Whaaat? What endurance training? Getting up in the morning is endurance enough for me, you say. I know, I know. But don’t you ever want to see how far you can go when it comes to exercise? How about finding your limits? It is enticing and frightening at the same time. Do me a favor. Watch any marathon finish. Or your favorite game winning end. Any military training. Watch amputees finishing The Boston marathon. Google Nick Vujicic swimming with the sharks. Watch the movie Everest (lots of tissues necessary, be ready). Feel the lump in your throat. We are meant to fight for something bigger than health, love, and peace. Now discontinue reading this article if things like that don’t touch you. Or stay and see if you get any interest. Are you willing to try endurance training? Have you ever wanted to compete? Even if you don’t win, the challenge can drive you to better things. How do you succeed in endurance training when you are a beginner? Can you handle endurance training AND eating primally?
Benefits of endurance training
1. You will feel like a million bucks at the end.
Once you cross that finish line or compete in CrossFit for the first time, do a triathlon, or complete a Tough Mudder. Perhaps If you do something like Scott Jurek by running the ENTIRE Appalachian trail, you may feel like a king of the world. It is the life-changing feeling of completing something phenomenal. Belonging to a small group of people who have ever done something similar. It is about realizing and seeing yourself as something greater than the earlier you.
2. Your body will get in the best shape of your life.
That’s considering your nutrition is on point (more below). Who does NOT want to LGN? (Look Good Naked)
3. You will become way more organized than before.
Your coffee machine will be prepared for the button push in the evening, clothes laid out for your workout the night before. You will think through your meals, social arrangements, and even vacations way ahead of time, and if you enjoy your sport (or you are like me), you will try to squeeze in a workout even on the busiest day. After all, discipline and organization skills never hurt anyone 😉
4. You will experience mental clarity and positivity like never before.
Duh! If you ever went on a long run, hit a trail, or biked for quite a few miles, you know what I am talking about! To me, running creates a zen-like space. It is the time when I get to clear my head, get centered, figure things out, de-stress, and focus. Despite all the possible huffing and puffing along the trail and desire to finish it soon.
5. You will feel much happier.
Yes, it is an addictive feeling from the dopamine release, but also the lightness and positivity you will obtain after completing your endurance training workout. It is habit forming because success breeds success. Every time you finish a run, or a workout you become a little more successful, and willing to do the next.
6. You will want more from your life.
The feeling of accomplishment is great by itself, moreover, it will push you to want more. You will want to fix or leave the relationships that don’t work. Prioritizing will be easy and fun. You will enjoy small things more. In fact, you will want to sign up for another race, hike up another mountain, and lift more weight. I promise.
7. Make more friends and belong to a wonderful community.
This is the best part – you will make friends anywhere you go. You will run and train together. You will belong to a wonderful community (CrossFit is my fav!) and spend holidays, birthdays, and major life events celebrations together. They will become your family through sweat, tears, blisters, races, events, and happy laughter. Enjoy.
Drawbacks of endurance training
Endurance training takes a significant chunk of your time. You will need to cut out more time to train. Sometimes getting up in the dark and heading out for a workout. Sometimes dealing with poor weather conditions and not enjoying it at all. You might be short on time spent with your dearest family, and friends will count you missing. It is temporary because most endurance athletes have seasons – busier and more available, off/on training, pre-and post-event/competition.
I would be a liar if I did not mention that pain will become a part of your routines. You will be sore, and often it will add to the feeling of accomplishment. Often you will beg your significant other for just another massage 🙂
3. You may never go back to your previous life.
I don’t think this belongs to this section, though…
It worked for me: Endurance training on primal lifestyle
I was a smoker in the past. I would smoke a pack or more of cigarettes a day since I was 16. What endurance are we talking about?! I could not get up the 3rd floor without thinking of calling an ambulance and feeling suffocated.
When I moved to the States, I started blowing up, because I quit smoking a few months prior to the move. Everything I ate had sugar in it. Chips were addictive. I did not exercise as a full-time student. Finally, I got fed up in 2012, and after a bad break up I decided to start running. Absolutely hated it at first but started enjoying the results more and more. I trained for my first half-marathon on the treadmill when I spent summer with my parents. That year I ran Lake Placid half in 2:20 and I were high for days. It was incredible. I signed up for another race shortly. It was life-changing. I also felt good that I was fueling up my body with the right foods. It felt so good to be so strong.
As I progressed into long-distance running, I have learned how to properly fuel my body, how to listen to it more, avoid injuries, and balance life as an endurance athlete. To this day, I ran 4 full marathons and 5 halves. I also started CrossFit and fell in love with it deeply. No, I am not bulky if you ask.
Primal Endurance Training: Nutrition
Carbs are not necessary. Trust me. I am not going to dive into this statement right now because it is a topic for a whole other conversation. Of course, you can choose the traditional route and load up on energy gels and starches. You also can achieve some fantastic results by eating whole foods: vegetables, meats, nuts, seeds, healthy fats, and some fruit to power up your body in the best way for your endurance workouts.
Here is an amazing book on how to succeed when it comes to endurance nutrition:
(NOTE: This post contains affiliate links. It means I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you if you purchase through that link to keep me caffeinated this site growing. I only ever recommend things I have used and absolutely love. Thank you for your support and encouragement!)
If you don’t know where to start, take it, as a rule, to keep your carbs low, and add more on the days you have heavy workouts. Choose proper sources when you do – starchy vegetables, white rice, and quinoa. Avoid fruit – all the sugar is pure fructose and more harmful than useful.
5 Ways to Succeed in Endurance Training for Beginners
Take it easy at first. Go slow before you go fast. It is probably possible to run a marathon if you are in a good shape but not advised to do so (it will hurt a lot). Make sure to implement lots of strength training and mobility work no matter which endurance sport you choose. This and right nutrition will help prevent injuries. Sleep more often as you train more (yay!). Recovery is as important as the work you put in.
2. Do research.
Find something that looks fun for YOU. Try it. Stick to the routine for a month and see if you still like it. I am a big believer in doing a FUN workout. Come up with a plan how you are going to fuel up your endurance training to succeed. Research supplements. Add stretching exercises. You will need plenty of those! Stay away from chronic exercise or excessively long or repetitive routines for extended periods of time, because chronic inflammation in your body can lead to a whole slew of issues.
3. Get your food, hydration, and sleep on point.
It goes without saying: food will be essential to your success. The quality of your endurance training will go up if you put the proper fuel in your body. Avoid processed foods, sugar, gluten and other poisonous agents.
4. Avoid stupid mistakes.
Follow the signals your body gives you, and do not push through the injuries. Nobody needs that kind of sacrifice. The best endurance athletes out there have the team of professionals monitoring their health. As a beginner, it is easy to go a bit crazy and display too much commitment.
5. Reward yourself reasonably.
Don’t gobble anything you see in sight after an hour run. We often overestimate how much we should eat post-workout because we get hangry. In addition, our mind tricks us thinking “Well I worked out so hard, I may eat as much as I want”. Unfortunately, that’s not how it goes. Finding the reward is important, though, and if you competed or raced – go out and enjoy your favorite meal. No regrets. I won’t tell anyone.
Things to take home from this article?
⇒ Give endurance training a try
⇒ Before you do, invest some time in research
⇒ Be smart about it!
Questions? Ask away, that’s my favorite topic.
Author: Anya Perry
Anya Perry battled boring diets, low energy, and declining health for over 10 years before she found what works. Now, she helps women achieve their dream state of health, fitness, and vitality… without the struggles, battles of miserable diets