All kinds of people are involved in running. Some do it for the sake of surpassing oneself, in order to break a 10 km record or to complete a first marathon. Some just run for fun, without a performance goal. In both cases, being able to run faster (or at the same speed with less effort) is an advantage.
How can you run faster? This is the question that one recently published study.
What parameters allow us to run faster?
The three main factors that influence your ability to run fast are: your race economy, your VO2 Max and your endurance. To improve these different parameters, most training programs will offer a mix of the following types of training:
- Slow continuous training (low intensity, without pause);
- Fast continuous training (medium intensity, without break);
- Long interval training (intervals of 5 minutes and more, with breaks between repetitions);
- Short interval training (intervals of less than 5 minutes, with breaks between repetitions);
What types of training allow you to run faster?
The study published in 2019 analyzes the link between different types of training and the improvement of high performance athletes. In fact, researchers tried to find which types of workouts are most likely to cause improvement in athletes over a 7-year period.
So here are, in order, the types of training that caused the most improvement over the long term:
- Training performed at low intensity (r = 0,68)
- Fast continuous training (r = 0,58)
- Short interval training (r = 0,56)
- Long interval training (r = 0,22)
- Competitions (r = 0,03)
The R value is a statistical measure of the link between two parameters which varies between 1 and -1. An r which equals 1 implies two perfectly related variables while an r which equals 0 implies 2 completely unrelated variables. An r which would be equivalent to -1 would imply 2 variables which would be perfectly inversely related.
Note that in this study, this is a correlation and not proof of a cause and effect relationship. On the other hand, as this agrees with the results of other studies, one can probably think that the three types of training which allow the most improvement are:
- Training performed at low intensity;
- Fast continuous training;
- Short interval training.
Obviously the article leaves open several questions such as:
- Is the same type of training distribution ideal for amateur athletes?
- What is the good training volume for me?
- How many interval sessions should athletes do?
It is in these questions that the beauty of training lies. There is no perfect answer, just an adequate answer for all of us!
Good training for all those who would like to run faster or with less effort!