Aerobic v Anaerobic

Hi there.

Last Monday night I went for a 6 mile run with my club. For me the pace was quite fast, and for the first 4 miles it was a bit of a struggle. However, I'm trying to speed up at the moment and so I put my head down and pressed on. At around about the start of mile 5 everything suddenly felt much easier. I felt stronger, my running felt smoother, my strides felt longer and I was able to speed up. I finished with a bit of a sprint and felt that I could have gone on happily. It was great!

Anyway, this weekend at a race a club member told me that this experience was probably related to the transition between aerobic and anaerobic running. She told me that when we begin to run anaerobically our bodies begint to oxygenate themselves on a cellular level.

Can anyone tell me anything more about this? Is there anything I can do to get to the anaerobic stage more quickly?

Many thanks :)


  • Aerobic training is training which requires plenty of oxygen. It focuses on the making the heart and respiration rates.
    This means actions such as jogging or cycling.
    Anaerobic training is training which uses movements which require very little oxygen.
    These are quick explosive actions which last a short space of time such as sprinting.

    Found these articles for you:

    I think the articles should answer your questions somewhat.

  • Wee P, what your club member told you sounds confused to me. I'm a bit rusty but isn't aerobic where your body uses oxygen and (usually) glucose to make energy and anaerobic where it uses the energy stores in the cell for when the energy requirements of the muscles exceeds that which can be supplied aerobically. I could go on about ATP, ADP etc but I know I would get it wrong and there must be hundreds on here that could give you a better account!

    Anyway for long runs you are using primarily energy from aerobic respiration. Sprinters use primarily anaerobic. You can train both but training the level at which you can exercise without starting to use your anaerobic energy is probably most useful for distance running - in other words becoming aerobically efficient.

    I can't explain why you should suddenly have got an energy boos - perhaps it was just the endorphins kicking in the made you feel good - you didn't actually have any more energy but your body was ignoring the pain!

    I'm sure I am going to get people saying i am dead wrong so can I just say in advance I blame my old biology teacher!
  • Hello Beth and Popsider,

    Many thanks both of you for clarifying this, and thanks in particular for the articles, which were v. helpful. I think that either my running pal was mistaken or I misunderstood :) Either way, I can see now that I'll have to look for another explanation for my sudden second wind. In fact, my money is with you, Popsider: I think it must have been endorphins :)
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