HIIT Training for Endurance Runners

It’s no secret that if you want to get better at a skill, you need to practice that skill. In that vein, the SAID Principle (Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demand) eloquently states that our body will adapt specifically to the demands placed upon it. In other words, if one wants to be a better cyclist, one should ride a bike. If one wants to be a better swimmer, one should get in a pool from time to time. And if one would like to be a better runner, well, they should run.

Frequently, runners who are preparing for a specific race will train for the event by regularly running at or below the speed that they hope to run in the race. This allows their bodies to specifically adapt to the challenge that they will be faced with on race day and also ensures that they will be able to finish the race at a predetermined pace, based on their current speed adaptation. While finishing any race is an accomplishment which should be congratulated, regardless of time, many runners aim to set personal records , or PRs, every time they compete.

The training style described above pushes ones limits only slightly. It often results in small increases in PRs or gradual increases in race distances. While both are commendable, this particular method of training leaves many runners wanting more. Luckily, there are ways to significantly increase the speed at which a race is completed and the distance that a runner is able to race.

Insert, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) or Sprint Interval Training (SIT). HIIT or SIT refers to exercise that is characterized by relatively short bursts of vigorous activity, interspersed by periods of rest or low-intensity exercise for recovery. Aside from being a fun way to break up the week’s monotonous long mileage runs, studies have shown that adding HIIT or SIT workouts to ones training regimen once or twice a week can provide multiple benefits to endurance athletes such as (you guessed it!) faster race times and the ability to run longer distances. Additionally, it has been noted that these workouts also improve upon oxygen uptake[i], 5 km run performance[ii], and skeletal muscle oxidative capacity[iii]. 

Now that you know why this type of training is so beneficial, it's time to test it out for yourself! On Sunday, September 13, 2015, the Ventura Marathon will take place in Ventura, CA. As the exclusive training center for the marathon, Burn 60 Studios will be emphasizing endurance training during some of our regularly scheduled HIIT and SIT workouts every week leading up to the event  We will also be offering an exclusive discount to anyone who signs up to be a part of the Burn 60 5K Team.

Up for the challenge? Register here using coupon code: Burn60Rocks2015 to receive a 50% DISCOUNT on registration!


Reference:

[i] Walter AA, Smith AE, Kendall KL, Stout JR, Cramer JT. J Strength Cond Res. 2010 May; 24(5):1199-207.

[ii] Denham J1, Feros SAO'Brien BJ. J Strength Cond Res. 2015 Feb 2. [Epub ahead of print]

[iii] Burgomaster KA1, Howarth KRPhillips SMRakobowchuk MMacdonald MJ,McGee SLGibala MJ. J Physiol. 2008 Jan 1;586(1):151-60. Epub 2007 Nov 8.

[iv] Gibala MJ1, Jones AM.Nestle Nutr Inst Workshop Ser. 2013;76:51-60. doi: 10.1159/000350256. Epub 2013 Jul 25.


strength training: an essential part of a runner’s regimen

We all know strength training is essential to toning and sculpting an appealing physique.  It builds muscles, decreases body fat and increases lean body mass.  But why does any of this matter if you’re a runner?

“When you build your muscles you are able to go longer distances and you don’t get as fatigued.” – Kaitlyn Mello, a runner currently training for the Nike Women’s Half-Marathon.

She’s right. Strength training consistently (2-3 times a week) increases your running economy (how efficiently your body uses oxygen).  The stronger your muscles are, the less effort running will require.  Less effort means less energy burned at a given speed or distance, allowing you to run farther and faster.

In addition to improved performance, strength training dramatically reduces the risk of injury to runners.  Running has a way of pinpointing weakness in the body.  The goal of a runner should be to target these particular muscle groups, creating balance from head to toe.

The trick is to start small.  Utilize the weight of your own body, performing basic exercises like squats, lunges, pushups and sit-ups.  Once this becomes easy, begin to incorporate weights (they should be heavy enough to challenge you, but not so heavy as to induce strain).  Ideally one should work their way to exercises that require unilateral movements, as these will most closely mimic the biomechanics of running.

Burn 60 Trainer Anna Renderer demonstrates key strengthening exercises for runners here.

Sources:

Holland, Tom. “Strength Training for Runners”. Active. The Active Network, Inc. Web. 28 August 2013.

Thapoung, Kenny. “Run Your Fastest Race Yet”. Women’s Health Blog. 6 August 2013. Rodale, Inc.  Web. 28 August 2013.