This form of training is ideal for those looking to improve their endurance, with less focus on increasing muscle size and strength.
Generally, it is best for runners and other athletes who compete in endurance-based disciplines, but it can benefit everyone’s cardiovascular fitness.
Usually continuous training is done at either a low or moderate intensity, and as training progresses then the distances and intensity can be increased accordingly. Continuous exercises are performed aerobically, which means the intensity is low enough to allow for oxygen to be taken in by the muscles.
However, it is possible for a person’s maximum speed to decline if they overdo continuous training, as the muscle fibres that deal with low-intensity, endurance abilities can replace the muscle fibres that deal with high-intensity abilities.
Why choose continuous training?
Training continuously helps you develop your stamina and speed endurance very effectively. You may hear endurance athletes talk about training to get more ‘range in their legs’, and this is exactly right. Completing endurance exercises leads to an improvement in your running range, allowing you to run farther without stopping, or increase your speed for shorter runs.
However, after a certain point you will benefit more from high-intensity interval training for speed and power. If you compete in races, for distances more than 1000m, continuous training will usually be the most beneficial training programme to follow.
How long should sessions be?
The intensity, distance and length of training sessions depend completely on the individual performing them. For beginners, it is important to start small and build up your base fitness, even if you do not feel like you are pushing yourself much.
If you have a certain goal in mind, such as intending to run a marathon, then this will make it easier for you to plan training sessions in more detail. You can aim to increase your mileage by either one, two, three or four miles depending on your ability and race date. For marathons it is important to start your preparation as early as possible, in order to avoid increasing your mileage too quickly and risking injury.