Northius, M. E., & Veldman, J. W. (2002). Off-season training of collegiate distance runners: A comparison of three methods. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 34(5), Supplement abstract 130.

Collegiate distance runners (N = 20) detrained for two weeks after the spring collegiate track season. Ss were assigned to three groups that ran for six days a week for the next six weeks. Group A ran two times per week at lactate threshold (LT) intensity while all other training was below LT intensity. Group B ran the first three weeks slower than LT and then ran two lactate thresholds per week, along with the normal slower than LT pace, for the next three weeks. Group C trained at below LT intensity for the whole six weeks.

All groups were similar in attributes at the start of the study. Group A showed no statistical improvements over the study period. Group B improved in time at maximum velocity and running velocity at LT. Group C improved running economy, maximal velocity, time at maximum velocity, and running velocity at LT. Aerobic measures (e.g., VO2max) did not change in any group.

Implication. When commencing retraining, low intensity work establishes a good base for later improvements. Training too hard too soon does not produce as many good effects as does easier work.

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