High-Intensity Interval Training

Photo: Scott Draper/Competitor

A Better Way?

Proponents of traditional high-mileage training programs shun HIIT’s “get-fit quick” approach, while advocates of HIIT cite the monotony and injury risk associated with volume-based programs as reasons for adopting a philosophy emphasizing high-quality over high quantity. So who’s right?

The answer is: both.

While HIIT challenges the basic tenets of a moderate-intensity, high-mileage training plan, it should be pointed out that Lydiard, too, went against common convention when he began experimenting with high-volume training in the 1950s. The bottom line is that not every runner can endure the consistent rigors of high-mileage running, nor can they expect to run their best over longer distances on high-intensity interval work alone. The two schools of thought must co-exist and complement one another to some degree. The key is finding the right balance.

“Both [high-volume running and HIIT] are necessary over certain points in training to have a successful program,” Sherry explains. “And that balance runs much deeper than trading out some long runs for HIIT workouts. You’ve got to bring in all the other factors.”

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