I probably use his example more then anything when discussing improving speed and heart rate training. Why Lance? Not because he was “cheating” or using enhancing agents, but how doing this makes him faster. Consider, Armstrong did not implant mechanical legs or motors into his body to make his legs turn faster in order to get faster on his bike. What he did do was blood doping to improve his efficiency. Are you following me? When our bodies can deliver oxygen to our muscles and organ systems more efficiently, we can run or bike faster. Most of the time when it comes to endurance athletes training for a half marathon or marathon, they try to “run faster” to get faster. They already have the speed, they just need endurance. For example, if you can run an 8 minute mile, but your half marathon pace is 8:30, then you have the speed but need the endurance.
How do we build endurance? Not by doing what Lance did, but by improving our efficiency through endurance training at a slow aerobic pace. Long slow runs will build endurance which can help one keep their “speed” over an endurance race. For more information on heart rate training, see some of my other posts.