Fundamental endurance, the basis for progress in running

Fundamental endurance, the basis for progress in running

Mastering your fundamental endurance, running at the right pace is one of the main qualities of a runner. Today, I am explaining to you why fundamental endurance is important and how to ensure that you know and apply the right pace of fundamental endurance. One of the main running tips to progress in running is to run slowly.
Whether you are a beginner in running or an experienced runner, whether in training or competition, running at the right pace helps to avoid unnecessary fatigue. And the most important rhythm of all to progress well is well... The slowest! Because it is the one we apply during most of our training. Let's go for the basics of fundamental endurance, a look that seems harmless but is not at all!

What exactly is fundamental endurance?

Running at the right pace is mainly about mastering fundamental endurance. This can be read everywhere and said like that, it may seem surprising, but there are good reasons and I will explain them to you here.
In terms of sensations, fundamental endurance is a rhythm where you are very comfortable, where you can talk with your training partners without running out of breath, in short where you can enjoy your run as if you were going hiking. This rhythm is the one where your body has the means to move forward using almost exclusively oxygen as an oxidant. In short, if you are trained to run for a long time, it is a rhythm that you are supposed to be able to reproduce for hours.
Basic premise: To progress in running is to run in fundamental endurance for about 70% of your training.

Why running in fundamental endurance makes progress?

In fact, fundamental endurance has many advantages. From a general point of view, running is not about increasing the amount of oxygen you inhale, it is about improving the way you use that oxygen. And fundamental endurance is a rhythm that contributes greatly to this improvement. Here are the main sectors that it allows to work:

Strengthen your heart

The heart is a very large muscle. Muscle your heart is actually making it adapt to the effort by increasing the blood flow it will be able to treat with each beat. Thus, the more we progress, the more muscle the heart builds and the less time it will need to beat to deliver the same amount of "fresh" blood to the whole body and especially to the muscles. The muscles will have more fresh oxygen available and will be able to produce more energy thanks to the aerobic system.

Adapt your muscles

Running at a slow pace also means developing your network of blood capillaries within the muscles to better accommodate fresh blood. An increase in the number of mitochondria is also observed. Mitochondria being cells that participate in the creation of energy, the more energy can be created and the faster we can go through the aerobic pathway.


Fundamental endurance is the ideal rhythm for an effective recovery because by running at this rhythm, you only progress with your aerobic system, you do not produce or very little waste, you even participate in its recycling if the body has stored it during an effort (hence the essential recovery jogging after a quality training or a run). The day after a major effort, the recovery jogging allows to recover muscularly because the effort increases the fresh oxygen supply which will accelerate the healing and micro-lesions generated by the effort.

Important precision on fundamental endurance

Some of the sectors mentioned above are also progressing by working at higher intensities... However, the fatigue generated is not the same. Developing blood capillaries or mitochondria is a long-term process. The few kilometres of quality performed in a fractionated session are not enough for this development. Only the fundamental endurance rhythm will allow you to do this work continuously without generating additional fatigue. In fact, with training, fundamental endurance is a rhythm that you must feel like you can run almost unlimited!

When to run in fundamental endurance?

In fact, running at the right pace is running in fundamental endurance as soon as you are not in a quality session. You must therefore run in fundamental endurance during the entirety of footings, whether short or long, but not only. The 15 to 30 minutes of warm-up you do before your sessions are done at this rate. The recovery periods of the quality sessions are also important. Without necessarily making calculations, if you respect these basic principles you will see that reaching 70% of the training volume in fundamental endurance is rather easy.

How fast should I run?

If you know your VMA, it is simple the fundamental endurance is around 60% VMA (+/- 5%). Otherwise I will explain here how to calculate your VMA. If you have a heart rate watch, you should not exceed 75% FCM (I will come back to this notion later on which can be refined) and roughly speaking you will be in the nails. Cardio is even ideal when you are not sure how to master this pace because it allows you to validate in real time that you are running at the right pace.

The trap of fundamental endurance

The trap of fundamental endurance is nothing more or less than going too fast. When you want to improve, you are tempted to go faster during football because you think that if you go faster you will necessarily get your body used to going faster. And it's easy to jog in fundamental endurance, if you go 1km/h faster you're a little more breathless but you can accept that to improve? Error this rhythm is easy and it must always remain so. To go faster is to exceed your aerobic threshold and develop muscular acidosis. The threshold principle as such does not exist because this acidosis exists even at the lowest speeds. But when you run in fundamental endurance, the energy comes mainly from the aerobic pathway and muscle acidosis is low. (< 2mmol/l for insiders!)
The faster we accelerate, the more the body will need the anaerobic system to move forward. More acidity in the muscles, more fatigue that will eventually harm your progress more than anything else. It is another working register, interesting but only when it is programmed and placed in reasonable proportions. Otherwise the progress will likely be stopped either by overtraining or injury. In the article on jogging, I tell you more about the place of jogging in your training.
In short, enjoy it! That won't stop you from progressing quite the contrary!
Basic endurance is an easy pace, as we have seen. It's time to disconnect from the whole progression, performance aspect. Keep this energy, this motivation to do something split and give everything at that moment. Take advantage of your basic endurance jogging to relieve stress, thinking of nothing but the environment around you if you have the chance to run in nature. Take the opportunity to share these moments with friends as soon as possible. Football passes at a speed when we talk... In any case, relax, take this outing as a walk that will allow you to be stronger when necessary, because don't forget, even in fundamental endurance we progress!
So, fundamental endurance no longer holds any secrets for you, right? Were you already applying it or are you going to be careful with it? I'm curious to see the returns after "use"! And if you found this article interesting, feel free to share it with the buttons below, your friends may find it interesting too! ????

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