Developing our AEROBIC potential and WELLNESS

Running, November 16, 2016

This article unpacks some of my coaching philosophies on developing our aerobic system. I have taken points from the great running coaches, Arthur Lydiard, Dr. George Sheehan, and Dr. Phil Maffetone. I would encourage all EVERFIT athletes to read other books on this subject to get even better informed.

As an endurance coach my main aim is to educate my athletes on how to blend in daily habits to allow them to move towards the best version of themselves. This allows the body and mind to adapt to the training and maximal enhancement to occur. One facet of this wellness jigsaw is  developing an athletes aerobic system. Any event lasting over 2min will have more energy derived from the aerobic system than the anaerobic system.  It has been well documented that by correctly developing your aerobic capacity to burn fat as a fuel you can develop both endurance and aerobic speed. Endurance events are not about the fastest, they are about the person that slows down the least.

By maximising our aerobic function we are following training philosophies that have been passed down from ancient Greeks. Their emphasis was on the cultivation of the self. The maximum function of the body was part of their "art of existing".  Lucius Senica was a Roman stoic philosopher who created some timeless quotes (see below). He stated that we should spend our lives learning how to live. Training the body and mind was a primary focus.


"If one does not know which port one is sailing, then no wind is favourable"                

"True happiness is to enjoy the present without anxious dependence on the future"

"Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity"                                          

"Where ever there is a human being there is an opportunity for a kindness"


The emphasis on the care and development of the mind and body as an ongoing work throughout our lives is seen again, and again in the works of the philosophers since the Greeks. Herbert Spencer was an English philosopher, biologist, anthropologist, sociologist, and political theorist who lived in the 1800's. He stated that  "If you wish to be a success in this life you first must be a good animal".  His other quotes really resonate with me..........


"The great aim of education is not knowledge but action"                                                  

 "No one can be free till all are one can be happy till all are happy"


A return to basic holistic principles, personal responsibility, and daily discipline to put them in place, is necessary to live an athletic and energetic life.  Our bodies are us, and our bodies actions are our very lives in action. Our bodies are the greatest instrument we will EVER control and we will mourn the day we lose control over it. 

The modern day philosopher of running was Dr. George Sheehan. He wrote eight books and was the medical editor for Runners World. One of his slogans to live by is something I strive to teach all my physiotherapy patients and coached athletes "LISTEN TO YOUR BODY". If you as an athlete and patient are always relying on someone to fix you for the same problem then you are not learning and growing. Your body- given the right environment can heal and adapt to stress itself when the overall stress load is managed well. Listen to everyone, but follow no one. My goal as a coach is to ultimately move all my athletes to become their own individual coaches. To do this we must understand the important of continually working towards the best version of ourselves possible. This journey has no destination, it is an empowering, exciting, never ending adventure, and there is no better time to start than right now.

I use Dr. Phil Maffetones 180 formula to develop the aerobic system. To measure this I use the Maximum Aerobic Function (MAF) measure. This is a 5 mile (8km) objective test on a 400m track where I will give you a heart rate to stick to and after a warm up you will use this HR as a ceiling and run taking your time every mile (1600m). Over time if your aerobic system is improving we should see progression by you being able to go faster while sticking to your HR ceiling.  The body responds very favourably to training at this low level of intensity. Too many oxygen free radicals produced in response to stress can contribute to inflammatory conditions and speed up the aging process. High intensity aerobic training produces large amounts of free radicals. Training at low intensity will minimise free radical production. At least 80% of your training needs to be predominantly aerobic - not only for performance gains but for functional longevity. My goal to to make athletes fit for the long haul, to be a functioning member of your family unit and society well into your 9th of 10th decade. To be EVERFIT 


Brad Dixon is a sports physio, coach, and wellness evangelist based at EVERFIT Physio & Coaching. His passion is promoting enhancing daily habits that nudge people towards potential and save the planet. His book ‘Holistic Human’ is available here - . The power is in our daily habits! Connect with Brad at, Facebook, Strava, Instagram (@everfitcoach), and YOU TUBE