Looking to improve your endurance and get faster? Two of the major factors come that into play when looking to progress is your V02max and anaerobic threshold. V02max is the measure of maximal oxygen consumption and is an indicator of aerobic performance. Your anaerobic threshold (aka your lactate threshold) is your body’s exercise intensity at which lactic acid (a byproduct of energy production) builds up faster than it can be cleared. Both your body’s ability to utilize oxygen and clear lactate out of the muscle are vital to create energy, maintain muscle pH, and ultimately swim/bike/run longer and faster.
The easiest way to increase V02max and anaerobic threshold is to include Tabata intervals into your endurance workouts. Tabata intervals, created by Dr. Izumi Tabata, are a high intensity interval circuit consisting of 20 seconds of work followed by 10 seconds of rest. This is typically repeated for 8 rounds. Dr. Tabata found that performing this 4 minute workout 5 days a week increases V02max by 13% and anaerobic capacity by 28% over a 6 week period.
This short workout can be included in your swim, bike, or run workouts on a daily basis. I will mix up my workouts by adding a Tabata interval before, in the middle, or at the end of any endurance workout.
How to perform a Tabata Workout:
After a minimum of a 10 minute moderate intensity warm up, perform the following intervals:
Remember that during these intervals, you need to go as hard/fast as you possibly can for the 20 second duration. During Dr. Tabata’s study, his subjects preformed their cycling workouts at 170% of their V02max! So if you want the true benefits of Tabata workouts, make sure you are working as hard as you can.
Begin adding these intervals into your workouts and you are bound to see improvements in your endurance racing!
Read Dr. Tabata’s study here
Sean Spire is the Head Coach of ASL. He was a competitive swimmer who discovered CrossFit and Ironman Triathlons. He has his BS in Exercise Science from Florida State University.