There is an ongoing debate whether endurance training should stress quantity or quality in order to get better results. Should the bulk of a runner’s training regime consist of easy-medium intensity long runs or should the focus be high intensity intervals? Not many respected running experts suggest it is either or, the argument is rather what type of training to emphasize on.
Advocates for a high mileage training claim it is vital to build up a large aerobic base, which is the body’s ability to take oxygen into the blood and deliver it to the working muscles. The lungs become more efficient, more capillaries are developed that will bring oxygen into the muscles to produce energy, and lactate will be removed easier. These factors will able you to keep a higher intensity for a longer period of time. Since the idea is to build up the distance over time, the ligaments, tendons and muscles will be allowed time to adopt. The great runner and coach Arthur Lydiard (1917-2004) once said, “Miles make champions”.
The other side of the debate is backed up by researches that favor the practice of high intensity interval training (HIIT). “Forget talking-pace. Talk during the breaks and in the rest of your life instead”, as the Norwegian professor Jan Helgerud puts it. His research has shown that training with an intensity of 85-95 percent of maximum heart rate is the most effective way to improve heart capacity. According to Helgerud, 4×4 minutes’ intervals (4 minutes of high intensity runs, 4 times) are recommended to optimize the heart’s strength. Another benefit with high intensity interval training, which several other studies point out, is the increased ability to boost metabolism (and burn calories).
Whatever the researches indicate or what the experts say, it essential to find out what works best for you. After all, to be consistent and get results, you have to find joy in your training. Also, your training program has to fit well together with your daily life. Not many of us are full-time professionals runners who can dedicate our time solely to training.
Perhaps Tom and Martin from the excellent weekly podcast Marathon Talk concluded it best, “Have quantity of quality”.
Give your self the chance to become a better runner, sign up for the Aspire Running Club!
We provide quantity of quality to you!
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ASPIRE RUNNING CLUB – starts this coming Thursday, September 29th, at 6.30 pm – Benjakitti Park (Queen Sirikit Park)