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Interval Running Workouts

Updated on February 28, 2012

All about Interval Running Workouts

Although this is all about interval running workouts let us briefly look at the concept around interval training. Interval training is basically a training program that makes use of intervals which can be more beneficial than training at a single intensity level. The intervals are comprised of short spurts of high intensity activity followed by a lower intensity activity used as a recovery period. The same concept can be applied around running. If you want to learn all about interval running workouts just stick around and read on.

Interval running was found to be good enough for many athletes due to several benefits it can offer. Interval running workouts can help you increase your speed, build your endurance, boost overall metabolism, train you to use anaerobic and aerobic systems, and increase your cardio efficiency.

Increase Your Speed

Interval running workouts can help you in improving your speed and pace by alternating sprints and recovery periods during your training. A lot of times running the same distance at a faster pace will not guarantee that your body will get used to spurts of intensive sprinting. Tweaking the format of your training run can help you get to the next level of things. The training regimen will require you to do sprints at maximum capacity for 30 seconds to about a minute and then you slow down to recover some period of time before raising the intensity again. This is a great way to get your body tuned in to sudden spurts of speed in stages.

Build Your Endurance

If you feel that you’ve got the speed part figured out but are having some difficulty with long distance running, interval running workouts can help you sort that out. You can exploit interval running sessions to condition and build the muscles of your lower body to gain the strength they need to go the distance. Intervals done on hills are the greatest form of training to increase levels of endurance. This kind of training can be carried out on a treadmill or outdoors. For beginners, you can start doing this interval running workout on a treadmill so you can control the steepness of the incline you will be running. It is also highly recommended that you perform running workouts in various rolling hills. You may also opt for fewer hills with steeper inclines. When either exercise is performed it is guaranteed that you will be increasing your endurance levels.

Boost Your Metabolism

Everyone would like to aim to burn both fats and calories when they exercise. With interval running workouts you will be able to attain both with consistency. Often, other forms of exercise will have very minimal effect when it comes to significant and consistent loss of body fats but with interval running workouts, the activity will use up so much energy that your body’s normal reaction is to draw on the fat reserves to refuel and restore muscles. This is commonly known as the after burn effect where your body will continue using energy and burning fat in the process even after you have stopped your activity.

Use Anaerobic and Aerobic Systems

A lot of the workouts that were created are focused on the use of either aerobic or anaerobic system. Interval running workouts work like double barrelled shotguns and use both systems. It works by getting the anaerobic system triggered to provide the oxygen and energy required by your muscles while performing high intensity aerobic exercises. While performing less intense and more moderate activities, the body begins to give back the oxygen owed.

Increase Your Cardio Efficiency

After you start performing interval running workouts regularly, ideally twice a week for at least a month, your body will develop the ability to carry oxygen to your muscles in a more efficient way. Interval running workouts will not only let you become faster and stronger but also a much healthier runner. Moreover, it benefits your body by increasing its tolerance against lactic acid build up and provide you with better lung capacity.

Here is a sample of a beginner’s interval running workout done on a treadmill:

The total time for this workout will be twenty two minutes. You start off with a warm up jog at a pace of 4.5 mph in five minutes. Follow it up with a minute of jogging at a pace of 5.5 mph. Lessen the intensity by dropping the pace to 5 mph for a couple of minutes. Increase the intensity again and run at 5.7 mph for a minute. Allow your body to recover and jog slower at 4.8 mph for the next two minutes. You can increase the intensity once again to 5.5 mph for a minute. Tone down the pace and jog at 5 mph for the next couple of minutes. Increase the intensity once again by jogging at 5.7 mph for the next minute and slow down to 4.8 mph for the next 2 minutes. You can then taper the training off by a cool down run in the last 5 minutes.

There is no hard and fast rule in interval running workouts, what you only need to keep in mind is you have to alternate and intense and moderate activities to work your body and allow it to recover during the same workout session. Now that you’ve learned all about interval running workouts, time to grab your sneakers and run.


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