Training intensity distribution on running time in amateur endurance runners: a scoping review

Distribución de intensidades de entrenamiento sobre el tiempo de carrera en corredores recreativos de resistencia: revisión de alcance


Problem: Intensity in endurance training is important for improving race time; its optimal handling in amateur runners has not been extensively studied. The polarized training intensity distribution (TID) model emerges as a possibility to reduce race time; however, effect of this model remains to be demonstrated compared to other TID models.

Objective: The objective of this study is to explore the current state of the evidence and its the gaps, according to the effect of the polarized TID model on race time in amateur runners compared to other TID models.

Method: A scoping review without date restrictions was carried out in PubMed, EBSCO, SciELO, LILACS, and Google Scholar. Randomized controlled studies, quasi-experimental studies, and case studies, which comprise polarized TID model in amateur runners on race time, were include.

Results: Five studies evaluated the effect on running time using the polarized TID model compared to other models in amateur runners; four of them did not show differences between groups in the race times in two, five, and ten km. Only one study showed significant differences in the race time at 21 km.

Conclusions: The model with polarized TID did not show significant differences in race time compared to other models, except for a case report in which the polarized TID was higher by 21 km compared to the threshold TID: 1 hour. 20 min. 22 seconds and 1 hour. 26 min. 34s, respectively. The scarce evidence found, the heterogeneity in the distances in the evaluated race time, the distribution of zones in the same TID, the duration of the interventions, and the monitoring of the loads, are the main limitations found in the studies. The polarized TID could contribute to adherence, lower perception of effort, and injury prevention. However, this must be tested in future studies.


Download data is not yet available.

Citado por


Jerman Jesyd Cruz-González
Víctor Hugo Arboleda-Serna


Kinderman W, Simon G, Keul J. Developmental changes in carbohydrate moiety of human alpha‐fetoprotein. Int J Cancer. 1978;22(5):515-20. doi:

Skinner JS, McLellan TH. The Transition from Aerobic to Anaerobic Metabolism. Res Q Exerc Sport. 1980;51(1):234-48. doi:

Hydren J, Bruce C. Current scientific evidence for a polarized cardiovascular endurance training model. J strength Cond Res [Internet]. 2015;29(12). doi:

Seiler S. What is best practice for training intensity and duration distribution in endurance athletes? Int J Sports Physiol Perform [Internet]. 2010;5(3):276-91. doi:

Campos Y, Casado A, Vieira JG, Guimarães M, Sant'Ana L, Leitão L, et al. Training-intensity Distribution on Middle- And Long-distance Runners: A Systematic Review. Int J Sports Med [Internet]. 2021. doi:

Filipas L, Bonato M, Gallo G, Codella R. Effects of 16 weeks of pyramidal and polarized training intensity distributions in well-trained endurance runners. Scand J Med Sci Sport [Internet]. 2022;32(3):498-511. doi:

Festa L, Tarperi C, Skroce K, La Torre A, Schena F. Effects of Different Training Intensity Distribution in Recreational Runners. Front Sport Act Living [Internet]. 2020;1(January):1-7. doi:

Stöggl TL, Sperlich B. The training intensity distribution among well-trained and elite endurance athletes. Front Physiol [Internet]. 2015;6(OCT):295. doi:

Muñoz I, Seiler S, Bautista J, España J, Larumbe E, Esteve-Lanao J. Does polarized training improve performance in recreational runners? Int J Sports Physiol Perform [Internet]. 2014;9(2):265-72. doi:

Röhrken G, Held S, Donath L. Six Weeks of Polarized Versus Moderate Intensity Distribution: A Pilot Intervention Study. Front Physiol [Internet]. 2020;11(November):1-11. doi:

Treff G, Winkert K, Sareban M, Steinacker JM, Sperlich B. The polarization-index: A simple calculation to distinguish polarized from non-polarized training intensity distributions. Front Physiol [Internet]. 2019;10(JUN):1-6. doi:

Kenneally M, Casado A, Gomez-Ezeiza J, Santos-Concejero J. Training intensity distribution analysis by race pace vs. physiological approach in world-class middle- and long-distance runners. Eur J Sport Sci [Internet]. 2021;21(6):819-26. doi:

Kenneally M, Casado A, Santos-Concejero J. The Effect of Periodization and Training Intensity Distribution on Middle- and Long-Distance Running Performance: A Systematic Review. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance [Internet]. 2018 Oct 1;13(9):1114–21. doi:

Stöggl T, Sperlich B. Polarized training has greater impact on key endurance variables than threshold, high intensity, or high volume training. Front Physiol [Internet]. 2014;5 FEB(February):1-9. doi:

Carnes AJ, Mahoney SE. Polarized vs. High Intensity Multimodal Training in Recreational Runners. Int J Sport Physiol Perform J Int J Sport Physiol Perform [Internet]. 2018;1-28. doi:

