T Nation

Hiit Sprinting vs Steady State


#1


I have been having a problem understanding how HIIT works and if I am doing it correctly. I know that in order to get the after burn effect from sprinting I have to have a high EPOC, after all the high EPOC is what makes HIIT sprints more effective than steady state cardio.

Turns out I have a much higher EPOC from steady state cardio session (4.5 km jog) 121 it is much higher than my sand hill sprinting session EPOC 73 (according to my ambit watch). My resting heart rate stands at 71 beats per minute I have always had a natural high resting heart rate.

So I wanted to know what I am doing wrong and how to fix it?


#2

Essentially you are running at such a high % of your max HR during the steady state run that your EPOC is higher than you can achieve during a HIIT session. Most people can only run for 20 minutes straight at slightly above their lactate threshold. It’s not precise but this is often around 80% of HR max, up to 90% for highly trained runners. If you’ve gone balls out for 20 minutes, have a very high max HR or are fairly unfit you can probably keep your HR as high as you have for 20 minutes straight during a steady state run.

The problem for your HIIT session is that you are not getting your HR high enough during the sprint portion of the session to outweigh the drop during the rest portions. This could be due to running on sand which limits your speed (even though more force is required to run in sand, your limbs move slower reducing the requirement for ATP) or you are simply not running hard enough during the sprints or your rest period is too long.

In general most people are able to elevate their HR during HIIT sessions higher than they can during steady state running. If you can’t, you will continue to find that steady state training produces a higher EPOC for you.


#3

Unless I’m reading it incorrectly it looks like your arm band is wrong. Is that saying that in steady state session you had a heartrate of 190?. If so then you’re doing steady start cardio for aerobics wrong, it should be much lower.


#4

So the problem is that my hill sprinting session wasn’t hard enough meaning my high interval heart rate should be higher? Because 190 BPM is Suppose to be high enough also I am 22 so my max heart rate should be around 198 give or take plus how is it that I’m in HIIT red zone for about 20 minutes straight aren’t I supposed to be able to keep being in that heart rate zone for only a couple of minutes?


#5

[quote]eg14 wrote:
So the problem is that my hill sprinting session wasn’t hard enough meaning my high interval heart rate should be higher? Because 190 BPM is Suppose to be high enough also I am 22 so my max heart rate should be around 198 give or take plus how is it that I’m in HIIT red zone for about 20 minutes straight aren’t I supposed to be able to keep being in that heart rate zone for only a couple of minutes?[/quote]

Rule of thumb, Max HR=220 - Age

For you 198

For HIIT, you should go to 50-60% on your low effort. You graph shows you are not there. Not in enough good shape or not taking the time to recover or etc. Your top end is fine. Another rule of thumb for HIIT is 2:1 ratio. that means (for example) 30 secs high end, 15 secs low end. Anywhere between 3 and 10 sets, plus warm up and cool downs.

For SS, max of 70% is the “norm”. For you, max of 138 bpm, yet, you are at 182. You need to slow down.

For your “I have higher BPM” premise, you are correct that it is individual. But, it has nothing to do with your graph numbers. Your premise is wrong due to the fact that you are using elevated numbers for your SS.

Cheers


#6

how is it you think you can measure EPOC when the values shown are for during exercise? EPOC means POST-exercise oxygen consumption so i dont see how you can tell by only looking at values during exercise.

also i agree with what someone above me said that these values probably are not very accurate, i dont think anyone can maintain 90-95% of HRmax for 20 minutes straight


#7

Those that are suggesting that you slow down during the study state run may not have seen the distance that you did during the steady state. 4.5km in just under 22 mins is close to 5 min per km. That’s already slow enough, any slower and you’ll be shuffling or walking. The truth is that your average HR for a fairly slow run was at 90% of your theoretical max.

This suggests to me that you are simply unfit and therefore any running that you do, be it steady state or HIIT will be beneficial to your running fitness and also weight loss.

To the poster above who suggested that EPOC can’t be determined while exercising, EPOC has been modelled and predicted using HR data during exercise. More info here http://www.firstbeat.com/userData/firstbeat/download/white_paper_epoc.pdf
The accuracy of this model however is only ~80%. Much of the data that is obtained from various training technology is based on models and therefore contains an inherent error. You really just need to decide whether or not you can accept that error when using the data.


#8

[quote]dicko6 wrote:
Those that are suggesting that you slow down during the study state run may not have seen the distance that you did during the steady state. 4.5km in just under 22 mins is close to 5 min per km. That’s already slow enough, any slower and you’ll be shuffling or walking. The truth is that your average HR for a fairly slow run was at 90% of your theoretical max. This suggests to me that you are simply unfit and therefore any running that you do, be it steady state or HIIT will be beneficial to your running fitness and also weight loss.
[/quote]

Doesnt matter the distance. He is running to fast for LSD. And yes, he is unfit.


#9

20 minutes isn’t LSD training though, it fits within Lactate Threshold guidelines. Funnily enough given that Lactate Threshold is usually achieved between 80-90% of max HR, the OP is probably only running slightly above that, which is certainly possible for 20 minutes.

Anyway, regardless of whether the 20-22 minute run was LSD or lactate threshold, the assumption of a few is that he should be running slower. My question to that is, why? He’s asked about EPOC and indicated that “afterburn” or fat loss as a result of a higher EPOC is a concern.

