Interval running or interval training is simply (as the name implies) running in intervals at a high rate of speed and low rate of speed (or walking). Running at the higher speeds are typically close to maximum exertion while the lower speeds are for recovery.
Before we move on with interval running, it’s important to understand that before you begin any type of high intensity physical training (such as interval training), you need to establish a “base” of proper conditioning. For runners, if you are not already conditioned (can run steady pace for a good amount of time), intervals could very well cause injury and at the very least, they will not be of great benefit. Without that conditioning, you’re not as likely to push yourself to make this type of training a benefit to you.
What is the purpose of interval running?
Actually, there are quite a few benefits. Let’s start with one that might not seem like much but it can be…
- Fights Boredom
When I started running, the challenge of going further or longer was enough to stave off boredom. But now, when I get on those longer runs, especially on the treadmill, my mind can get stuck on the “how much further…” mindset and the boredom sets in. Mixing in some interval training or interval running is another way to challenge myself more.
- Excellent Fat Burner
Running is a pretty good fat burner by itself, but interval running or interval training makes it an even better fat burning workout. Some research has shown that running intervals can burn as much as three times more fat than steady jogging at a steady pace for twice as long.
- Improves Your Speed and Endurance
Interval running or interval training leads to an increase in cardiovascular efficiency (the ability to deliver oxygen to the working muscles) as well as increased tolerance to the build-up of lactic acid, which is what makes you feel achy after working out. These changes result in improved performance, greater speed, and endurance. Interval running or interval training also helps avoid injuries that are common on endurance type workouts, such as steady state running. Using interval running or interval training as part of your routine allows you to increase your intensity without over training or burning out.
When you “force” your body to run fast for short periods of time, then recover, then run fast again, this trains your body to run at a faster pace overall. It’s a matter of conditioning…
- Time Saver
In today’s fast-paced world we want to put forth less effort and see greater results. Interval training enables you to spend less time running while gaining superior benefit from your routine. A person using interval training or interval running might finish a 60-minute walk in a mere 45 minutes by incorporating short bursts of anaerobic activity.
There are even more benefits to high intensity interval training or interval running which delve in to the scientific area. But let’s not bore you with that here. There are a great many articles and papers on this subject all over the internet. For our purposes (running), what I’ve listed here are enough to make clear the benefits for you to incorporate them in to your training program.
Interval Running and Training Recommended By the Experts
In fact, noted fitness experts Obi Obadike and Jonathan Joseph highly recommend interval training or interval running in their “Accelerate Your Fat Loss” program. I suggest you check them out 🙂