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UK Coaching Team
Talent and Performance

The Application of Interval Training in Sport

Interval training is well-established as a fundamental method for improving performances in a wide variety of sports. However, the types of interval training vary, depending on the event, the conditions, the proximity to competition, and the coach’s perception of the individual’s or the team’s needs, as John Goodbody discovered

The same or similar ideas can look very different when applied to different sports, as John Goodbody discovered when tasked with the ‘simple’ quest of telling us just what interval training really means.

The bulk of most endurance competitors’ training in all sports consists of a particular mix. As Stephen Seller and Espen Tonnessen wrote in Sports Science: “The available evidence suggests that combining large volumes of low intensity training with careful use of high intensity interval training throughout the annual training cycle is the best practice model for the development of endurance performance.

The questions that coaches must answer are:

  • how to achieve the correct balance
  • how much of each to do
  • what format the training should be in
  • at what time of the year the training should take place.

A leading pioneer in athletics in the 1940s was the German Woldemar Gerschler who, together with Dr Herbert Reindel, structured interval training for many leading runners.

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