How to Make Your Own Interval Training Song

Doing intervals on a treadmill or a stationary bike is pretty easy; your time and your speed are kept for you in a nice digital readout in front of you. Then you can change the speed, incline or resistance in perfect intervals.

But what if you prefer running outside? You'd have to be checking your watch as you run, making sure you're running at the right pace and have some sort of distance markers where you're running.

And when I do intervals, I usually do pretty short intervals, so I'd end up having to look at my watch at least 4 times a minute. That can ruin your intensity or be just plain annoying!

Helpful Tip

If the song's only a few minutes long, and you can't get any more intervals out of it, then just reuse the first chunk you made. You can use the same chunks over and over, if you have to, or just use another song with a similar pace/tempo.

How To Solve That Problem

So, why not make a workout song that has segments of different songs in different lengths (the lengths of time for each interval you want to do)? Then you don't need to look at your watch so much, let alone wear one.

First, you'll want to pick out the length of intervals you want to do (how many, in what order and so on). So let's say, just as an example, you want to do 1 minute runs with 30 second walking intervals and you want to do these intervals for 15 minutes (starting with a 30 second walk).

Then you want to pick out your songs, which will match the pace for each interval. For my walking intervals, I like to pick a mellow, softer song to wind me down a little. If I'm jogging at a nice pace, I'll pick a long, drawn-out, upbeat song that's just a smooth jam session. But, if I'm running hard or sprinting, I'll add in a song that's hardcore or really upbeat, something that gets me going.

But when you're choosing music to match the pace of your intervals, listen to the music as you normally would. When you're into the music you'll nod your head at a certain pace; slower songs will have you nodding your head very slowly but a truly fast-paced song will have you almost headbanging. And you'll want to think of these nods in terms of your feet hitting the ground. Each time you nod is a step... so, visualize yourself running or walking to a certain song, based on your head nods, to really sync it with a song's pace that matches your interval pace. And make sure that the songs you choose keep that same pace for pretty much the whole song.

Now, you'll take your first song and cut it into 1 minute chunks (you'll need (10) 1 minute sections); I use Free MP3 Cutter 1.01 for this step. Make sure that the first chunk starts right as the music starts in the song, so that there are no blank pauses at the beginning.

Save your "chunks" as separate files and name (number) each of them so that you know what order to put them in. Then you'll want to cut the other song into 30 second chunks (you'll need 10 sections of this song too). Save the sections as separate files and now you're ready to make your song.

Creating Your Interval Song

Go into the file merging section of the software program you're using. I use Shuangs Audio Joiner to merge my songs.

Now, load in your first 30 second chunk; I start with a walking interval so that, for your last interval, you'll be running across the finish line. Then load your first 1 minute chunk. Then you can load your second 30 second chunk and your second 1 minute chunk, and so on.

Just keep alternating back and forth till you've used up all 10 of each of your "chunks".

Make sure that they're in the right order and then merge your files into one song. Save your file and listen to it to make sure it turned out alright.

If you're satisfied with your song, upload it to your MP3 player or burn it to a CD and go test out your workout song!

Now all you have to do is pay attention to the music playing in your ears as you run. It makes things a lot easier for you during your workout and, depending on your song choices, might actually help you keep a better pace.

You can have fun with this and mix and match your intervals, I just wanted to give you the basic idea with the example above. You can have different lengths of intervals all throughout your workout and use more than two songs; it's all up to you. You can use these songs for any type of interval training; it doesn't have to be running. And, after a while, you'll get so used to when the song switches that you'll know exactly when the next interval change is.

Now go try this out!

Get warmed up, grab a drink and go. All you have to do is push "play" and let the music guide you; it's simple. I've used this method with two different interval workouts of my own so far and I love it.

Alright, stop reading, go make your song and put it to use.

Don't Want to Make Your Own Song? Workout Muse Has You Covered!

© 2007 Ben Guinter

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Has Using An Interval Training Song Improved Your Workouts? 33 comments

Raven Sojourn 8 years ago

Thank you for posting this article. I've been looking online for interval work-outs with music I actually like to listen to. What better way to find what I want than to just make it. Thanks!


sunnyNP 8 years ago

Hi Bendo! Do you know where I could find interval MP3 songs that are alternative/rock? All I can find are techno, and I don't have the access or ability to mix my own....

Thanks for any advice!

Sunny


Beryl 8 years ago

Thank you so much. I am overwhelmed at your generousity. I am on my way to the gym.....


KC 7 years ago

Or go to this website: will only work on iTunes though.....

http://www.active.com/donate/tntntx/jeffwelch


jami 7 years ago

Do you know of any Hip hop interval training CD's?


jami 7 years ago

Bendo, You are very kind. Do you know of a free download that I can use to make my own interval music otherwise that would be wonderful if you made the CD. I am a first timer with the interval training but it sounds great and I think I will do well with it but having good music is key :)


Bendo13 profile image

Bendo13 7 years ago from Colorado Springs, Colorado Author

Hey Jami

The MP3 Cutter software I talked about above is free.. It'll help you chop up your songs and then merge them back together. I usually make it into one long MP3 and then put it on an MP3 player while I workout, but I'm sure you could just burn it to a CD too. If you follow the steps in this blog you should be able to make an interval song with MP3 Cutter. If you need any help, let me know!


Jami 7 years ago

Ok thanks! I'm gunna try it right now :)


preston 7 years ago

I'm trying to make a 45sec. interval CD with a 15sec pause between each 45sec song how do I do that?


