Another great field at the CCC
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), also known as Tabata, has had resurgence within the fitness realm. Among other benefits, HIIT may improve VO2 Max as well as Anaerobic Capacity. I believe HIIT is particularly good for cyclocross training because the efforts mimic the hard punches out of corners, attacks and the first lap of a CX race. HIIT is also beneficial when you have a busy week of “real life” without much time for training.
We use the term “Tabata” when referring to the HIIT workouts. Japanese Professor Izum Tabata incorporated high-intensity intervals when he trained speed skaters. The muscles that are put to work when skating are similar to the muscles used in cycling. Izum Tabata had his speed skaters use exercise bikes for their short interval training.
Tabata intervals should be performed at maximum effort. They hurt, in a good way. Burning legs, a fiery chest and a pukey feeling at the end of a set are all signs that you are doing this right. You may implement Tabata on a hard training day (3-5 sets), or throw in one or two sets on a medium-intensity training day between your Z2-Z3 efforts.
Here is a good go-to Tabata workout, but keep in mind the length of the intervals and recoveries may be adjusted:
Give Tabata a try and I won’t take it personally if you curse me during this particular workout.