As mentioned in previous articles, one of the most common errors I see runners committing is faulty pacing during training runs. They run their slow runs too quickly. They run their fast runs too slowly. Medium is their standard speed. As a consequence, they fail to obtain the particular benefits that each specific type of run should provide. The result? Even though these runners put in many long hours of training, they never come close to being the best runners they can become.
As reported by Alex Hutchison in the May/June issue of Canadian Running, recent research from Scotland provides more evidence supporting the benefits of polarized training – mixing low and high intensity training. The researchers split cyclists into two groups. Each group went through a six week training program. Group #1 conducted 80% of their training at low intensity and 20% at high intensity. Group #2’s training consisted of 57% low intensity, 43% medium intensity (a.k.a. threshold training) with no high intensity efforts.