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Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1998 Aug;30(8):1250-6.

Improved running economy following intensified training correlates with reduced ventilatory demands.

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1
Institute of Sports Science and Physical Education, Odense University, Denmark.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

To compare the effects of three types of intensive run training on running economy (RE) during exhaustive running and to establish possible relationships with changes in ventilatory function and/or muscle fiber type distribution.

METHODS:

Thirty-six male recreational runners were divided into three groups and assigned to either exhaustive distance training (DT), long-interval training (LIT), or short-interval training (SIT) three times 20-30 minxwk(-1) for 6 wk. VO(2 max) and RE were measured during treadmill running before and after training. Muscle fiber type distribution of the vastus lateralis muscle was established from biopsy material.

RESULTS:

VO(2max) (Lxmin(-1) increased by 5.9% (P < 0.0001), 6.0% (P < 0.0001), and 3.6% (P < 0.01) in DT, LIT, and SIT, respectively, and running speed at VO(2max) by 9% (P < 0.0001), 10% (P < 0.0001), and 4% (P < 0.05), respectively. Time-to-exhaustion at 87% of pretraining VO(2max) (mean 3.83) mxs(-1) increased by 94% in DT (P < 0.0001), 67% in LIT (P < 0.0001). Running economy improved by 3.1% in DT (P < 0.05), 3.0% in LIT (P < 0.01), and 0.9% SIT (NS): pulmonary ventilation (VE) was on average 11 Lxmin(-1) lower following training (P < 0.0001). The individual decrements in VE correlated with improvements in RE (r = 0.77; P < 0.0001) and may account for 25-70% of the decrease in aerobic demand. Muscle fiber composition, and respiratory exchange ratio, stride length, and stride frequency during running were unaltered with training.

CONCLUSIONS:

Recreational runners can improve RE and aerobic run performance by exchanging parts of their conventional aerobic distance training with intensive distance or long-interval running, whereas short-interval running is less efficient. The improvement in RE may relate to reduced ventilatory demands. Muscle fiber type distribution was unaltered with training and showed no associations with RE.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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