Reduced training maintains performance in distance runners

Int J Sports Med. 1990 Feb;11(1):46-52. doi: 10.1055/s-2007-1024761.


This investigation examined endurance runners during a 3-week reduction in training volume and frequency. Ten well-conditioned runners were monitored for 4 weeks while training at their normal weekly training distance (mean +/- SE) (81 +/- 5 km/week, 6 days/week). This period was designated as baseline training (BT). Sixty km/week were run at approximately 75% VO2max, and the remainder (21 km/week) at approximately 95% VO2max in the form of intervals and races. The runners then reduced weekly training volume (RT) by 70% of BT to 24 +/- 2 km/week and frequency by 17% to 5 days/week for 3 weeks. During RT 17 km/week was performed at approximately 75% VO2max and the remainder (7 km/week) at approximately 95% VO2max (intervals and races). The runners were tested weekly and performed 5-km races on a 200-m indoor track during Bt and after 2 and 3 weeks of RT. Maximal heart rate (HR) increased (P less than 0.05) by approximately 4 beats/min at RT week 3, which may have been associated with a decrease in estimated plasma volume (P less than 0.01) of 5.62 +/- 0.43%. Time to exhaustion during the VO2max tests increased (P less than 0.05) by 9.5% at RT week 3. No significant (P greater than 0.05) changes occurred with RT in body weight, % body fat, overall 5 km race times, VO2max, muscular power (vertical leap and Margaria power test), and citrate synthase activity (at 2 weeks of RT). No alterations in venous lactate, energy expenditure, and HR were observed during submaximal running at two speeds (approximately 65% and 85% VO2max) with RT.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Physical Education and Training / methods*
  • Physical Endurance / physiology*
  • Program Evaluation
  • Running*