How Much High-Intensity Training Do You Need?

High-intensity training offers many benefits. It also has limitations. We explore just how much HIT work you need to perform at your best.

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Endurance athletes crave intensity. It’s the closest thing we have to instant gratification: chose an interval, grab the bike (or running shoes, etc.), and head out the door or into the Zwift session. An hour later, the work is done and the feeling of satisfaction washes over you.

What’s problematic is that there are few subjects in endurance sports that are more steeped in mystique or misconceptions. There are as many articles suggesting that you’re not doing enough intensity as there are suggesting you’re doing it the wrong way.

So, in this summary episode of Fast Talk, we dive into the science of HIT and dispel some of those myths, correct some of those misconceptions, and give you a more complete understanding of the benefits and limits of high-intensity training.

We’ll start by discussing energetics and energy systems, as a means to explain why we need HIT to adapt. Then we’ll explore its limitations. Finally, we’ll finish with a discussion of the most effective ways to execute HIT, how precise you need to be in that execution, why consistency matters, and the importance of rest periods.

As with our other summary episodes, we’ve pulled in many poignant thoughts and opinions from other coaches, athletes, and researchers. Today, you’ll hear from pro mountain biker Hannah Finchamp, Dr. Stephen Seiler, Dr. Iñigo San Millán, Jim Miller, Sebastian Weber, and Grant Holicky.

Episode Transcript

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