Whether we are training to perform well in a race environment or exercising for overall health and wellness, we strive for optimization. How do we get the highest return on our investment of time and energy? Preferred training modalities are constantly updated, as we become privy to more scientifically validated data.
The latest research reveals (using a three-zone parameter) that training intensity distribution is ideally 75/8/17% by session, but 91/6/3% by total training time. In other words, your hardest workouts should account for a fraction of your total time, even though they make up almost a fifth of your workouts. The devil is in the details: are we defining distribution as the number of sessions performed, or by the time it takes to complete those same sessions relative to total volume?
The highly-popularized 80/20 method is only validated in terms of session breakdown. Intense training needs only account for a small percentage of our time spent running in order to realize optimal results. Almost all workouts should be at an intensity below 10K race pace, with only three percent in the “severe domain” threshold of 88-92% of maximal output.