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Endurance Fitness for High-Risk, High-Performance Industries

24 January 2024

Written By: Michael Laverriere, MS, CSCS, New Hampshire National Guard, Strength & Conditioning Coach


Starting Endurance TrainingEndurance training is essential for individuals in high-risk, high-performance industries such as military, fire defense, and law enforcement. This type of training focuses on enhancing cardiorespiratory endurance, which is the ability of the circulatory and respiratory systems to supply oxygen during sustained physical activities. By engaging in endurance training, these professionals can improve their cardiovascular efficiency, which is essential to maintaining physical readiness and performance under challenging conditions.


Starting Endurance Training

For beginners, it's crucial to start slowly. If you're new to endurance activities, begin with 1-2 sessions a week, covering manageable distances. Increasing the distance by about 0.5 miles weekly is a safe and effective way to progress. The focus should be on the quality of workouts rather than quantity, to develop a sustainable and healthy approach to endurance training.


Progressive Overload

Gradual increase in training complexity is key. As your body becomes accustomed to certain activities, making them more challenging to ensure continuous progress is important. You can adjust factors such as intensity, time, type, distance, and rest periods. When making progressions, alter only one or two variables at a time. Training should include sessions both below and above your target pace.


Progressive OverloadZone Running

Zone running is an effective method for self-regulating training intensity. It doesn't specify distance, pace, or elevation but focuses on heart rate. For example, a 20-year-old with a maximum heart rate (220-age) of 200 BPM would have Zone 2 (Light Base Building) calculated as 60-70% of their max heart rate, translating to 120-140 BPM.



Endurance training isn't limited to running. High-impact activities like running can tax joints and muscles, so incorporating alternative exercises is beneficial. Activities like rowing, swimming, hiking, biking, and even weightlifting can complement and enhance your running performance. These activities provide cardiovascular benefits while allowing your body to recover from the repetitive impact of running.


Recovery, Warmups, and Cooldowns

Recovery, Warmups, and CooldownsRecovery is a crucial component of any training regimen. Training stimulates improvement, but rest is when the body repairs and strengthens itself. Overtraining without adequate recovery can lead to overuse injuries. Warmups should transition from general activities that raise the body’s core temperature to dynamic stretches specific to the workout. After exercising, cooldowns help to reduce the heart rate and start the recovery process gradually. Light activity followed by static stretches (held for 30 seconds) is recommended.


Key Points to Remember


  • Always consult with your doctor before engaging in physical activity to ensure you are safe to do so. 
  • Allow progression to occur naturally; don't rush the process.
  • Avoid overtraining to prevent injuries and maintain a positive relationship with endurance activities.
  • Rest and recovery are critical for improvement as well as injury prevention
  • Improved cardiovascular efficiency not only aids in job performance but can also enhance everyday life and speed up recovery times.
  • This approach to endurance training is designed to meet the unique demands of high-risk, high-performance industries, ensuring professionals in these fields maintain peak physical condition for their challenging roles.



About SiteWell Solutions

SiteWell Solutions supports HR, Safety, and Business Leaders in high-risk industries. We focus on preventing injuries, enhancing employee morale, and cutting unnecessary costs. Our specialized services include work hardening programs, occupation-specific conditioning, pre-habilitation, performance nutrition, and mental resilience training. We work collaboratively with businesses to fortify your workforce, boost productivity, and build a safety culture grounded in physical and mental resilience.


Stay connected with us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube for the latest in employee wellness and injury prevention. Contact us at to discover how we help your workforce move and feel their best.

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