Stamina, endurance, speed????

I have been reading a training book by Brian Clarke. He describes his definitions of these 3 words - and then goes on about training for them. Like most running trainers , his emphasis is mostly upon racing.

He says that "STAMINA" is the ability to finish the distance of a race (forgetting about pace) - "ENDURANCE" is the enduring of the pain of finishing the race at race pace and SPEED is the ability to "kick" at the finish.

His book goes into great length - as they do - but for me his simple further explanation that stamina comes from long slow distance training, endurance comes from tempo training and speed comes from interval training is helpful to me in my understanding of other training plans that I see. He also goes into "strength" ( which relates to pace) by discussing hill workouts.

Speed (as from interval training) is only of use if you are intending to kick across the finishing line (perhaps to beat another competitor) - from my understanding, for my purposes all I need is to do the stamina and endurance training for the type of running that I wish to achieve ( being non-competitive and unlikely to be "racing" somebody across a finish line !! :)


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9 Replies

  • No - I'm not really even competitive with myself :) "Confucious say : "What does man do with 1/10th of second saved in 100 meter race?? :)

    I'm probably more "methodical" - eg I have set myself a time of 1hour 10 minutes to run my 10K race next week - so all my training recently has been to achieve the required pace over the distance. My goal is to cross the line as close to 70 minutes as I can :)

  • I'll have to pick up that book at the library. I like that breakdown. It's funny how we're all different, the kick at the end of a race is my favorite part.

  • I like to "kick" at the end of a 5K parkrun - but not to beat anybody - I just like to finish runs strongly - it's a sign that I have paced correctly ( although some would say that it means that I have paced incorrectly as you are supposed to finish a race with absolutely nothing left!! :) )

  • I didn't think i was but a few times now i have tried to beat someone at the end. It's really fun

  • Me too! The funny thing is that on one of my earliest races I was 200m from the finish line and in front of me was a young lady. I was catching her and I was just about to do the gentlemanly thing and follow her home when something clicked..... I pulled out and sprinted past....

    Of course, "sprint" here is a relative term in my case.

  • I think the ablity to sprint is the same as the ability to kick down a bit more power to get up hills, and therefore no to be discounted regardless of how little your overall time matters to you. Which is why people alternate hill work and intervals for improving speed. I have done a couple of 10ks where there were killer steep hills in the first 2k, and while I was able to slowly grind up them, not having the leg power to do it properly then left my legs battered for the rest of the run - which placed an extra burden on my stamina and endurance. A good balance of all three is best, IMO.

  • I might be wrong :) - but I understand speed training and hill training as two distinctly different things with two different purposes and the reason that many plans kind of alternate between them is that they don't want too many hard quality workouts in a given week so they will do a hill workout in one week and a speed workout in the next. Hill training builds strength/power for improved overall pace - but speed workouts improve turnover for final sprint / kick at the finish. But as you say - both types of workout are valuable. This is all theoretical of course - I just read a lot!! :) I have yet to get past tempo workouts - which at this stage of my running is what I need to improve my endurance over 5-10K.

  • The two types of training are different, yes, but it is the same kind of explosive power you are demanding of your muscles.

    I have to confess I am terrible about doing interval training or any kind of speed work. I do not enjoy it one bit so always find excuses to do something else. It is something I need to address though. It occurred to me the other day that in functional terms, they ability to sprint short to medium distances probably has a lot more practical application than being able to run 20 miles slowly. Being able to run away from danger or after fleeing children/thieves/buses etc hinges on one's time for a fast 400 metres, and my speed over that distance is almost exactly the same as my speed over long distances.

  • My experience is long slow runs make you faster over short distances, and short fast runs make you faster over long distances, they both have their place in training, and compliment each other, plus they help to make your runs more interesting and varied..

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