Sprints at the maximum performance limit are no walk in the park. But the effect is eye-catching: With high-intensity interval training, endurance athletes can not only become faster, but also increase their endurance.
High-intensity interval training is a relatively new form of training that has gained in importance in recent years. High-intensity simply means: full speed ahead. Whether on the bike, in running shoes, on cross-country skis. High-intensity interval training has less to do with the sport and more to do with the intensity and duration. After about 40 seconds, the suffering is over; depending on your level of performance and training form, it can be over in as little as 10 seconds. No matter how short or long you’ve struggled, one thing no one is safe. After a few minutes, you have to start again. This is the only way to turn high-intensity training into high-intensity interval training. Every load is followed by a phase of recovery, but not complete recovery. This is the prerequisite for interval training, regardless of the intensity. This is the only way to provide an effective training stimulus.
In the case of the high-intensity interval, this is a stimulus to which science attributes astonishing performance increases. In a nutshell: The organism is animated to optimize its entire energy supply by the briefly extremely high load. And it does this not only in anaerobic combustion, but also in aerobic, fat-burning. And thus high-intensity interval training can bring improvements not only in the intensive range, but also in the basic range.
High-intensity may sound threatening even to an amateur athlete. But sports scientists reassure. Overtraining is mainly caused by an increase in volume. The increase in volume leads to changes in metabolism and hormone release. High-intensity interval training, on the other hand, leads to fatigue, but for well-trained athletes with a solid musculoskeletal system, two such training sessions per week are harmless.
Experience shows: It’s worth breaking out of the basics rut every now and then. You don’t have to be afraid of the strain. And although ex-professional cyclist Steffen Wesemann called his high-intensity interval training “vomit program”: He never really had to throw up.