1) Fuelling your body before exercise:
Good endurance relies on having adequate energy sources to fuel your body during exercise, it is therefore really important to consume complex carbohydrates prior to aerobic exercise, along with a small amount of protein and fat.
2) Economy of movement:
One thing that a lot of people neglect in their endurance training is addressing their technique and efficiency. You may think, for example, that having perfect form is not so important on long runs, however if you are wasting energy & lack efficiency in your technique you will undoubtedly perform worse and run out of steam quicker. This recent article on Mo Farah is a great example of how maximising your efficiency can make all the difference.
3) Minimising the effects of Lactic Acid:
Anyone who trains for shorter, more intense intervals of up to around 3mins, is sure to be well acquainted with the cruel mistress that is lactic acid. I regularly find myself on the painful side of lactic workouts so am always very keen to learn any tricks & tips to help minimise the heavy legged, burning agony! Recently I came across a very useful tip which was to have lemon juice 45mins before exercise as it increases blood pH slightly (making it less acidic) therefore when lactic acid begins to build up in the blood it has a little further to go to reach its threshold & become a big problem. I’d therefore recommend trying it to anyone doing some form of anaerobic endurance training, simply squeeze the juice from half a lemon in to 400-500ml of water and you’re sorted.
4) Keeping your Mental Focus:
Running long distances at a fairly decent intensity is never easy, and the mental challenge of the task can be just as hard as the physical challenge at times. My fourth tip would therefore be to keep your mind from wandering, not letting it tell you to give in or slow down, as its all to easy to tell yourself you are tired when your body can keep going. Try to have a goal or some form motivation always in mind to help pull you through.
5) Don’t forget the basics!
Its all too easy sometimes to ignore the fundamental things we know that we need to do, but it is within these areas that often the most benefit can be seen, such as doing an appropriate warm up, a cool down and stretch out afterwards, keeping hydrated, refuelling our bodies with protein and carbohydrates post workout. The most important thing to remember though is to have fun and enjoy the process of improving!