Conquent: Without Limits
Conquent: Without Limits
John Bissell's Blog

High Intensity Interval Training vs. Long Distance Training

2010-03-27 18:45:15
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Recently two articles appeared in Science Daily, booth written with good studies backing them up and seemingly in contradiction. The first one on March 12 suggests that High Intensity Interval Training, lasting relatively short durations can provide better fitness results than long distance training, even if you are training for ultra endurance events. (

The other one published on March first lists the number one training mistake for those training for marathons and ˝ marathons is skipping the weekly long run (and this would translate to other ultra endurance events such as long bicycle rides and triathlons).

How can both of these articles published in the same journal be right? Here’s how. High Intensity Interval Training is as important as the article suggests. Pushing your heart rate to 80% or more for a duration of one – two minutes, then recovering and doing it again does amazing things for your fitness. The improvements give you enough fitness to do the long workouts.

However, cardio fitness and muscle strength are not the only measures of your ability to finish the long run or ride. You need all your connective tissue to be strong and that takes more and longer consistent workouts.

You also need to understand how your body works when you are pushing it for several hours at a time. In a long work out your pacing, hydration, nutrition, and recovery are all different from what you get accustomed to in a shorter, high intensity work out. You need to know how to resolve these issues. All of these lessons are learned by taking the long rides or runs. So these two articles are not really in conflict, but like everything else, we need to get the whole picture before making an action plan.

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