Athletes with higher VO2max require shorter recoveries during interval training

There has been a large amount of research looking at the effects of different interval training sessions. Most of this has looked at the effects of factors such as intensity, duration, volume, and recovery periods (active recovery, passive recovery, work to rest ratio etc). Whilst this has given us great insights into how to structure interval training, to maximise the performance benefits, it is not clear whether all athletes gain the same the benefit, from these training sessions e.g. should highly trained and moderately trained athletes, be performing intervals at the same relative intensity, and utilising the same recovery periods. [Read more…]

Passive vs active recovery during interval training

It’s well established that interval training is a great way to improve endurance exercise performance with many coaches putting a lot of thought into the speed, duration and volume of an interval session. However, less thought is often put into the importance of the recoveries between intervals and how this affects the overall intensity of the workout. One ongoing debate is whether the recovery period should consist of passive or active recoveries. The argument often put forward for passive recoveries is that they allow a greater workload to be completed compared with active recoveries – but is this really the case? [Read more…]

Triathlon training: High intensity bike intervals improve cycling and running performance in triathletes

High intensity interval training has been traditionally used as means of improving cycling time trial performance, in fact a large number of research studies have clearly demonstrated improved time trial performance following a period of high intensity interval training. Recent research published in the European Journal of Sport Science (Etxebarria et al., 2013) found that not only do these intervals improve cycling performance, they can also lead to improved running performance with an average improvement of just over 1 minute during a 5km time trial (completed after a 1hour cycle). [Read more…]

Uphill interval training improves 5km running performance

If like me you’re serious about run training then it’s likely that you include regular hill training as part of your training routine. Hill training is a highly specific way to strengthen the muscles used during running, in fact it is probably the most running specific strength workout you can do. Whilst it is clear that hill running has many benefits for runners there has always been a debate as to what is the best type of hill training (long hills vs short hills, 10k pace vs 5k pace hill reps etc). Recent research has looked to shed some light on the effects of different hill running intervals on 5km run performance in a group of well trained runners (Barnes et al., 2013). [Read more…]

The importance of maintaining relative exercise intensity

Anyone who trains seriously knows that as your fitness improves you must increase your exercise workload in order to continue to see improvements. One of the easiest ways to do this is to maintain the same relative exercise intensity during your workout by training to a percentage of maximum effort – normally with the use of a heart rate monitor or perceived effort. [Read more…]