Drivers for endurance sports performance

My workout

Published on 25 October 2019
by Jean-Denis Thomson

What do I need to do to perform while cycling or running this summer? This is a question that often pops up in gyms. To address the above question, we need to identify where we’re starting from (current fitness level), where we want to go (goal) and how we can get there (gym, equipment, trainer, etc.). It’s vital to identify these three points before creating a customized training program.


To find out your starting point, you need to know the key drivers of performance, i.e. assess them. In terms of road cycling and long-distance running, they are virtually the same. In order of importance: maximum aerobic power (MAP), endurance index and body composition.


Using relatively simple assessments found in the Fit Action app, these drivers can be measured. Maximal aerobic power (MAP) or maximum oxygen consumption volume (VO2 max) is calculated using one of the various treadmill or stationary bike tests.


The endurance index assessment will follow. To do this, choose a percentage of the VO2 max, for example 90%, and maintain it as long as possible. The endurance index is calculated as follows:


Endurance index (EI) = (100 – %VO2 max)/(ln7 – ln t)[1]


where interval 7 (ln7) is the natural logarithm of 7 minutes, theoretical time limit maintained for VO2 max and interval time (ln t) represents any long-term performance expressed in minutes.


Rating Scale[2]



Very high endurance


High endurance

Average endurance

Low endurance

Very low endurance

Endurance index (EI)







Body composition is measured in two different ways at Énergie Cardio. There are the various anthropometric measurements made with body fat calipers (Fit Action body fat percentage test) and the bioelectrical impedance method using InBody technology. Bioelectrical impedance analysis has the advantage of producing a very quick result without manipulation.


These assessments will serve as a starting point for goal setting. The goal should then be adjusted according to the assessment.


There are three categories of goals: short-term, medium-term and long-term. A goal is not a dream; it differs from the latter because it is measurable, achievable and quantifiable over time. It can consist in, for example, running the Montréal Marathon exactly one year from today in a time of 3 hours and 15 minutes.


Lastly, the final question to ask yourself: Are you ready to do whatever it takes to achieve your goals? You need to understand that there is a link between your current condition, the condition you’re striving for and the effort needed to get there.


            Example: running the marathon in 2 hours and 10 minutes or cycling 40 km in 50 minutes takes 20 to 30 hours of training per week.


It would be fanciful to aspire to such results while working full-time and going to the gym two to three times a week. So there are two options: 1) 100% commitment, or 2) shift the bar to set more realistic targets that you can achieve (if needed). Goals often have to be reset to achieve them.


Once you’ve completed all these steps, it’s much easier to create a personalized and tailored program that takes into account your strengths and weaknesses as well as your goals and constraints (time, energy, etc.). We hope this post has shed some light on training methods!


Thanks to David Dulude (B.Sc.) for his contribution.










[1] Péronnet and Thibault Endurance Index and Rating Scale (1984; 1987). According to Péronnet et al. (1991) from

[2] Idem

Jean-Denis Thomson
Kinesiologist, Training Department Director