Aerobic training and anaerobic training: What’s the difference?
When it comes to running training, you always read about aerobic and anaerobic training – but what do they mean?
The difference between “aerobic” and “anaerobic” training refers to the oxygen consumption during energy conversion in the body:
- Aerobic energy metabolism: to gain energy for muscle work, the body uses oxygen when burning carbohydrates and fats.
- Anaerobic energy metabolism: At higher levels of effort, carbohydrates are converted into energy through lactic acid fermentation without the consumption of oxygen.
This is how the two forms of energy metabolism differ during actual training:
|low intensity with lower pulse range
|high intensity with a higher pulse range
|carbohydrates and fats
|increase endurance, burn fat
|build muscle, increase performance
|Form of training
|light endurance sport (e.g. jogging, swimming)
|weight training, sprints, etc.
Understanding the difference between the two types of training can help you better tailor your running training to your personal goal:
As a beginner, you should start your training at a lower intensity. As a guideline, you should still be able to talk to your running partner without getting short of breath. Your training will still be in the aerobic zone.
As a more experienced runner, you will realise that aerobic and anaerobic phases alternate depending on the intensity of your training. For many training goals, a combination of aerobic and anaerobic training is necessary.