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Training for endurance sport is about creating athletes from whatever body and psychological profile we have to work with. True, some of us have a natural affinity for the training while some of us grow into it over time, but the training process is always the same: Challenge the body (and mind) to adapt to training stress, and with continuity of training over time our bodies adapt.

When we begin to train for endurance sports physiological changes are set in motion. We stress our bodies with a new energy-intensive movement and our physiology attempts to adapt.

Muscles get used to new motions with repetition. Electric signals travel down from our brains through insulated nerve cells telling muscles to contract at exactly the right moment. New nerve 'firing' sequences become imprinted over time, but at the outset developing these movements through kinesthetic awareness can be challenging.

Our cardiopulmonary system becomes stronger. The heart muscle becomes more powerful and larger, increasing stroke volume; more blood circulates with each beat. Resting heart rate drops. The muscles that contract to empty lungs get stronger; lung volume increases.

Our metabolism gains efficiency. The body learns to store glycogen (carbohydrate in stored form, ready for quick access) more effectively. Most get leaner with continuity of aerobic training, as the tendency is for unnecessary adipose tissue to be burned for energy. In fact as we train at constant moderate speeds we'll burn fat along with carbs for the workout; fat is used without the sensation of hunger!

If you're reading this you probably thrive on the structured process of regular training. As our training progresses we see positive changes in endurance, gaining energy for non-athletic tasks. Our training time can be an escape from daily stress; a time when we're in control, no boss, no family obligations for a while.

Our psychology may change in positive ways. We get more in touch with our 'animal' instinct, moving well under our own source of power. Our perception of body image can improve as we get lean and develop muscle. Confidence is gained as we tune our bodies, separating ourselves from the masses by getting 'off the couch'.

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