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Endurance Athlete Training Zones for Long-Distance Competition

Properly quantifying an endurance athlete’s training zones or “gears” when preparing for a marathon or similar long-distance event requires specific procedures and calculations. Interestingly, many methods for training elite endurance sport athletes are based on empirical evidence and routines shared among athletes. There is a comparative lack of published peer-reviewed literature on the subject as research relies on the stringency of the scientific method; which often creates limitations to real-world applications for coaching and conditioning. For example, research often emphasizes VO2max values when examining improvements in aerobic capacity, but many coaches prefer monitoring progress using heart rates (HR) or movement speeds for simplicity. The following information relies on strategies applied by successful coaches with progressively improved race times functioning as the supporting evidence for improved endurance event performance.

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