Thursday, February 13, 2014

Too Many Intervals Too Soon

Have you got an important race coming? And you're a little behind in your training, not quite in the shape you wished you hope to be and am tempted to really ramp up your training?

Well, the result from the following study will suggest you hold your horses.

A group of Norwegian researchers investigated the training response/ adaptations in 21 runners of completing 24 high intensity interval (HIIT) sessions over three or eight weeks. Both groups did no running after the last HIIT session.

In the first group, the runners did the hard 24 HIIT sessions over an eight week period. After doing 8 of the interval sessions, their VO2 max improved 2.3%. After 16 sessions, VO2 max improved 7.1%, At the end of eight weeks, their VO2 max improved a whopping 10.7% ( after resting 4 days).

For the 2nd group of runners, when the same 24 HIIT sessions were cramped into three weeks, their fitness actually declined during the three weeks and they only improved after almost two weeks (12 days to be exact) of no running. Even then, their improvement was 6.1% VO2 max, less than the first group.

Clearly, the results show that when training intensity  is too high, the runners cannot adapt to the training.

Just for those of you curious runners, their HIIT intervals were 4 x 4 min hard at 90-95 % VO2 max done running uphill on a treadmill with 3 min recovery.

Well, we live in an instantaneous society now where we want results at the snap of a finger. With running though, it pays to be dedicated, disciplined and patient.


Hatle H, Stobakk PK, Molmen HE et al (2014). Effect Of 24 Sessions Of High Intensity Aerobic Interval Training Carried Out At Either High Or Moderate Frequency, A Randomized Trial. PLoS ONE ((2): e88375. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0088375.

*Picture of 2013 National Schools Track and Field meet 800m A Division Girls final  by richseow from flikr

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