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Discussion Starter #1
For a decade or so it's been known that high intensity exercise increases production of Growth Hormone. One study showed that just 30 second bursts of intense (maximum) effort raises Growth Hormone production by over 500% in young adults.....the boost isn't quite as good as you get older, but when you get older you really do need all you can get.

Anyway, benefits of growth hormone include:

- increased lean body mass / fat loss
- faster healing
- firmer skin, fewer wrinkles
- improved athletic performance
- increased energy

Basically it's the hormone that keeps everything functioning so well when you're young...the hormone that pretty much dries up and makes life so difficult as you get older!!

I'm interested in finding the best way to maximise growth hormone production. As always, lots of research, ideas and conflicting advice out there. Interested in what others think works best (obviously directing this that feel the benefits of this kind of training - I do FEEL all the above benefits when I do hill sprints, but they take a lot out of you and I wouldn't want to do them more than once a week.

Here's an article with a suggested (less taxing than hill sprints) approach to get the ball rolling:

http://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2010/12/24/a-fountain-of-youth-in-your-muscles.aspx
 

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Each to their own, I love hill sprints\reps. I always feel great afterwards.

I'm not convinced but this HIIT stuff personally.
 

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When I first got back into running I used to run for 25 mins over hilly heathland during the dinner break three times a week. The last five minutes were fast with a lung bursting sprint over the last quarter mile. I was not deliberately HIIT training I knew nothing about the theory of it at the time the fast running I did was out of sheer frustration of my breathlessness, after suffering from asthma for the last few years my VO2 max must have been at rock bottom.

I did my first 10k in a comfortable 57 mins and looking back it must have been the total of just 15 mins a week of the hard running I did during my 25 min runs that had most effect. Since retiring I have increased the volume and stopped this high intensity stuff but it will be worth having a second look at it, to quote an Americanism it seems 'you get a bigger bang for your buck'.


As you say when we get older we need all the help we can get last November I injured my foot and had two months of no running, I'm back training now but I was surprised at how much fitness I've lost and how long its taking to get it back. When I was young I could quickly come back after injury, its the recovery from training which seems to take longer.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
OldBoy, out of interest, what kind of sports did you do when you were younger? How did you train?

I did martial arts for most of my adult life. It was very high intensity training - lots and lots of repetitions of full-body-effort techniques at maximum speed. Sets of ten. I can honestly say that I got fitter, stronger, more flexible and with BETTER recovery as the years passed (so from around 20 to 42 years old). When I had a couple of half-hearted attempts at running during those years I did really rather well on next to no running training (as much as half marathon distance).

Of course, the martial arts wasn't all good. I trained myself to move in such unnatural ways that it caused joint problems and muscle imbalances that forced me to give up. Now (4.5 years later the joint problems are better and I've been back running for about a year and a half. But getting nowhere fast (compared with 'the martial arts days'). I still do find I get much better results on high intensity training, but it's VERY difficult building up tolerance for it once you've let things go. I am getting there though. Based upon research such as this and even the government guidelines I've made it a priority to do 2 days strength (weight) training, two high intensity running sessions and build from there. So mileage is cut right back from my previously low level until I'm able to tolerate more. So the complete opposite of typical advice to build an endurance base first. It seems I need a speed/strength base in order to tolerate endurance....and again a lot of this research explains why!


I've always felt that hill sprints (so flat out sprints taking around 15 - 20 seconds) with jog back down recovery worked some kind of magic. Huge fitness gains, better recovery, feeling young and full of energy, etc I guess it's down to Growth Hormone.

I can't yet manage three RUNNING speed sessions at the level of intensity required to get the desired results. So, I've been using the cross trainer and that works well and doesn't hammer muscles and ligaments in the same way as running despite using similar muscle action. I do a 10 minute warmup then set the resistance to maximum for 30 second bursts and max out on speed. Recoveries of 90 seconds. It feels good - like the hill sprints so I think it's hitting the right spot. It doesn't seem to interfere with recovery from running and weights at all.
 

