Originally Posted by Chris Salvato
I am currently reading "Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers" by the noted stress psychologist Dr. Robert Sapolsky, Ph. D. I came across this quote that seems to be just another good case for HIIT vs. long distance running...maybe I am taking it a bit out of context but I feel it still applies:
Its something I never really thought of before -- but the increased stress of 40-50 mile runs is downright degrading to the body. It does have proven effects especially in older populations.
If the goal is not to be elite, just to be fit, I think this is another good argument for HIIT vs. ET. HIIT can give you many of the benefits of long distance endurance training (plus some other good benefits) without the negative effects. This means one can run 12-20 MPW at most and not have to worry about the problems associated with severely long run times and thousands of impacts onto the joints from each stride.
I have done the 40 mile per week run thing (I was also biking 200 and swiming a few miles) and I can achieve the same high end fitness (speed over 1.5 miles) with only 3 miles of running per week. It does not take much volume to maintain VO2 max if you keep the intensity high. I did not feel healthy doing all of that mileage. I feel much better with a more balanced fitness program.
12-20 miles per week is PLENTY of mileage for most applications. I would probably recommend more than my 3 miles per week for someone looking to shed some weight but for pure high end fitness, just a handful of miles will do it if you keep the intensity high.