You Base Performance On Distance Instead of Time.
A lot of the apps, and running programs going around are either by people with weak background in exercise science, or they’re based on athletes that much better than the average runners that they’re marketed to. For example, I had clients that were given running programs by a coach that appeared to give the same HIIT program used to improve performance to everyone. Now neither one of these ladies were the type of runners that would set the track ablaze with their run times. In fact one of them ran about a 10-minute mile. The coach based their HIIT program around 400-meter sprints. Well at a 10-minute mile pace, it would take them 2 ½ minutes, or 150 seconds to run that 400m. So this person would be traveling at about 6 miles per hour. Notice that I said traveling, and not running, because this person isn’t running, they’re jogging. A walk becomes a jog/run at about 5 miles/hour. Even if you chopped 30-seconds of this time they’re not traveling fast enough to be considered a sprint, and even if they were sprinting, they couldn’t run at that intensity for very long, let alone 2+ minutes. Most sprinters struggle to do that for 50 seconds, and most people will start producing lactic acid somewhere around 20-30 seconds during a sprint. So this distance was too long for these ladies to be performing sprints, because they can’t cover the distance fast enough to work at a high enough intensity (or in this case, high enough speed). So I cut the distance down to 200m, and not only did their running times significantly improve, they got leaner, and lost weight. Put some personal in that personal training. You can’t treat all of your athletes like they’re Michael Jordan. You’ve gotta meet people where they’re at!!!
You Focus On Quantity and Not Quality
If you’re performing HIIT properly, you won’t need to invest as much time into your cardio workout as you would if you performed traditional aerobics. For that reason, people may want to focus on the quality of their workouts, instead of just working out for a certain period of time. For example, in a previously mentioned post that quoted a study done by Tremblay, Simoneau, and Bouchard, the researchers found that 20 minutes, 3 times per week of properly performed HIIT workouts had people lose twice as much weight as those that performed aerobic exercise for 1 hour, 5 times per week. But, the researchers also made sure that the participants worked hard enough to produce lactic acid, and make the magic happen. Knowing that you may need to eventually perform more to allow for continued progress, you need to also know that there’s a trade off. If you work hard, it’s usually difficult to do that for long periods of time. If you work long, you will usually want to reduce the intensity, in order to make sure that happens. So, if you aim to perform more intervals, or perform them over a longer duration, you should also make sure that you maintain the quality of each interval by performing at a high enough intensity. One of the ways to do this is by obtaining your resting heart rate (they have apps for this now), and using Karvonen Formula to individualize your target heart rate zone. But you can use it to make sure that your heart rate gets above a certain point when performing each sprint. You can also use it to see how long it takes you to recover. So if you want your heart rate to go above 80% of you max heart rate during the sprints, and rest until it drops below 60%, then you would based your intervals on that intensity, and rest period. And there you have it, your own high quality personalized HIIT cardio workout. As your fitness improves, your heart rate will return to normal, or drop below that 60% of target heart rate faster.