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Deliberate practice in training differentiates the best Kenyan and Spanish long-distance runners.

Authors
  • Casado, Arturo1
  • Hanley, Brian2
  • Ruiz-Pérez, Luis Miguel3
  • 1 Faculty of Health Sciences, University Isabel I, Burgos, Spain. , (Spain)
  • 2 Carnegie School of Sports, Leeds Beckett University, United Kingdom. , (United Kingdom)
  • 3 Department of Social Sciences of Physical Activity and Sports, Politécnica University of Madrid UPM, Madrid, Spain. , (Spain)
Type
Published Article
Journal
European journal of sport science
Publication Date
Aug 01, 2020
Volume
20
Issue
7
Pages
887–895
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1080/17461391.2019.1694077
PMID: 31724902
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

The aim of this novel research was to compare the amount of systematic training and the different training activities undertaken by elite-standard long-distance runners during their first seven years of systematic training. Participants were divided into three performance groups: world-class Kenyans (N = 19), European-standard Spanish athletes (N = 18), and Spanish national-standard athletes (N = 18). Performance and training data were obtained for two-year periods using retrospective recall (including training diaries) from the time the athletes began systematic training, until the seventh year after. These activities included high-intensity training sessions considered deliberate practice (DP) and easy runs. There was no evidence that starting systematic training at a younger age was advantageous, and easy runs (a non-DP activity) were the most used by participants as a proportion of overall running distance. As part of an overall higher accumulation of distance run (P < 0.001, d ≥ 1.35), the Kenyans completed more tempo runs and short-interval training than the other groups (P < 0.001, d ≥ 1.38), but did not complete more long intervals or races. There were few differences between the European- and national-standard athletes except for easy runs, which highlights the value of these easy runs but also the need for higher-intensity training to compete with world-class performers. When planning for training overload and progression, long-distance running coaches should consider increasing the volume of tempo runs and short intervals, in addition to easier runs that develop cardiovascular conditioning.

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