The proportional distribution of training at different intensities during different phases of the season by elite athletes participating in a variety of endurance sports
Keywords:blood lactate levels, cardiovascular responses, critical power, endurance sports, exercise intensity zones, Exercise, exercise intensity, external load, low-intensity exercise, heart rate, internal load, metabolic responses, neuromuscular adaptation, physiological adaptation, Fat Adaptation, psychological adaptation, rating of perceived exertion, Rating of perceived effort (RPE), aerobic training, strength training, training volume, wearables, wearable devices
This review covers the scientific literature concerning the relative amounts of low-, moderate- and high-intensity training, quantified by different methods, performed by elite (Tier 4) and world-class (Tier 5) athletes participating in a variety of endurance sports during different phases of the season. Information was obtained through a non-systematic search of PubMed for relevant retrospective reports on the distribution of training (TID).
The 34 articles retrieved yielded 175 TIDs, of which 120 involved quantifications on the basis of heart rate, time-in-zone or variations of the session goal approach, with demarcation of zones of exercise intensity utilizing physiological parameters. Next most common (n=37) was the use of velocity or power output as extrinsic parameters of quantification, followed by demarcation of zones on the basis of racing pace, i.e., velocity (n=14). Two studies employed ratings of perceived exertion to quantify TID. Of the TIDs identified, 85 (49%) involved single-case reports, of which 57 (67%) concerned cross-country skiing or the biathlon. Eighty-nine were pyramidal and 8 emphasized the threshold. Overall, 65 were polarized, of which 34 (52%) were derived from single-case reports on cross-country skiers or biathletes.
With respect to training by elite and world-class athletes in all endurance disciplines, 91% (n=160) of the TIDs involved >60% low-intensity endurance exercise. Independent of the method of quantification, the relative amount of time spent in the different zones of exercise intensity varied widely between sports and different phases of the season
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