Fewer Hard Workouts May Make You a Better Athlete

How much time should you spend working at your maximum level in your sport, compared to miles or days spent going at a relaxed pace? Researchers at the University of Madrid in Spain divided competitive distance runners into two groups. One group did frequent intense workouts and fewer slow recovery miles, while the second group did fewer intense workouts and more slow miles. At the end of five months, the runners who did fewer intense workouts and more recovery miles improved far more than those who ran fewer miles and spent a lot of their time trying to run very fast. Journal reference

All competitive athletes from marathon runners to weight lifters know that they must exercise intensely to compete successfully in sports. However, every time you exercise intensely, your muscles are damaged and you feel sore on the next day. If you try to exercise intensely when your muscles are sore, you are liable to injure yourself, break down, or become chronically fatigued with muscles hurting all the time. So athletes train by taking a hard workout that makes their muscles sore, and going easy for as many days as it takes for the soreness to go away. This study shows the importance of allowing adequate recovery time between intense workouts. Recovery workouts make your muscles more fibrous so they can take more abuse when you exercise on your hard days. Principles of training


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