Continuous training, also called long slow distance (LSD) training, takes persistence and time. The training is done at steady pace for very long periods of time and stress levels are maintained such that the trainee remains just below oxygen debt levels. The opposite of continuous training is interval training, which calls for sharp increases and decreases of intensity in a workout. Both continuous and interval training techniques have their benefits and their disadvantages.
Advantages of Continuous Training
Continuous training does not usually call for heavy equipment, meaning that is easier for athletes and trainees to perform required tasks. This type of training also greatly improves trainees' aerobic fitness because it keeps the body at the oxygen threshold while exercising. It is good for the heart and for the respiratory system, and most exercises are simple to replicate and perform. Continuous training can also help trainees lose weight or stay in shape after an injury.
Disadvantages of Continuous Training
Some who use continuous training methods find that the repetition and maintenance of levels of activity become boring over time. Also, although continuous training improves aerobic fitness, it does very little for anaerobic fitness. Those who are training for sports and games that require sprints and quick bursts of speed, such as soccer and football, do not benefit as much from continuous training.
Advantages of Interval Training
Because of the nature of interval training, trainees get the combined results of anaerobic and aerobic exercise. Unlike continuous training, interval training helps to increase athletes' ability to pick up and change speeds quickly. This type of training helps to develop both endurance and determination among trainees and is often a better tool for coaches to gauge their athletes' skills. As trainees continue with interval training, their recovery time improves.
Disadvantages of Interval Training
Interval training can take a serious physical toll on the bodies of trainees. It is very easy to overtrain and stress the body while interval training, and this can result in pulled or torn muscles, joint problems, heat exhaustion and dehydration. Overtraining symptoms include fatigue, recurring illnesses like colds, insomnia, a lack of appetite and increases in heart rates even while resting.