Effects of Group Running on the Training Intensity Distribution of Collegiate Cross-Country Runners

Farrell III, JW, Dunn, A, Cantrell, GS, Lantis, DJ, Larson, DJ, and Larson, RD. Effects of group running on the training intensity distribution of collegiate cross-country runners. J Strength Cond Res XX(X): 000–000, 2019—Collegiate cross-country training is often conducted and prescribed in a group setting. This may result in the application of an inappropriate training stimulus to athletes due to potentially different physiological responses to the same training prescription. The aim of this investigation was to quantify the training intensity distribution (TID) of a collegiate cross-country team and the associated physiological adaptions. Sixteen subjects, 8 male subjects and 8 female subjects, performed a graded exercise test before and after observational period to determine peak oxygen consumption (V[Combining Dot Above]O2peak), the speed (S@), heart rate (HR@), and oxygen consumption (V[Combining Dot Above]O2@) associated with 2 and 4 mmol·L−1 of blood lactate. Training intensity distribution was quantified by assessing time spent in 3 intensity zones calculated as zone 1 (low intensity, HR values


HR@2 and
HR@4). No statistical differences were observed between male subjects and female subjects for percent of training time spent in zones 1, 2, and 3. No significant interactions were observed between sex and time for performance variables. Male subjects and female subjects improved V[Combining Dot Above]O2peak, S@4, and V[Combining Dot Above]O2@4 with male subjects also increasing V[Combining Dot Above]O2@2. No significant differences were observed between male subjects and female subjects when comparing percent changes for variables. Examining individual data showed that 2 female subjects experienced performance decrements and trained proportionally more in zones 2 and 3 compared with the overall group. The TID and performance decrements of the 2 highlighted subjects suggest that conducting training in a group setting may potentially be detrimental for some collegiate runners.
*These authors contributed equally to this work.
Address correspondence to Dr. John W. Farrell, jfarrel3@uottawa.ca.
Copyright © 2019 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.

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