Continuous Versus Intermittent Running: Acute Performance Decrement and Training Load

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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Purpose: To examine the effect of continuous (CON) and intermittent (INT) running training sessions of different durations and intensities on subsequent performance and calculated training load (TL). Methods: Runners (N = 11) performed a 1500-m time trial as a baseline and after completing 4 different running training sessions. The training sessions were performed in a randomized order and were either maximal for 10 minutes (10CON and 10INT) or submaximal for 25 minutes (25CON and 25INT). An acute performance decrement (APD) was calculated as the percentage change in 1500-m time-trial speed measured after training compared with baseline. The pattern of APD response was compared with that for several TL metrics (bTRIMP, eTRIMP, iTRIMP, running training stress score, and session rating of perceived exertion) for the respective training sessions. Results: Average speed (P < .001, ηp2=.924) was different for each of the initial training sessions, which all resulted in a significant APD. This APD was similar when compared across the sessions except for a greater APD found after 10INT versus 25CON (P = .02). In contrast, most TL metrics were different and showed the opposite response to APD, being higher for CON versus INT and lower for 10- versus 25-minute sessions (P < .001, ηp2>.563). Conclusion: An APD was observed consistently after running training sessions, but it was not consistent with most of the calculated TL metrics. The lack of agreement found between APD and TL suggests that current methods for quantifying TL are flawed when used to compare CON and INT running training sessions of different durations and intensities.

Kesisoglou and Passfield are with the School of Sports and Exercises Sciences, University of Kent, Kent, United Kingdom. Nicolò is with the Dept. of Movement, Human and Health Sciences, University of Rome “Foro Italico,” Rome, Italy. Howland is with Canterbury Christ Church University, Canterbury, United Kingdom. Passfield is also with the Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada.

Passfield (louis.passfield@ucalgary.ca) is corresponding author.
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