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Thoughts on HIT-type training vs. CTS Endurance work for TT(6 posts)

Thoughts on HIT-type training vs. CTS Endurance work for TTIM Walt
Jan 20, 2004 9:30 AM
I'm getting ready for my first season of TT'ing. I've been doing mostly long-distance tri's including a couple Ironmans.

I've been reading up on Chris Carmichael's training philosophy, where he has you do a LOT of very low HR work early on to build endurance. That's tough to do here in Central NY during the winter. 3+ hours on the trainer a couple time/wk just doesn't agree with me. Plus, I imagine I have a pretty good aerobic engine from Ironman prep.

Then I have a couple books by Arnie Baker, and he recommends a lot of High Intensity training (HIT).

I have been using a mix of both, leaning a bit more toward the HIT side, mixing in more easy weeks than Baker usually calls for.

Anybody have thoughts on the two different approaches to training? It's hard to argue with Lance's results with Carmichael, but not everybody has Lance's talent or his available time to train.
I think you're going in a good directiondctrofspin
Jan 20, 2004 10:20 AM
I'm doing the CTS program as we speak, including using the online coaching. I too questioned the base mile training at first and did some investigating.

First, building the aerobic base is also found in other training programs, especially for marathon runners, there's no question it's a sound idea. But I couldn't hack three hours on the trainer during the cold months, so I asked the coach if we could vary the program. What we came up with sounds similar to what you are doing. We've been keeping with endurance riding, but we've been putting in more muscle tension intervals and fast pedal intervals as time goes on. I'm still having to put down 90-120 minutes per session, but the intensity and length of the intervals has been going up each week. Given that I was a distance runner prior to picking up cycling last year, the coach felt we could forego some of the base mile training. Sounds like you've got a great fitness level already, so maybe this will work for you as well. As you said, it's hard to argue with the results of LA, but then again at 37-years-old, I don't really plan to run in the TDF!

Hope that helps...good luck with the TTs!
www.timetrial.orgTime Trial dot org
Jan 20, 2004 9:55 PM
lots of articles here, should be of help:

Gary Tingley
re: Thoughts on HIT-type training vs. CTS Endurance work for TTJohnStonebarger
Jan 21, 2004 7:39 AM
There's actually a lot of evidence that high-intensity work does more to build fitness and endurance than the more traditional "endurance workout." There may not be any harm to the lighter work load, but, assuming adequate rest and recovery, hour for hour high-intensity will get you better results. Check out
re: Thoughts on HIT-type training vs. CTS Endurance work for TTJon Billheimer
Jan 21, 2004 3:05 PM
The problem with doing low intensity, high volume base training exclusively is that one can detrain lactate threshold significantly. Coaching science thinking is increasingly toward maintaining some intensity during the winter to prevent this. A rule of thumb seems to be to maintain about 10% of your weekly training time in Zone 4 work, then gradually increasing it during your build periods in the Spring.

I've personally found HIIT training effective as a way to peak early in the racing season. It seems to shock the body out of its rut and increase both LT power and VO2 max. Stuart Dangerfield in Great Britain does a lot of HIIT training and it's paid off for him. See the article on high intensity training at
Thanks for the thoughts, guys.IM Walt
Jan 27, 2004 9:20 AM
Over the last couple years, I have tried to keep higher intensity work in my schedule year-round. I try to take more easy weeks now that I am well above 40 YO, and it seems to work welll. My Ironman coach ( is a proponent of more quality and less quantity training. The toughest part is frocing myself to make the easy days easy.