In some respects you already qualify as an endurance athlete just by doing the training. Since I began this quest two months ago I have averaged running, in total,64 k per week or 40 miles. I remember many years ago seeing a picture of two guys climbing a local mountain, well I say climbing, they were running up it. I turned to Jamie, 'I know that mountain, thats not a race, I mean, people don't do that do they?'.......'Yep' said Jamie 'and its 55 kilometres'. I was- and still am- aghast at how this was possible. Now Jamie had run the 'Comrades' in South Africa in his youth and thats two marathons back to back, so, respect...but this was up mountains as well!
I have since run all parts of the 55k course but not all at the same time so I now know - or I think I know- what is involved........and its much harder than even I imagined.....and thats the challenge.
Now first, here's the good news. I have read and researched extensively about all this and there is a school of thought and a discipline coming out of California - of course - called Crossfit Endurance. The basic theory is that you do short, half hour bursts, of highly intensive mixed fitness routines, including weights, excersises, sprints etc.......and NO long runs. Sounds fab and I have tried to incorporate some of this into what I do. Without being technical this anearobic activity actually assists and improves the aerobic capacity needed for endurance athletes. It focuses on strength because when doing these runs its your legs ( quads, hip flexors, calves etc) that will give out before anything else. Having done a few long distances I get this, but - but hears the bad news - common sense tells me that you need physical AND mental prep to keep going for such a long period of time so, tough as it is, I will continue with one long run per week.
As with all relatively new ideas there are people who swear by Crossfit and others who think its snake oil but being a person who always likes to cover his arse; I do a bit of both.
However what I do know is that Tabata ( look it up) and other Crossfit regimes do burn calories for far longer after the workout, than do long aerobic sessions, so its worth it to everyone to explore these ideas.
Many people comment on my blogs and its both useful, funny and illuminating ....but nearly everyone does it privately by email, which is fine......I guess you're all shy.