and for many their first key events are just a few weeks away. So now is the time to top off your winter training with some High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) to give you that extra speed.
Studies have shown that amongst well trained endurance athletes HIIT sessions improve performance by increasing the stroke volume of the heart, enhancing fatigue resistance, improving neuromuscular co-ordination, reducing blood lactate levels and increasing the recruitment of slow twitch muscle fibres. The results showed that the additional improvements in aerobic and anaerobic metabolism exceeded those normally brought about through basic aerobic fitness training (Acevado and Goldfarb, 1989; Billat et al., 1999; Stepto et al., 1999).
HIIT gives you all the benefits of aerobic training but in half the time. But the real benefit comes when built upon three or four months of conventional aerobic and threshold training. HIIT can give you a 2%-5% increase in top end power/speed so I always ensure my athletes first gain a high level of fitness through the winter and early spring and then we use HIIT to ensure they can maximise their race performance at key events.
A recent publication ‘Faster After 50’ (Joe Friel., 2016) showed how HIIT training becomes increasingly important for older athletes and will allow them to maintain their performance and reduce the speed of decline in performance brought about as we get older.
So if you’re looking for that extra edge this season time to talk to your coach about how you could use HIIT to help you develop your power and speed further than ever before.