Wednesday, November 14, 2012

HIIT-ing It At The Right Pace

Last Saturday I managed to show two friends (a husband and wife actually) on how to perform a simple HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training. I've been HIIT-ing for a long time and that worked as a weekly exercise to improve on my speed and lactate threshold. I've never been able to perform any better then but now, with a more positive and healthy outlook due to cleaner and healthier living, the impossible pace is the limit.
What is HIIT?
Perhaps one of the most overused terms in recent years due to the fast results this method of training will provide, many abuses it without knowing the proper way of doing it. That include over-doing the exercise OR doing it half-hearted. Intensity Training is a mainstay of many performance athletes, incorporating it into their workout at most once a week, dedicating a full 100%, some even more than 100% of their effort to make the training worth it's salt.
The Torture Plan
Lets HIIT it.
My HIIT is simple. It covers 5km and you can do two sets or three. But most important is that you put in the appropriate commitment to it. The whole idea of the run is to provide a cycle of short intensity and recovery to build up the heart capability apart from improving your lactate threshold.
The Torture Results
Take note of the run pace corresponding to the distance in the HIIT above. Notice the heart rate escalating as the workout became more intense. I modified my running pace to suit Noor and her husband Ib. But as I could only concentrate on one person, Noor had the opportunity to take it at her own pace, literally. Ib was to take cue from me and to push and chase after me whenever needed.
Second KM. A "faster" pace, but still manageable. Thanks Syukran for the photo.
While we were running, notes we exchanged on running gait, running strides and even hand positions. Many do not realise that if you are running a long distance, it is best that the hand remain below the waist. This way, energy will be conserved better than to be used to swing the arms. 
Starting to get intense
The run started to pick up the pace as we enter into the 4th split aka the faster 800m run. A faster pace, in this case, at 4:49 for Ib, is consider above his normal 5km pace. Myself as a pacer would need to manage the speed limit well as not to burn him out, but to take the best out of him as the workout progress. Like a champion, Ib put in the commitment and pushed ahead.
At KM4.0. The next 400m will be fast. Thank you Syukran for the photo.
One of the good thing about HIIT is that it forces you to concentrate on your running form. This is true when you are already tired and the breathing are moving towards the anaerobic stage. With lactic acid building up fast and heart rate escalating, the feeling will be to stop and give up. This is when you would reap the maximum benefit from the HIIT.
OK. Easy 200m before we blast again. Thank you Syukran for the photo.
The "fast" 200m was done in a 4:23 pace - again something that was "not possible" for Ib as he only used to keeping a 5:00 pace for 1km. But with progressing loading on the speed and a calculated "resting period" or recovery, the body was pushed to a new limit. With the last 100m+100m to go, you will be super tired and your last "sprint" is what will set you apart from the other amateur as you push to the finish line strong.
Pushimus Maximus. 100m. 3:52 pace.
We finished the 5km run in about 26minutes - again, showing it possible that with proper training and progressive (speed) loading, a sub 30-minutes 5km run is very possible, and can be a norm.
The session ended with some talk about healthy living and healthy eating. Obviously the couple and Syukran are very into it - appreciating the finer points that lifestyle diseases are creeping up on everyone due to processed food and unhealthy eating. Small changes need to be made and it is small steps towards a more rewarding health. Many thanks for coming all the way from the other end of Klang Valley. Lets plan for a few more session for our own improvement.
Noor, Ib and Terk. Recover well Terk from your operation!
Nannoor has written a good piece of the HIIT that we had on Saturday. While I am not doing any coaching officially, i see this as a good learning curve for me should i venture into personal training, but that is a long shot away from doing that for a living. :) If you have any questions on HIIT, fire away. I will try my best to accommodate and share my own experiences.


  1. good article, will start this December 2012 ;)
    finding new things as i turn almost half a century

    1. Getting to the big 5-0 in a year's time? Well done sir. let me know if you need more notes on this HIIT. :)