Effects of continuous and interval training on running economy, maximal aerobic speed and gait kinematics in recreational runners
NSCA National Strength and Conditioning Association
School of Exercise, Biomedical and Health Sciences
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects on running economy (RE), Vo 2 max, maximal aerobic speed (MAS), and gait kinematics (step length [SL] and frequency, flight and contact time [CT]) in recreational athletes, with 2 different training methods, Interval and Continuous (CON). Eleven participants were randomly distributed in an interval training group (INT; n 6) or CON training group (CON; n 5). Interval training and CON performed 2 different training programs (95-110% and 70-75% of MAS, respectively), which consisted of 3 sessions per week during 6 weeks with the same external workload (%MAS × duration). An incremental test to exhaustion was performed to obtain Vo 2 max, MAS, RE, and gait variables (high speed camera) before and after the training intervention. There was a significant improvement (p ≤ 0.05) in RE at 60 and 90% of MAS by the CON group; without changes in gait. The INT group significantly increased MAS and higher stride length at 80, 90, and 100% of MAS and lower CT at 100% of MAS. As expected, training adaptations are highly specific to the overload applied with CON producing improvements in RE at lower percentage of MAS whereas INT produces improvements in MAS. The significantly increased stride length and decreased CT for the INT group are an important outcome of favorable changes in running gait. © 2015 National Strength and Conditioning Association.