HIIT basically works as a fat loss mechanism because it is inefficient in that you expend more energy than would normally be required to produce the amount of work (running distance in this case). The problem with HIIT for unfit people is that they’re inefficient anyway and can get a similar or better result from just doing steady state work. Whether or not HIIT or steady state is more enjoyable is another matter entirely.

If he’d asked “What is the best way to train to improve running endurance?” then I’d agree that LSD training, emphasising the long and slow(er) parts plays a significant part. But trying to tell him that he should slow down during LSD training when he hasn’t posted a session outlining LSD training in any shape or form just creates further confusion.


#10

I am apperantly not fit enough to do hiit because there is no way after sprinting for 30 seconds being on my high heart rate interval (190) above 90% of my max heart rate I can recover down to my 50-60% max heart rate in just 15 seconds. If I enjoy sprinting more should be done 2:1 ratio when my heart rate is still pretty high when I’m resting or should it be as much as I feel I need?(usaully about 160 BPM)


#11

[quote]dicko6 wrote:
Those that are suggesting that you slow down during the study state run may not have seen the distance that you did during the steady state. 4.5km in just under 22 mins is close to 5 min per km. That’s already slow enough, any slower and you’ll be shuffling or walking. The truth is that your average HR for a fairly slow run was at 90% of your theoretical max. This suggests to me that you are simply unfit and therefore any running that you do, be it steady state or HIIT will be beneficial to your running fitness and also weight loss.

To the poster above who suggested that EPOC can’t be determined while exercising, EPOC has been modelled and predicted using HR data during exercise. More info here http://www.firstbeat.com/userData/firstbeat/download/white_paper_epoc.pdf
The accuracy of this model however is only ~80%. Much of the data that is obtained from various training technology is based on models and therefore contains an inherent error. You really just need to decide whether or not you can accept that error when using the data.[/quote]

Well I’m not saying I am in great shape but I didn’t go all out during the steady state session plus I did a different staedy state session that I did go all out I ran 3 km for 12:09 minutes so my is pace 4:03 min per km. I didn’t record this session on my watch though. Does this mean I am good enough shape for HIIT sprints?


#12

[quote]eg14 wrote:

Well I’m not saying I am in great shape but I didn’t go all out during the steady state session plus I did a different staedy state session that I did go all out I ran 3 km for 12:09 minutes so my is pace 4:03 min per km. I didn’t record this session on my watch though. Does this mean I am good enough shape for HIIT sprints?
[/quote]

3km in 12:09 fits in well with 4.5km in 21-22mins. Blood lactate rises in an exponential manner (while it’s not lactate itself which causes fatigue it is a decent proxy) so what feels mildly uncomfortable after 20 mins will feel like pain and suffering after 30-35 mins. 4min per km is doable for YOU up to a certain distance, then it progressively feels harder and harder until you feel like you’re running in cement. Similarly just under 5min per km feels ok for longer but eventually if the pace is above your lactate threshold, which it appears to be for you, you will have to slow down. This is part of the misconception regarding LSD or jogging for aerobics as I saw above.

Yes, if you want to run for a longer time, over an hour say, you will need to run relatively slowly (below your lactate threshold) and therefore your HR will be much lower. This type of running can be done every day or more and it will build endurance and will result in WEIGHT (both muscle and fat) loss. This is part of why it gets such a bad rap in the strength training world.

A 20 min run at slightly above lactate threshold is a completely different session though. At a certain level of fitness you can’t really do it every day without stagnating but there are plenty of good runners who perform similar sessions a couple of times a week (pure strength athletes is a completely different story). As your watch data shows, this type of session can be equally or more effective than HIIT in generating EPOC.

[quote]eg14 wrote:
I am apperantly not fit enough to do hiit because there is no way after sprinting for 30 seconds being on my high heart rate interval (190) above 90% of my max heart rate I can recover down to my 50-60% max heart rate in just 15 seconds. If I enjoy sprinting more should be done 2:1 ratio when my heart rate is still pretty high when I’m resting or should it be as much as I feel I need?(usaully about 160 BPM)
[/quote]

Don’t get your panties in a bunch over the unfit comment, similarly understand that HIIT is not the be all and end all. What do you want out of your training?

If it’s to maximise EPOC as a proxy for fat loss then you just showed that Lactate Threshold training is possibly more effective for you. If you want guidelines regarding HIIT because you enjoy it more, then it may help to think about the physiology of EPOC. Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption is maximised by using anaerobic energy pathways during exercise. The more energy you produce via these pathways, the higher EPOC you will create. Therefore you need to get yourself well above your lactate threshold for as long as possible during the session. Using times that you’ve presented it could be via 1km repeats in 4:00 with 2 min recovery or a MAS type session such as 15s hard, 15s easy where you do 70m during the hard and 40m during the easy. You’ll need to take a 2 min break every 6-8 mins for this type of session. If you want to do it without running, then there’s about a million examples on this site and dare I say it, most crossfit met cons fit the bill as well.

Track your sessions and see what specific protocols are working but remember to keep progressing. Also remember that this type of training is demanding and if done every day will result in stagnation fairly quickly. Other types of sessions can help you look better, run further, get stronger etc. so really it depends on why you want to train.


#13

I had the same thing when I was your age. I could do steady state cardio at a very high heart rate. Once I hit 27-28 my heart rate matched up better with the averages. I bet your heart rate range just doesn’t match up with the technology. I’m pretty sure that was my situation.