Bendo13 profile image

Bendo13 7 years ago from Colorado Springs, Colorado Author

Hey Preston does it have to be a pause? Could it just be maybe a soft song with no words for 15 seconds? Otherwise you might want to record some dead sound and then you can just use 15 seconds of that whenever you merge the files back together.


preston 7 years ago

how do you record dead sound when making a CD


Bendo13 profile image

Bendo13 7 years ago from Colorado Springs, Colorado Author

You'll need to use the sound recorder on your computer, I hope you have a mic. I know PC computers that use Windows come with a sound recorder or you can use something like audacity (it's free) http://audacity.sourceforge.net/. All you have to do is hit record and let it record the sound of nothing.. Just dead air.. Record 15 seconds, save it as an mp3 and then use that for your intervals when you go to merge them into one.


Dan 7 years ago

Hi could you make me two round timer files?

1st: Round bell-1min- quick buzz-1min- quick bell-10sec- quick buzz- 5sec

repeat 25 times with no music

2nd: Round bell-30sec- Qbuzz-30- Qbuzz-30- Qbuzz-30- Qbuzz-30- Qbuzz-30- Quick bell-10sec- Qbuzz-5sec

repeat 25 times with no music

Regards Dan


Bendo13 profile image

Bendo13 7 years ago from Colorado Springs, Colorado Author

Hey Dan, I don't really know what you mean or where I would get those sound effects. I stopped making the intervals songs for people, it's pretty time consuming and I'm focusing more on my Dynamic Plateau Training site.. Sorry!

You can easily make the song you want with the software above if you can find the sound effects and record some dead air.


Dan 7 years ago

Thanks for taking the time to reply.


DavidH 7 years ago

I thought this site was about musical intervals: major thirds, minor 6ths, and so on. :(


Bendo13 profile image

Bendo13 7 years ago from Colorado Springs, Colorado Author

Ahh I'm sorry David H.. didn't try to mislead you


Roland 6 years ago

Hehe, yeah, searching for 'interval training music' and the like leads to music theory stuff most of the time. Pretty annoying if one is looking for the sport thingy.

To automatically generate interval music files this software turned out to be pretty useful:

http://www.retorte.ch/tools/interval_music_composi...

However, the tracks are ordered completely random and you can only alternate between music and silence. Still, if you want an individual timed interval training music track and don't mind having silence in some phases, it's quite neat.


Bendo13 profile image

Bendo13 6 years ago from Colorado Springs, Colorado Author

Yeah it's hard to find a good free software program to make your intervals.. that seems to be an OK option.

I'm working on getting a programmer to make me some software for this.


anuradha shastry 6 years ago

http://www.active.com/donate/tntntx/jeffwelch

this link is not working anymore :(

i thought this was pretty cool - takes the entire playlist and inserts a ding (or whatever) where ever we want in the interval. can anyone help??


Bendo13 profile image

Bendo13 6 years ago from Colorado Springs, Colorado Author

Anuradha, the link seems to work to me but their software is pretty confusing... Seems like a decent idea though if you can get it to work how you like.


Lima Alfa 5 years ago

This worked beautifully ~ Thank you for all the good info.


Bendo13 profile image

Bendo13 5 years ago from Colorado Springs, Colorado Author

You're welcome Lima Alfa... I'm glad you got it to work!


Gillian Clark 5 years ago

Does this work with itunes? I can't seemto get it to work. I click on 'Open MP3' then got to 'Music', then to itunes, when I click on album, it says 'no items match your search'. If I go direct to itunes, all mu music is there. Eek, help?!

Thankyou, Gill x


Bendo13 profile image

Bendo13 5 years ago from Colorado Springs, Colorado Author

You have to have the actual MP3 file to be able to get this to work. So find out where the MP3 is on your computer and then you'll be able to do this.

iTunes is just like a library and you add your MP3's to a list so that you can listen through iTunes or add them to your iPod, but it's not physically on iTunes; it's on your computer in a folder somewhere.

So search your computer for the names of the songs or the artist name and it should pop up.


andybill1966 5 years ago

Check out MyDigitalCoach from www.mp3training.net


Bendo13 profile image

Bendo13 5 years ago from Colorado Springs, Colorado Author

Looks like a decent way to go about things, Andy... I'd prefer the song tempo changes over beeps though.


Leptirela profile image

Leptirela 5 years ago from I don't know half the time

Good hub :)

Informative and useful

I'm happy to follow you


Bendo13 profile image

Bendo13 5 years ago from Colorado Springs, Colorado Author

Glad I could help, Leptirela!

Happy to have you as a reader!


Joao Brito 5 years ago

Hi Bendo, great idea! I have been searching for an interval timer application for my (quite old) palm centro, with little success. Now your idea of an interval training song is great, not only better than a timer but also (what's the word...) happier (?), something that gives more enthusiasm, well, cheerier(?). Besides, I can run with a much lighter mp3 player, instead of the palm, which is quite heavy.

I must admit, I'll spend some time building the tracks, because my training has different intervals for each day, but I think it's worth it.

Tks a lot.


Bendo13 profile image

Bendo13 5 years ago from Colorado Springs, Colorado Author

Glad you like the idea, Joao Brito! It does take a little work to put the tracks together but it's so worth it... makes your workouts a breeze!


Nqoh 5 years ago

Thank u so much 4 this post! Wow, my workouts are gonna b so much fun now :-)


Bendo13 profile image

Bendo13 5 years ago from Colorado Springs, Colorado Author

Glad I could help give you some new ideas, Nqoh! I'm using interval songs myself lately and it makes running so much easier and it is pretty fun!

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