Running — Interval Training

Running: Interval Training

The idea used here is to start to add some short periods of running at a faster pace in your current runs. Keep doing these for a short time, maybe 200-400m, using a landmark ahead — like a bend in the road or a power pole — as a point of reference. Then bring your pace back down to your regular running level, or slow down and start jogging until you get your breath back. Next, go back to your regular running pace, then insert another fast interval burst later on in the run. Using this method puts additional stress on your body, which will eventually cause your speed and anaerobic stamina to improve.

A sort of physical training involving high intensity bursts of work is interval training. Alternating between periods of rest and lower activity then moving into intervals of high intensity work training makes for a high intensity workout.

Any workout that is cardiovascular can be referred to by the term (biking, running, rowing, etc.) This consists of short movements at the almost highest exertion level mixed with intervals of lower movements.

Interval training is a staple in the routines of long distance runners, or those who run more than 800 meters. This sort of training has been also used by soccer players and sprinters.

Distance runners typically interval train on the tracks, running fast at a specific speed for an established distance (or, less typical, time) and jog, walk or rest for a certain distance or time before they start running fast again. Distances may also differ somewhat; an example would be a “ladder” workout consisting of a 1600m, two 1200m, three 800m, and four 400m repetitions, each one with an appropriate speed as well as an appropriate amount of recovery time.

“Walk-back sprinting” is another form of interval training for runners. This involves sprinting for 100 to 800 meters, followed by a recovery period during which the runner walks back to the starting point. This process is repeated a prescribed number of times. If you want to make the workout more difficult, you can add these sprints starting at a specific time interval. For example, Sprint every 3 minutes using this routine: sprint for 200 meters, then turn around and walk back to the starting point, then sprint again. The elapsed time is just enough time to rest.

Coaches love interval training the most since it is effective to build up the cardiovascular system and it is able to make more qualified runners.

Many fitness experts feel that this method of training helps people lose weight more effectively than just training at moderate intensity for the same amount of time. This has been proven at least twice in studies.

Swedes invented Fartlek training and this is a cross between real interval training and normal distance training. This word means ‘speed play,’ and includes distance running “everywhere,” with brief periods of fast running at irregular times, lengths, and rates in comparison to interval training. Not only is this training plan effective, Fartlek instruction can help people prevent injuries that typically come with continuous activities, and lets people be more intense without being overexerted in a few minutes.


-Written By: Phil Thow
Scottsdale, Arizona