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This is a bit long but I though I should add some details :)

I started cycling at the age of 22 although I used to like running at school I thought I was too short to be any good at it until I won a small village fête fun run so I changed sports. Road races were few and far between in the 1960's so I concentrated on the 5000 metres track running. This was the longest event for the track league, I did't have any natural speed for the shorter distances.
I was training five times a week but improved when I reduced it to three with one day interval running 400 s in a few seconds faster than my 5000m PB, second day a five mile tempo run and the third day a run to work with a longer slow run home of 7 miles in about 45 mins. The faster runners in the club did more than this they could recover much faster than me. I did think at the time that enyone who could recover quickly from training could therfore do more and improve more.

I retired from running in 1978 at age 33 to start college, also had persistent sciatica and was no longer getting faster. I was disappointed that with all the years of training I only achieved a best of 16:32 for the 5000m and just under 30 mins for 5 mile these were average times in those days with me finishing half way down the field on track and road. The only exception was the one and only mile track race I did in which I came second in a time of 4:51 out of a field of 21, anything less than 5000m and I would normally finish right at the back of the field.

In 1982 I read in the local paper that Basingstoke was to have its first full marathon with just several weeks to go I started training again it was't going to be a fast at this short notice but I think the idea of running just for fun started about this time. I finished in about four hours. In 1983 the marathon was to be run again and with a few more weeks notice I was able to get my time down to 3:40. For 1984 I intended to get down to some serious training and try to get a good time but the event was cancelled for good.

Over the next few years I just did the odd 'fun run' of 10k or a half until 1987 when I was working for Mars Electronics as Mars were sponsoring the London marathon I had the offer of a place in the Mars team. With six months notice I hoped to get in good shape and with the previous marathon experience knew that just running the distance was the hardest bit so decided that I would do just two long runs a week and spend the rest of the week recovering. It was all rather laid back with just a small increase in distance each week until I got up to 18 miles before a two week taper. I had no injury during this six months.

The marathon was a disaster I hit the wall at mile 19 and from there on it became more and more painful until I crossed the line in something like 4:05, can't remember the exact time I was that disappointed. But during the taper I did a half in an easy 1:34 two weeks before and an easier 10k a week before in 42 mins I did't think much of it at the time but I've often wondered what I could have done if I had hammered it round and this was on two slow runs a week! I did intend to take up running again as a veteran runner which started then at forty but my recovery from the marathon took weeks by which time I had forgotten all about it.

It was not until my sixtieth birthday that I decided to have one last go at running before I got too old but I was now an asthmatic and had suffered with high cholesterol and blood pressure. After several months of running on the treadmill and then the road I gave up I was so out of breath with the asthma I was convinced my lungs had had it. Then after a very bad asthma attack I was prescribed a different steroid inhaler which made a big difference which enabled me to have another go at running, it took some time plus injurys but that was four halfs and several 10k's ago now.

My training now is similar to what it was years ago with interval, hill running, long runs or tempo but changing it to for the next race such as for the last race which was a hilly half I did just long runs and hills. But with the latest research it might be wise to change it rather than sticking to what I did some forty years ago.


If I had included a lot more of the details I would of written an autobiography - Autobiography of an Unknown Runner - I don't think anyone would buy it though :lol:
 

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Discussion Starter #6
It's funny how we gauge how fast or slow we are based upon who we mix with. Probably the best way to improve our perception of how fast we're running is to simply hang out with couch potatos! LOL Your times sound great to me!

I'll be very interested to hear how you get on with any new approaches you try.
 

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Don't know the secret but Sheila Carey has certainly found it.
From placing 4th in the Olympic 800m in the 1968 Mexico she won both the British Orienteering Sprint and Middle distance W65 titles at the weekend and she's still banging out 5km Park Races in around 22mins! Phenomenal running!
Sheila at the Olympics
sheila carey.jpg

On the podium at York this weekend (pic courtesy of Robert Lines)
w65 middle distance winners.JPG
 
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