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Mackenzie Lobby Friday, 18 November 2011 11:24 TWEET COMMENTS 8

Trade LSD for Speed

Get out of your comfort zone to run faster

Trail runners are notorious for their addiction to LSD: Long, Slow Distance. After all, logging lots of miles ...

Photo by Kevin Steele

Trail runners are notorious for their addiction to LSD: Long, Slow Distance. After all, logging lots of miles within your comfort zone seems like the best way to enjoy a day out on the trails. It turns out that premise may not always be true.

A recent study out of the UK polled runners on their emotions following two different types of workouts: a 50-minute run at a moderate pace and an interval workout. Unsurprisingly, the runners reported the interval workout to be more difficult. Interestingly, they also ranked it significantly higher in the enjoyment scale. In addition to an increase in running satisfaction, interval training can make you a stronger runner.

Numerous studies have shown that the effects of traditional high-volume endurance training can be stimulated more efficiently with just a small amount of high-intensity interval training. In fact, research conducted by the Exercise Metabolism Research Group in Ontario tested this theory on cyclists in a lab. These athletes were instructed to do six sessions of sprint interval training over two weeks, with one to two days rest in between to help promote recovery. Each session had the cyclists doing between four to seven "all-out" 30-second Wingate tests with a four-minute recovery period between each.

The Wingate test is one of the most reliable measures of peak anaerobic power, anaerobic fatigue and total anaerobic capacity. After just six sessions over a two-week period, the athletes had significantly improved performances by increasing muscle oxidative potential and endurance capacity.

While long miles at a moderate pace remains a vital part of any endurance training plan, many experts recommend incorporating regular interval training for its effects on skeletal and muscle adaptations and exercise capacity. So, you may find that trading some LSD for speed will pay off as you race through mud, rocks and roots.


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