Long interval training is addressed in Factors Affecting Performance, how does training affect performance?, types of training and training methods, aerobic training. However, in Improving Performance, this content becomes more detailed.
Long interval training is when the athlete has long periods of higher workloads followed by a shorter rest period. The long periods of higher workload usually extend for 3+ min with a short 30-60 sec rest period. The higher workloads can be in the upper range of the aerobic training zone, or push into the anaerobic training zone. The exercise itself can be just about anything: skipping, swimming, running, cycling, etc.
A benefit of long interval training, is that it allows variety to be used throughout the training session. Athletes can move between exercises during rest periods or simply change the length or distance of the higher workload or shorter rest periods.
The distinct benefits of long interval training compared to other aerobic training methods include:
- higher intensities can be utilised as the duration of the activity is not as long
- athletes bodies adapt to recover faster from the higher workloads
All other benefits are much the same as all methods of aerobic training including: cardiovascular and muscular physiological adaptations.
Long interval training is particularly beneficial for sports that require sustained higher workloads followed by short rest periods. Sports such as: boxing, some martial arts, some cycling competitions, futsal, basketball, netball or tennis. Training programs should utilise specificity when selecting exercises to be done.