Zinner C, Schäfer Olstad D, Sperlich B. Mesocycles with different training intensity distribution in recreational runners. Med Sci Sports Exerc [Internet]. 2018;50(8):1641-8. doi:

Auersperger I, Jurov I, Laurencak K, Leskosek B, Skof B. The effect of a short-term training period on physiological parameters and running performance in recreationally active female runners. Sport Mont [Internet]. 2020;18(1):69-74. doi:

Muñoz I, Varela-Sanz A. Training intensity distribution and performance of a recreational male endurance runner. A case report. J Phys Educ Sport. 2018;18(4):2257-63. Available from:

Pérez A, Ramos-Campo DJ, Freitas TT, Rubio-Arias J, Marín-Cascales E, Alcaraz PE. Effect of two different intensity distribution training programmes on aerobic and body composition variables in ultra-endurance runners. Eur J Sport Sci [Internet]. 2019;19(5):636-44. doi:

Sellés Pérez S, Fernández-Sáez J, Cejuela R. Polarized and pyramidal training intensity distribution: Relationship with a half-ironman distance triathlon competition. J Sport Sci Med. 2019;18(4):708-15. Available from:

Neal CM, Hunter AM, Brennan L, O'Sullivan A, Hamilton DL, DeVito G, et al. Six weeks of a polarized training-intensity distribution leads to greater physiological and performance adaptations than a threshold model in trained cyclists. J Appl Physiol [Internet]. 2013;114(4):461-71. doi:

Yu H, Chen X, Zhu W, Cao C. A quasi-experimental study of Chinese top-level speed skaters' training load: Threshold versus polarized model. Int J Sports Physiol Perform [Internet]. 2012;7(2):103-12. doi:

Pla R, Le Meur Y, Aubry A, Toussaint JF, Hellard P. Effects of a 6-week period of polarized or threshold training on performance and fatigue in elite swimmers. Int J Sports Physiol Perform [Internet]. 2019;14(2):183-9. doi:

Foster C, Rodriguez-Marroyo JA, De Koning JJ. Monitoring training loads: The past, the present, and the future. Int J Sports Physiol Perform [Internet]. 2017;12:2-8. doi:

Casado A, González-Mohíno F, González-Ravé JM, Foster C. Training Periodization, Methods, Intensity Distribution, and Volume in Highly Trained and Elite Distance Runners: A Systematic Review. Int J Sports Physiol Perform [Internet]. 2022;17(6):820-33. doi:

Andersen JJ. The State of Running 2019 | RunRepeat [Internet]. 2019 [cited 2022 Sep 1]. Available from:

Boullosa D, Esteve-Lanao J, Casado A, Peyré-Tartaruga LA, Gomes da Rosa R, Del Coso J. Factors Affecting Training and Physical Performance in Recreational Endurance Runners. Sports [Internet]. 2020;8(3):35. doi:

Haugen T, Sandbakk Ø, Seiler S, Tønnessen E. The Training Characteristics of World-Class Distance Runners: An Integration of Scientific Literature and Results-Proven Practice. Sport Med - Open [Internet]. 2022;8(1). doi:

Bourgois JG, Bourgois G, Boone J. Perspectives and determinants for training-intensity distribution in elite endurance athletes. Int J Sports Physiol Perform [Internet]. 2019;14(8):1151-6. doi:

Seiler KS, Kjerland GØ. Quantifying training intensity distribution in elite endurance athletes: Is there evidence for an "optimal" distribution? Scand J Med Sci Sport [Internet]. 2006;16(1):49-56. doi:

Muñoz I, Cejuela R, Seiler S, Larumbe E, Esteve-Lanao J. Training-intensity distribution during an ironman season: Relationship with competition performance. Int J Sports Physiol Perform [Internet]. 2014;9(2):332-9. doi:

Arksey H, O'Malley L. Scoping studies: Towards a methodological framework. Int J Soc Res Methodol Theory Pract [Internet]. 2005;8(1):19-32. doi:

Tricco AC, Lillie E, Zarin W, O'Brien KK, Colquhoun H, Levac D, et al. PRISMA extension for scoping reviews (PRISMA-ScR): Checklist and explanation. Ann Intern Med [Internet]. 2018;169(7):467-73. doi:

Alvero-Cruz JR, Carnero EA, García MAG, Cárceles FA, Correas-Gómez L, Rosemann T, et al. Predictive performance models in long-distance runners: A narrative review. Int J Environ Res Public Health [Internet]. 2020;17(21):1-22. doi:

World Athletics. Reglamento de competición y técnico World Athletics 2022. 1-284. Avalilable from:

Borresen J, Lambert MI. The Quantification of Training Load, Effect on Performance. Sport Med [Internet]. 2009;39(9):779-95. doi:


Download data is not yet available.