2 November 2009

Train less and be better

In a recent scientific study just published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, Bangsbo and co-workers demonstrate that by reducing the volume of training by 25% and introducing the so-called speed endurance training (6-12 30-s sprint runs 3-4 times a week), endurance trained runners can improve not only short-term but also long-term performance.

Thus, the runners improved their 10-km time by 1 min from 37.3 to 36.3 min after just 6-9 weeks of changed training. Six of the participating 12 runners obtained a new personal record on the 10-km, despite having been training for more than 4 years. The most impressive achievement was the one runner who lowered the time with more than 2 minutes from 37.5 til 35.4 min. In addition, performance in a 30-s sprint test and an intense exhaustive run (about 2 minutes) was improved by 7% and 36%, respectively. In agreement, the authors have previously shown that an 85% reduction in training volume can improve short-term performance (see right column).

In association with the improved performance the amount of muscle Na+/K+ pumps was elevated and the rate of accumulation of potassium during exercise was lowered, and it is speculated that this may play a significant role for the increased performance.