and what your personal needs are based on where you are now and what your goals are.  The most important thing to me is basketball, so that is where I focused.  According to data by Nieman looking at VO2 max for athletes in sports, a male basketball player needs a VO2 max of 52-56 ml/kg/min.  When I got this tested I scored right in that range so although I could improve it my time and energy is better spent elsewhere.  

I have also read that basketball players run between 4.5 to 7.5 km during a game. Of course this is not continuous but it gives a base of the volume I need to be able to run.  Past that point my training may be better spent in more High Intensity type training.  Thus I think the Sporting Life 10 K is a great goal to train for to keep me committed to my cardio program.  I recommend you find something you can hold yourself accountable to as well.  If you want to sign up, let me know but just be aware that we are racing.

So what do you need to look at?
– Maximal Aerobic Power, which is the total energy your aerobic system can produce.  How hard can you go for a long time?
– Lactate Threshold is the point during your workout where lactate begins to build up.  Lactate is the stuff that makes you feel sore you would like this threshold to increase so you can do more work before your body begs you to quit.  When do your muscles slow down and feel heavy?
– Exercise Economy which is the energy cost of an activity at a given exercise velocity.  Will you be able to do the same exercise using less energy?

How good are you at these three factors? How good do you wish to be? Where should you spend your time?  That’s on you but if you reach out and love to help figure this out with you.


When designing an aerobic training program you need to consider:

  1. Exercise type – cycling, running, swimming and so on
  2. Training frequency – number of training sessions per day per week.  This depends on your needs, time available and other workouts
  3. Training Intensity – You want to overload your body based on your max heart rate (220-age = Max Heart Rate). Know the range you wish to start of in. If you are just starting of this should be <70% but you will quickly begin to figure out where you want to be.
  4. Exercise Duration – length of time per training session.  Remember that the longer the duration of your workout, the lower your intensity must be.   This holds true for any type of workout and program.
  5. Exercise Progression – What is your plan to maintain or advance your aerobic system? Without adjusting your workouts you can plateau in as soon as 5 weeks.

So what type of ways can you train this system?

  • Long, Slow Distance Training which is 30 to 120 minutes of slow paced training.  It should be a volume greater than what your race or sport requires.  This is why I made 10 K my goal.  Although this training is important you should try to move to HIT training as soon as possible for sport transferability and higher weight loss.
  • Pace/Tempo Running is going at an intensity at or slightly higher than race/sport competition intensity.  This can be done in sets and it is where you can really challenge your lactate threshold.
  • Interval Training for aerobic work should consist of intervals of 3-5 minutes (although they can go as low as 30s) and have a 1-2:1 work to rest ratio.  Anything more intense than this is still working out but is relying much more on your anaerobic system. Interval training is probably the ideal for most gym goers out there and the goal should be to get to this type of training for weight loss and sports needs once you are happy with your aerobic capacity.
  • Repetition Training is similar to Interval Training but with 30 to 90s intervals.  You should be moving at a pace that you would not be able to keep up for much longer, so somewhere between a jog and a sprint.  The work to rest ratio should be about 4-6:1 as it is more anaerobic but will help transfer to your aerobic efficiency.  Again this type of training can be great for weight loss or team sports.
  • Fartlek Training is a combination of the above types of training done in a single session.  

Whether you do them together or separately it’s a great idea to implement all these types of training at some point during your training periods.


Put your plan in to action.  This is when you train hard, train smart and train with consistency.

But don’t try to rush your progress. Build your success ‘brick by brick.’ – Alan Stein

Go do it! And keep doing it!




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