Steve Magness: Understanding Endurance Development (DIGITAL)


It’s all about how you manipulate the constraints in the workout.

One of the things that we pride ourselves on at The Seminar is to bring in the people who are at the top of the field in their areas. So, with that in mind, The 2015 Seminar, we were joined by the man who wrote the book on endurance training, Steve Magness. This sixty-three-minute lecture is an evaluation and walk through of how Steve trains his distance athletes, so coaches can have a better understanding of how to develop these qualities in their athletes.

Steve starts out discussing about how we think as people, and how different types of reasoning are important when looking at how they, as distance coaches, look at training, and where the idea of stress fits into those types of reasoning and training.

Steve then breaks down what endurance is. He provides examples of where in science people see endurance and how it fits into the “real coaching world” and training. He then shares what he sees endurance is. This includes the model that he uses to create endurance and how he trains his athletes. His training is built around three questions:

1) What is the training adaptation we are looking for?
2) What stimulus leads to that adaptation?
3) How much is enough?

This leads Steve to break down how all stress plays into how he programs with his athletes, and where these stressors impact what he’s doing with training. Steve breaks down each and every aspect from their training, and the basic science and research backing it. Everything from how and why they cool down in a group and the role in socializing in it and how it impacts recovery and stress, to what workouts work when and for what. He displays how they look at techniques vs fatigue and how programming is affected by that in order to improve endurance and not just reinforce bad technique.

The last 30 minutes of this discussion is a step by step break down of how Steve programs for his athletes. This includes everything from the general “base” to building towards the race, and some different modifications he uses to help increase the stress on the athletes without “breaking” them. He shares with us multiple examples of different programs he has used for different athletes based on how they adapt and events they participate. This includes examples and reasoning of workouts and periodization for two top level performers. He also touches upon how they evaluated and altered the training for three “problem” athlete’s they had and how they altered training based on each individual “problem”. Steve closes by sharing with us how he would implement these principles with team sport athlete’s and how it can simply fit and progress with the “sport science” approach of today.


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