A New Form Of Aerobic Training: Micropause

woman running on track

Dayton Kelly

This article was adapted from a combination of speeches given at the European Sports Science Conference 2017, most notably Walsh, A. et al. [Ireland].

Micropause Running

Not high intensity training, not continuous long distance training, but somewhere in between. A new form of aerobic training – Micropause training — shows potential to take research community by storm. Where long distance continuous exercise has been criticized for being monotonous and time demanding, high intensity interval training has been commended for achieving identical results in a shorter amount of time. However, high intensity training is not without its perils; high intensity training is extremely metabolically taxing (partially why it is good) and leads to overtraining when prescribed in excess. As well, high intensity training disposed individuals to higher rates of injury: explosive movements and heavier weights incur greater risk of accidents. Thus, in many cases, we require an alternative in the middle!

What is Micropause Training?

running on treadmillMicropause training is this middle. Where long distance continuous exercise training requires the lengthy maintenance of intensity (~60-70% Max heart rate) and high intensity exercise training encourages sets of high intensity exercise (+85% Max heart rate) with three to five minute rest periods, micropause training employs an elevated intensity (~80% Max heart rate) that is interspersed with short 15 to 30 second breaks. This intermediate bears advantages of both categories: micropause training requires less time than continuous training, while reducing the risk associated with high intensity training.

What Does the Literature Say?

Currently, this form of training is in its infancy. There is little work to show its ability relative to other forms of training in terms of performance outcomes. What has been shown, is that for equivalent calories burned in each discipline, micropause training has been shown to be more enjoyable and less fatiguing than conventional long distance training. Further investigations of the efficacy of micropause training are required.

Our Recommendation:

While this form of training is novel and the literature is not yet sufficient to prescribe a major conversion, micropause training is definitely worth the try. The next time you are on the track, test it yourself! Was micropause training mentally easier as the literature suggests?

Related Article: Power Training For Runners


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