Int J Sports Med 2022; 43(04): 305-316
DOI: 10.1055/a-1559-3623

Training-intensity Distribution on Middle- and Long-distance Runners: A Systematic Review

1   Postgraduate Program of the Faculty of Physical Education and Sports, Federal University of Juiz de Fora, Juiz de Fora, Brazil
2   Study Group and Research in Neuromuscular Responses, Federal University of Lavras, Lavras, Brazil
Arturo Casado
3   Centre for Sport Studies, Rey Juan Carlos University, Madrid, Spain
1   Postgraduate Program of the Faculty of Physical Education and Sports, Federal University of Juiz de Fora, Juiz de Fora, Brazil
Miller Guimarães
2   Study Group and Research in Neuromuscular Responses, Federal University of Lavras, Lavras, Brazil
4   Postgraduate in Human Movement and Rehabilitation Sciences, Federal University of São Paulo, Santos, Brazil
Leandro Sant’Ana
1   Postgraduate Program of the Faculty of Physical Education and Sports, Federal University of Juiz de Fora, Juiz de Fora, Brazil
1   Postgraduate Program of the Faculty of Physical Education and Sports, Federal University of Juiz de Fora, Juiz de Fora, Brazil
5   Superior School of Education of Polytechnic Institute of Setubal, Sciences and Technology Department, Setubal, Portugal
Sandro Fernandes da Silva
2   Study Group and Research in Neuromuscular Responses, Federal University of Lavras, Lavras, Brazil
6   Postgraduate Program in Nutrition and Health, Federal University of Lavras, Lavras, Brazil
Paulo Henrique Silva Marques de Azevedo
4   Postgraduate in Human Movement and Rehabilitation Sciences, Federal University of São Paulo, Santos, Brazil
Jeferson Vianna
1   Postgraduate Program of the Faculty of Physical Education and Sports, Federal University of Juiz de Fora, Juiz de Fora, Brazil
Raúl Domínguez
2   Study Group and Research in Neuromuscular Responses, Federal University of Lavras, Lavras, Brazil
7   Department of Human Motricity and Sports Performance, University of Seville, Sevilla, Spain
› Author Affiliations
Funding This study also was financed in part by the Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior-Brasil (CAPES)-Finance Code 001.


Training-intensity distribution (TID) is considered the key factor to optimize performance in endurance sports. This systematic review aimed to: I) characterize the TID typically used by middle-and long-distance runners; II) compare the effect of different types of TID on endurance performance and its physiological determinants; III) determine the extent to which different TID quantification methods can calculate same TID outcomes from a given training program. The keywords and search strategy identified 20 articles in the research databases. These articles demonstrated differences in the quantification of the different training-intensity zones among quantification methods (i. e. session-rating of perceived exertion, heart rate, blood lactate, race pace, and running speed). The studies that used greater volumes of low-intensity training such as those characterized by pyramidal and polarized TID approaches, reported greater improvements in endurance performance than those which used a threshold TID. Thus, it seems that the combination of high-volume at low-intensity (≥ 70% of overall training volume) and low-volume at threshold and high-intensity interval training (≤ 30%) is necessary to optimize endurance training adaptations in middle-and long-distance runners. Moreover, monitoring training via multiple mechanisms that systematically encompasses objective and subjective TID quantification methods can help coaches/researches to make better decisions.

Supplementary Material

Publication History

Received: 11 January 2021

Accepted: 19 July 2021

Article published online:
08 November 2021

© 2021. Thieme. All rights reserved.

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