I feel the need for speed – why is interval training important?

The dictionary definition of interval – a break from an activity – may mislead you into thinking this type of training is all about putting your feet up!

Sadly, that’s for rest days, but you’ll at least be pleased to know there are plenty of breaks within a typical workout!

Interval training is all about alternating hi-intensity running bursts with periods of recovery. In simpler terms, repeating bouts of running fast and running slow in a single workout.

So why is interval training so important?

Primarily, it will improve your speed, performance and endurance. Interspersing fast running with slow running helps your muscles work more efficiently at higher speeds and will make your slower, longer runs more comfortable.

And there is another big bonus. When combined with a healthy, balanced diet, interval training is a great way to burn calories and lose weight.

So how do you get started?

I’ll begin with a warning. Interval training may not be for you, just yet. If you’re starting training from scratch, give interval training the elbow for now.

High intensity training gives your heart, lungs and muscles a thorough workout and should only be attempted if you have a good level of overall aerobic fitness. It is advisable to speak to your GP before attempting interval training.

But be sensible. Pick a workout that is in sync with your current ability level. Although many of the workouts will take less time than a standard long run, you will be working extremely hard. Those recovery periods are included for a reason!

Start by trying to fit one interval workout a week into your training schedule. Only experienced runners should consider doing more – and two a week should be the max.

For more information on training and running, head over to our blog!