What to know about endurance training?

What is endurance training? Athletic activity that focused on aerobic performance (e.g., running marathons).

When I started 2003 my triathlon training, I didn’t know any fundamentals of endurance training. I just wanted to become fit. Then I registered for a triathlon race out of pure fun. After the race I realised that I have to change from unspecific training to specific training.

Then I bought the book “the training bible” by Joe Friel and read more about endurance sports. I summarized the basic terms here. If I caught your interest and you want to know more details, I highly recommend to read the book yourself.

Systematic training

means that you follow a training schedule which should be based on approved training principles. It should take into account your individual needs of your body. This is why we built the following principles into the TriCoreTraining online coaching tool which is for runners, bikers and triathlon athletes:

  • Each workout should achieve something specific for your body
  • You should improve continously and don’t try to increase in big steps
  • Recovery is an important element to give your body the possibility to increase
    • Less is more – too much training is not good for growing your muscles

Why should you train?

You stress your body and the next time you become fitter. One training principle is the principle of stepwise over loading (no excessive over loading – this harms your body). A repeated over compensation leads to a better fitness through the right load at the right time.

More training principles:

  • Training should be specific – this means a run workout helps your running and a bike workout helps your bike fitness
  • The benefit of a workout is reduced if you decrease frequency, duration and intensity and the effect of short time workouts disappears faster than from long time workouts
  • Training is indiviual – you can’t take the training schedule of another athlete
  • You have to reach your peak at your races – we want to reach our maximum at the right time (that’s the goal of our season). Shortly before a race we reduce the load (by 20-50% – tapering), because our body reacts 10-21 days after a workout.
  • Recovery is the key to a better performance

Essential terms for your training

  • Frequency
    How often i.e. per week you should train. Some studies say that 3-5 times per week are perfect but for an Ironman this is not enough.
  • Duration
    How long should a single workout be? Only long workouts aren’t useful, also shorter, more intensive workouts are important. Your longest workout should be as long as your longest race.
  • Intensity
    Intensity is not easy to measure. How stressful is a workout for you? We use intensity zones based on heart rate zones. That’s why you need a heart rate monitor.
  • Volume
    Volume is calculated by duration x frequency, i.e. 3×1 hour = 3 hours volume.
  • Workload
    is calculated by multiplying frequency, duration and intensity.

The TriCoreTraining system is based on the well-known training system of “periodization” (also known as cyclization) (since 1940). Your body is repeatingly confronted with load and relief. This system is approved by medical studies.


For hobby athletes a proportion of 3:1 is established. Three weeks of load followed by one week of recovery. This is also valid for your training week and the containing workouts – three days of load and one day of recovery.

But how to plan our training year?

There are different phases and you have to set a goal for each cycle.

The training year is defines the macrocycle. You plan your year based on your main races. All workouts will be planned based on the most important races (this is why you have to define them in the online coach). The next cycle is the mesocycle – the division of your training year in phases – starting from general training to specific.

Here are the phases of the mesocycle:

  • the general preparation phase (PREP, BASE)
  • the specific preparation phase (BUILD)
  • the race phase (PEAK/RACE)
  • the transition phase / recovery phase (TRANSITION)

The BASE-BUILD-PEAK-RACE phases (main training periods) last on average for 12 to 21 weeks.

The microcycle relates to the planning of your week, when each workout during a week is placed.

The training system also takes into consideration the special needs of the athlete:

  • Endurance
  • Strength
  • Speed

These three corners of your training programme are based on the training principles of specialization, so you need different training units to fullfil different needs of your body.

All this knowledge is built into the online training system of TriCoreTraining and it took us one year to develop the software.

If you’re interested in trying it out, just register.

Category: FAQ | Training plan | Triathlon