Nummela, A. T., Vesterinen, V., Hynynen, E., Mikkola, J., & Hokka, L. (2012). Interval training is efficient in improving VO2max in runners. Presentation 1107 at the 59th Annual Meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine, San Francisco, California; May 29-June 2, 2012.

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This study compared the effects of interval and constant velocity training in runners (N = 27). Ss were matched into an interval-training group (N = 14) and constant velocity training group (N = 13). All Ss participated in a 10-week endurance training program, which included two high-intensity training sessions per week. The interval-training group performed 7-10 x 150 m at 110-115% of vVO2max and 7-10 x 500 m at 90-100 % of vVO2max and the constant-training group performed 40 minutes of constant velocity running between the lactate and ventilatory thresholds and 17-18 minutes of running above ventilatory threshold velocity. Ss performed three tests before and after the training period: 1) an incremental treadmill test to determine VO2max, lactate threshold, and ventilatory threshold, 2) maximal anaerobic running test (10 x 150 m) to determine maximal anaerobic velocity, and 3) a submaximal 1 km run on a track to determine running economy.

All Ss improved their velocities at VO2max, ventilatory threshold, lactate threshold, and maximal anaerobic velocity but did not improve their running economy. There were no significant differences between the two groups. The main novel finding was that the interval-training group improved VO2max (l/min; 4.6%) more than the constant training group (0.6%).

Implication. Interval training was more efficient at improving VO2max than traditional constant-velocity endurance training, but other measures which improved did not differ between the two training forms. The changes in VO2max were not reflected in running economy or performance.

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