So you’ve been thinking about signing up for a local 5k or maybe even an upcoming marathon. The problem is, you want to be somewhat competitive with limited training time. Well I have great news. I developed this pill where you can sit around and watch Netflix and be a superstar athlete at the same time. No. But seriously, incorporating some High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) into your training plan can not only save you time, but also help you reach the next level.
What is High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)?
HIIT workouts are short intense efforts. Now short is relative to the distance you are training for, but either way it’s arguably the most effective way to increase your VO2 max – or the rate at which your body can efficiently process oxygen. It’s easy to believe that consistently running longer and faster will lead to favorable results, but unfortunately, this method often leads to running your body into the ground. HIIT allows you to experience controlled race level efforts so that the rest of your training week isn’t bombed by one tough workout. Below are a couple examples to give you an idea.
Fartlek workout (Speed play in Swedish)
This workout rocks because it can be done anywhere. For example, following your warm-up, run 5 minutes at about 75-80% of your full effort, rest 2 minutes by jogging easy then continue with 4 minutes, 3 minutes, 2 minutes, and 1 minute – with a 2 minute or less slow jog in between. Increase your effort gradually until you reach a speed that you can sustain for only 1 minute. This workout not only increases your VO2 max, but it trains your body to stay strong throughout an entire race.
Modified Hill repeat
Find a hill at least a half-mile long. Run up the hill for about 30-45 seconds at about your 1-mile pace on flat ground. Walk or jog slowly back down for 30-45 seconds (whichever time you ran up). Repeat this process until you make it to the top of the hill. Once you get to the top, jog back to the bottom and go through the process 3 or 4 more times. This is a killer workout that will make you confident as you attack hills in races. After incorporating this into my training, hills have been strong point.
These are just two narrow examples to give you a basic idea. Play around with intensities, rest times, and distances to fit your individual goals. Hopefully with a little effort, you can save some time and earn a podium finish at your next race.
If you are thinking about training for a race at any distance and would like some help establishing a time sensitive training plan, contact us through Facebook or E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and I would love to help out!