Interval training has been gaining popularity among serious athletes and fitness fans alike due to its many benefits. But what exactly is interval training and how can it help athletes reach their goals?
A. Definition of Interval Training
Interval training, also known as high-intensity interval training (HIIT), is a type of workout that involves alternating short bursts of higher intensity exercises followed by brief recovery periods. The goal of interval training is to help athletes push themselves to reach higher levels of performance and endurance.
B. Overview of the Benefits of Interval Training
Interval training is a great way to get a high-intensity workout in a short amount of time. It also provides a number of health benefits, from improved cardiovascular endurance and increased metabolism to increased fat burning and improved muscle growth. Interval training also helps improve mental focus and coordination as well as helping runners work on form and pacing. With its many benefits, interval training can be a great way for runners to take their endurance and performance to the next level.
Scientific Evidence of the Benefits
A. Improved Running Performance
Interval training has been demonstrated to be an effective way for runners to improve their performance and reach their goals. First and foremost, interval training can help to increase cardiovascular fitness, which is essential for better running performance. In a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, researchers looked at both interval and continuous training in runners and found that those who did interval workouts had improved markers for cardiovascular fitness. In addition, interval training has been found to increase both aerobic and anaerobic performance. When researchers studied the effectiveness of four weeks of interval training, they found that runners improved their aerobic power, meaning they can do more activity aerobically before having to switch to anaerobic activity.
B. Decreased Risk of Injury
Interval training is thought to be a great way to reduce the risk of overuse or repetitive strain injuries due to the high intensity training. A study published in the International Journal of Sports Medicine found that runners who did a program of interval training had fewer overuse injuries than those who engaged in continuous training. This is likely because the high intensity of interval training allows runners to “load” or stress their bodies with workloads that are too high for continuous running. This has a protective effect on the body from developing the same strength and flexibility imbalances that can lead to injury in overused running muscles.
C. Improved Fat-Burning
Finally, interval training has been shown to be an effective tool for improved fat-burning. A report published in the Journal of Obesity states that interval training increases fat oxidation better than steady-state exercise. Not only does interval training burn more fat during the actual workout, it also increases the body’s rate of fat burning hours and even days after the workout is completed. This means that runners who do intervals can enjoy the benefit of improved fat burning during and after the workout, which can help to support their running performance.
Guidelines and Suggested Workouts
A. Guidelines for Creating Interval Training Workouts
Interval training is a great way for runners to boost their performance and improve their endurance. Before you start, make sure to warm up for at least 10 minutes to get your body ready for the workout. It’s also important to incorporate a dynamic stretching routine throughout your workout to keep your muscles loose and prevent any potential injuries. Finally, don’t forget to cool down with stretching and foam rolling after your workout session is over.
Interval training involves alternating between periods of hard effort—typically 90 to 95 percent of your maximum heart rate—followed by periods of rest. Depending on your current fitness goals or race performance, you can switch up the length and intensity of both your hard work and rest intervals. You can even alternate between running, cycling, and stair shutting—the options are endless!
B. Sample Interval Training Workouts
Ready to take your running performance to the next level with interval training? Here are three sample workout plans to get you started.
Short Interval Training: This workout involves 15-20 second sprints followed by 3-4 minutes of steady running during your recovery periods. Do 10-15 rounds of this exercise.
Long Interval Training: This workout involves longer work periods of 90 seconds of hard work followed by 90 seconds of recovery jogging. Do 4-6 rounds of this exercise.
Stairs Interval Training: This workout requires 10 sprints up a stairwell followed by a one minute recovery jog down the stairs. Do 8-10 rounds of this exercise.
Interval training can help to improve running performance and increase your endurance. Just make sure you take the necessary time to warm-up and cool-down, and that you’re choosing the right interval times and exercise intensity for your needs. Give one of these workout plans a try to see how interval training benefits your running!
Overall, the benefits of interval training for runners are numerous. Interval training helps boost metabolism, increase endurance, decrease fatigue, and improve overall performance. With the right balance of speed and rest periods, runners can utilize interval training to increase their overall performance, race times, and general well-being.
In terms of incorporating interval training into a running plan, we recommend beginners to start off with short intervals, manageable intensity, and short breaks in between intervals. As runners get more comfortable, they can increase the length of their intervals, intensity, and duration of breaks. Additionally, it is important to remember that intervals are most beneficial when done regularly, and to ensure adequate downtime for recuperation. Following these general tips and guidelines can help runners realize the full potential of interval training, and in turn, all of the great benefits it offers.