High Intensity Interval Training | HIIT for runners


High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT for short, has been named one of the world's leading fitness trends in 2019, according to an annual survey conducted by the American College of Sports Medicine.

This extremely hard and highly effective workout style is not just the on-the-go training of the moment: for 13 years that the CMHA has conducted this survey, HIIT has also dominated the list in 2014 and is ranked in the top 3 for the fifth year in a row. .

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Why? Because it works, and it works fast. Whether you come straight from the couch, train for a marathon, or even run for a living, HIIT training is good for you and makes you feel better and faster.

What is HIIT?

HIIT seems very scientific, but it's really very simple. These are brief, challenging cardiovascular workouts lasting from 10 seconds to five minutes, interrupted by brief recovery periods.

How difficult is difficult? It depends on the length of the interval, but the key is to go as hard as possible for the duration of the effort. So, if you do Tabatas (20 seconds of effort, followed by 10 seconds of recovery), you run at full speed for 20 seconds. If you work longer, in intervals of 3 to 5 minutes, you work in your VO2 max area, about 95% of your max heart rate (or a 9 on a scale of 1 to 10) for the duration of the first day. ;interval.

The amount of recovery you take between intervals depends on your goals. Short intervals are usually associated with equally brief or shorter recovery periods so that your body can adapt to repeated maximal efforts. And because your heart rate stays high during recovery periods, your aerobic energy system also benefits from a workout advantage. In other cases, such as high intensity sprints, you want every effort to be made as much as possible. So you have to let your body recover completely for four or five minutes between fights.

What are the advantages of HIIT?

New studies on the benefits of HIIT are regularly up to date. Take, for example, that of the November 2018 edition of American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology. The researchers found that just two minutes sprint interval training (in this case, four 30-second maximum effort sprints followed by four and a half minutes of recovery for a total of 20 minutes) have improved mitochondrial function – when your cells can quickly change fuel in energy, a benchmark for good health and physical performance – as well as 30 minutes of moderate physical activity in a group of active men and women. In other words, two good minutes of running can give you the same benefits as a 30-minute session at a steady and moderate pace.

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It is therefore not surprising that HIIT training is exceptional for your cardiovascular system. Research shows that, depending on your condition at the time you start, HIIT can increase your VO2 max (the amount of oxygen you can use) up to 46% in 24 weeks. increase your stroke volume (the amount of blood your heart pumps per beat) by 10% after eight weeks of training and significantly reduce your resting heart rate.

This also makes your body a furnace of a fat burner. HIIT speeds up the production of your body's growth hormones, which help you maintain your muscles and burn fat for hours after work. It also reduces insulin resistance for better control of blood sugar.

The best part is that it offers all these benefits as well as, or in some cases, a better result than the conventional longer moderate cardio training sessions in much less time.

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What HIIT means to you

Most of us are already running a lot because as endurance athletes, it's our thing. Even if you're already in shape, you can still get measurable benefits from adding HIIT to your body. training program, says the exercise physiology professor and coach Paul Laursen, Ph.D., endurance trainer, author of The science and application of high intensity interval training (HIIT)and contributor to HIITscience.com.

For runners who like to go far, HIIT can be part of a smart basic building strategy. "Your base depends on your mitochondrial ability," says Laursen. "Longer and less intense exercises increase the number of mitochondria in your cells, which is why people perform long and steady endurance exercises to build a solid foundation. But high-intensity training boosts the power of these mitochondria, "he said, noting that research has also shown that regular high-intensity exercise can also boost mitochondrial production.

"Our research found that when well-trained cyclists performed two interval sessions a week for three to six weeks, their VO2 max, maximum aerobic power, and endurance performance improved by two to three weeks. at 4%, "he says.

How to do HIIT

Larsen says you have a choice of three main weapons in the HIIT arsenal: long intervals, such as VO2 intervals, lasting from one to four minutes; short intervals of about 120% VO2 max that can last from 10 to 60 seconds with equal payback periods; and sprint intervals, which are performed "all out" and can be very short (three to six seconds) or longer (20 to 30 seconds).

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You can adopt the shotgun approach and rotate every three weeks. Or choose the format that best suits your weak point. "If you lose energy during your efforts, do longer HIIT workout intervals," he says. But if you need to sharpen your power at close range, like the final kick at the end of a race, do some sprints.

For general endurance benefits, intervals ranging from 30 seconds to five minutes at a very high intensity build your aerobic system while recruiting fast-twitch sprint fibers, making your energy-producing fibers more resistant to stamina. fatigue over time, says Laursen.

"Performing three to six of these efforts, leaving one to two minutes of recovery between, can have impressive effects," he says.

You can run HIIT intervals in progress, or you can do them when you train to get a metabolic boost while giving your body a break from your usual activity, says Laursen. "It works well for riders and team sports athletes who sometimes need to reduce their impact when they are healing a bit of an injury or niggle," he says. "They can do a HIIT session on the bike to maintain their cardiovascular load, while reducing the impact on their neuromuscular system."

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HIIT Training Sessions

To get started, try one of these high intensity workouts.

On the track

High-intensity track sessions move muscles throughout the range of motion, improving elasticity and strengthening the coordination between your nervous system and your muscles. With time, you'll develop a more effective stride at your own pace, says Joe McConkey, M.S., an exercise physiologist and coach at the Boston Running Center.

Start with two accelerations of 100 meters, including 40 meters at maximum speed, with 2 to 3 minutes of walking or jogging in between. Build at a depth of 6 x 150 meters, including 80 meters at maximum speed, with 3 to 4 minutes of rest or walking. Over time, increase the number of repetitions to 10, lengthen the reps to 300 meters (by traveling most of the distance to maximum speed) or reduce the rest interval to 1 minute.

On the trails

This adds to the challenge, but running fast on less rugged terrain, such as bridle paths, trails or grass can increase agility and athleticism, or your ability to run with the amount precise power, speed and coordination needed to be effective. movement, "says McConkey.

HIIT IT: Because of the terrain and potential tension on your leg muscles, get out of the way easily. Perform five times of 30 seconds at a moderate intensity during an easy 20 minute run and create up to ten almost absolute bursts of 60 seconds during a 40 minute run. From there, go to five cycles by alternating 30 seconds of total running with 90 seconds of jogging, then 10 cycles alternating an easy minute with an ultra-hard minute. Just be careful not to stumble.

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On the hills

The slopes are an ideal place for fast work very fast. Compared to a flat surface, the hills reduce the impact on your legs and limit the range of your movements, reducing the risk of fatigue and traction. In addition, rib repetitions build muscle power, allowing you to run more efficiently on flat terrain, says McConkey.

HIIT IT: On a slope, start with three moderate repetitions of 30 seconds and go down the hill to recover. When it gets comfortable, advance up to 4 x 1 minute with downhill jogging and an additional 30 to 60 seconds of jogging or resting. Over time, add extra reps, increase the duration of the effort up to two minutes and aim for steeper slopes, says McConkey.

How often should you do HIIT?

HIIT is like a medicine: the right dose does wonders; too much can have adverse effects. If you do not participate in races or major events on weekends, you can do up to three HIIT workouts per week to stay in shape, provided you get enough recovery, ideally a day. or two activities easier between sessions to allow your body to bounce back.

Once you are on the field to run longer and / or push hard on weekends, you can call your HIIT workouts once or twice a week to avoid injury.


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