HIIT For Endurance
I love winter, snow and skiing, but as a summer athlete, for me winter means putting down a solid foundation for harder spring training and upcoming summer races. Training for endurance races means endurance work, which can become physically and mentally fatiguing if you’re doing it on a stationary bike in your garage. Luckily, evidence is growing for the benefits that High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), in both cardiovascular and resistance training, has for endurance athletes, as well as athletes of all levels. HIIT mixes things up for our bodies and our brains, making it a welcome complement to traditional endurance work.
Physiologically, HIIT taps into and conditions both your anaerobic and aerobic energy systems, increasing your body’s ability to maintain a harder workload for a longer period of time (hello, endurance athlete’s main goal!). For an effective HIIT workout, you need to push yourself past the upper end of your aerobic zone and allow your body to replenish your anaerobic energy system during the recovery intervals- meaning you go all out (a level of 9 to10 out of 10 on the perceived effort scale) during the work intervals, and take advantage of the rest periods to get your heart rate down and recover in preparation for the next effort. When done right, these are incredibly challenging and rewarding at the same time.