Tuesday, April 24, 2012

{HIIT} the Ground Running

It is a well-known fact that running can help anyone shed a few pounds.  For decades, people have been turning to distance running to lose weight, get back in shape, and become healthy.  Wonderful, I know!  However, hitting the pavement day after day at the same pace and distance can cause the body to hit a plateau, and weight-loss can possibly come to a screeching halt.   

The rage in fitness these days is something called High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), a philosophy that involves alternating low/moderate intervals with those of high intensity.  The benefits of HIIT are numerous, including the following:
1.    Time friendly – Workout for a shorter time period with enhanced results.
2.   Heart pounding goodness – They get your heart pumping and your body working hard!
3.   Burn, baby burn– Your body goes into “repair mode” after an HIIT session and burns more fat and calories long after the session is complete.
4.   Lose weight, not muscle - Long, stagnate running sessions on the roads or treadmill {day after day} can possibly cause the body to lose muscle mass since it can enter into a catabolic (or muscle wasting) state.  Essentially, the body could start to use its own muscle for energy.  This will NOT happen during an HIIT workout.  

Runners have been participating in interval workouts since the beginning of “running time” and we all know that they help us become faster, stronger athletes.  Let’s face it, these types of sessions on the track or trails are not always the most pleasant, but the benefits far outweigh a few uncomfortable miles.
Jesse and I have done plethora of {running-related} HIIT workouts over the last few months…everything from track sessions…to tempo runs…to mile repeats on the canal.  An example of one of these would be the VO2 max sessions where we increased the amount of oxygen taken in by the body by running harder, faster intervals.  How does this help? The body reacts and gets in better shape. 

Here are a few previous posts that include a variety of examples of interval training:

Excellent 800s. 


Mile repeat workout 

In my opinion…a well-rounded weekly running regimen includes these three things:
  • 1 long run
  • 1-2 interval training sessions {ex: speed on the track, progression runs on the roads, or tempos on the trails}
  • 2 -4 easy/moderate distance runs

Personally, I began adding intervals into my training back in late-January.  By doing so, I increased lean muscle mass, dropped nearly two sizes, and decreased my times considerably. The purpose of this blog will always be to communicate my experiences with others, and this truly is an important message to share.  Interval training really does work and it is my hope that it works for you too.     

Have a great Tuesday!


Note: I am an elementary school teacher, not a certified personal trainer or health professional.  With over 20 years of running and racing experience, the views presented above are solely based on my personal trials, tribulations, and research.

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