HIIT

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is something every runner should be adding to their training routine, but especially runners who find themselves short on time for those extra long runs. Interval training is not new to runners. Most think of it as speed training such as 800 or 400 repeats. But HIIT can and should be more than just speed interval training. HIIT that incorporates strength moves helps build total body fitness in a way that just speed interval training doesn’t do.

HIIT is hard. You should be close to maximal effort. If you ever feel nauseous, light headed, or dizzy take a break before getting back to it. Some experts say that fifteen minutes of HIIT provides about the same physiological benefits as three hours of long slow distance. That does not mean you can train using only HIIT.

Adding in HIIT once or twice a week will actually allow you to reduce your total weekly miles by 10-20% without losing any fitness gains you’ve made. Many running coaches recommend that 20% of your training should be HIIT because of the many benefits you will reap. HIIT focuses on the fast twitch muscle fibers and as endurance runners we don’t tap into these all the time, but we do when our slow twitch muscles are fatigued because we begin to recruit anything we think will help. Training those fast twitch muscles will give a boost to your slow twitch as they become fatigued.

Another benefit of HIIT is the psychological training. HIIT makes you push through barrier after barrier when your body is screaming stop. You can tap into those experiences when things get hard out on the trail. Other benefits of HIIT: it’s very effective at burning fat, it boost your metabolism, and builds muscles

How long your HIIT workouts should be will depend on your current fitness level and your fitness goals. You can start with 20-30 minute and build up to 45-60 minute workouts. Here is an example of a HIIT session you can start with.

If you are recovering from an injury do not start HIIT training until you’re fully recovered. The intensity will increase the likelihood of re-injury. Warming up before a HIIT session is essential to reduce the risk of injury.

Workout ONE 30 minutes

3 minute dynamic warmup: Jumping jacks, high knees, lunges, inch worms, and leg swings.

1 minute rest

First set: 1 minute pushups: 20 second rest; 1 minute squat jumps: 20 second rest: 1 minute front plank: 20 second rest: repeat.

Second set: 1 minute burpee: 20 second rest: 1 minute dumbbell row: 20 second rest: 1 minute bicycles: 20 second rest: repeat two times

Third set: 1 minute mountain climbers:  20 second rest: 1 minute dumbbell/kettlebell swing: 20 second rest: 1 minute split squats with a jump: 20 second rest: repeat two times.

Vacation or…

runcation

So you’re going on vacation and it’s the middle of training season. Do you see your running as a hindrance or an opportunity when you are going on vacation? Maybe it’s not you who sees it as a hindrance, but everyone going with you.

Vacations can be a great way to run in new places and with new people. You can look into running routes on line and even email a local running club. Runners of clubs are usually more than happy to take someone out and show them their favorite trails and routes through the city. You may create long lasting friendships in different parts of the country or world.

If you are going out on your own, you should make sure you have some money on you in case you need to take a bus or taxi back to your hotel or stop for water or food along the way. A cell phone is also a good idea.

Your whole vacation doesn’t need to revolve around your running and in fact if you are going to be gone for less than two weeks you can cut back and just do some maintenance runs of 4-5 miles a few times each week.

If you are going to run a race while you’re there, try to time it during the first part of your vacation that way you can take the rest of the time off and not worry about what you eat and how it will impact your run. You might be a little sore, but just take along your foam roller and roll each night to work out the knots and lactic acid build up. Getting moving each day will help you recover faster, just don’t overdo it.

That’s all fine and good, you’re the runner after all. You’re excited to run in new places. But what about the family and friends you’re bringing along. The easiest solution is for them to find things they want to do while you are running. They could have their own adventures while you’re out having yours. Or you can just get your ass out of bed before they get up and get your run in that way it doesn’t interfere with the plans you have. You’ll just be a little more tired.

What if you can’t run? Look for something else that is going to keep your body moving. It won’t help in the fitness zone, but long walks, hikes, swimming, cycling all of these will help siphon off some of that energy. If you completely stop running and being active, you have a lot of extra energy to burn off. You may not be able to sleep or you could be fidgety driving everyone else and yourself up a wall.

Do what you can while you’re on vacation. If that means no running, that’s okay too. Just make sure you have enough fun to make it worth it.