Intensive continuous training - training methods

Never heard of intensive continuous training? Yet you have probably already done so. It is a continuous training (without breaks) intense and lasting from 15 to 60 minutes. This type of training has several names in runner jargon:

  • Tempo training
  • Threshold training
  • Lactate threshold training
  • Zone 2 or 4 training (depending on whether your system has 3 or 5 zones)
As I have mentioned before, I am not a fan of training based on the lactate threshold, because lactate is not a metabolic waste, but rather a source of energy… In fact, it is ideal to be able to produce a lot of lactate, because that means that we can produce a lot of energy in very little time, at the end of an effort. I will therefore not talk much about intensive continuous training in connection with the lactacte threshold, because I am quite convinced that neither lactate nor muscle acidity are factors limiting performance in endurance sports.

Intensive continuous training

Intensive continuous training is therefore training done at a fairly rapid rate that lasts 10 to 60 minutes. It is run between 70% and 85% VAM. The perceived exertion during training should be between 5 and 8 out of 10.

Examples of training:

  • 1h at 75% VAM
  • 30 minutes at 65% VAM, then 30 minutes at 80% VAM


This type of training is hard physically and mentally. The load imposed on the energy system is quite significant, especially for the time spent on it. Indeed, given the moderate intensity of the training, the duration can be relatively long. In addition, the intensity is just high enough to use almost exclusively carbohydrates as an energy substrate. This therefore results in rapid use of glycogen reserves. This is why it is necessary to take rest following this type of training, even if “mechanically” one feels in good shape.

The factors improved by this method are:

  • Increased efficiency of glycogen use
  • Small improvement in glycogen storage
  • Increase in the enzymatic activity of aerobic metabolism (breakdown of sugars and fats)
More specifically, intensive continuous training makes it possible to:
  • Improve aerobic endurance (use a higher% VAM for an equivalent amount of time)
  • Improve VAM a little
  • Cause great physiological stress in a short time
  • Improve the ability to hold an uncomfortable effort
  • Improve the ability to provide a significant effort in solo
  • Improve gestural efficiency at target speed
  • Allows you to familiarize yourself with the competitive pace
In summary it can be said that extensive and intensive continuous training forms a continuum and that the biggest difference between the two forms of training is in the energy substrates used. At the start of continuous intensive training (50-60% VAM) the body uses a good proportion of fat for energy, while towards the end of continuous intensive training (85% VAM) almost only carbohydrates are used. . To improve the cardiovascular system, it is necessary to use both training methods, but favoring extensive continuous training, because the psychophysical stress is less and this allows to work more effectively on other determinants of physical condition during the week. . Personally, I find intensive continuous training very appropriate towards the end of the preparation period, when the training becomes more specific.
The next article should normally be a little shoe review (I have two in the works). Until then, do not hesitate to share this knowledge with those around you and to join our Facebook, it's always a pleasure!


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About Daniel Riou

Holder of a bachelor's degree in Kinesiology from Laval University, my goal is to help make the world more active. Here's how : Corporate Challenge / / Cité-Limoilou race / Grand Duke Trail Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn Continuing education: Various trainings by La Clinique du Coureur Program `` Conscience d'Affaire '' of the Chamber of Commerce of Quebec (in progress)

1 reflection on "Intensive continuous training - training methods"

  1. Since this year, I have been using this type of training once a week throughout my marathon preparation. I think this is a winning formula.


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