In this article, you will learn how and why to use interval running in your training plan.
Interval training is one of the most difficult in the entire training process. Interval training should not be included in the weekly plan more than 1-2 times so that the body can “digest” the load.
We recommend using our running split calculator to distribute the correct pace over the course of your race or training session. You can set up a flat pace, or a positive or negative split.
What is interval running
Intervals are short stretches of distance, typically between 200m and 1600m. Interval training is a run that alternates between anaerobic laps and short aerobic laps. Intervals can be measured in different ways: periods (minutes) or distance (meters). The number of fast intervals in each workout, their length, and their speed are calculated individually.
Interval running develops endurance and strength and improves speed performance. If your goal is to learn to run faster and get more endurance, then you can include interval training in your program.
The interval training method is based on repetitions, in one workout you need to complete a certain number of repetitions of each segment. The main goal of interval training is to hold out as long as possible while working at the level of 95-100 VO2 max (maximum oxygen consumption).
VO2 max is the amount of oxygen absorbed by the human body per minute. That is the ability of the body to saturate the muscles with oxygen, which must also process this oxygen well. The higher an athlete’s VO2 max, the more efficiently their body will process oxygen, which is the main source of energy when running long distances.
Important components of interval training are:
- intensity levels;
- interval duration;
- recovery between intervals;
- total running volume for the interval session.
Types of interval training
Interval running can be divided into three types:
- Basic. The speed at which you run intervals in training is equal to the speed at which you plan to run the entire distance in competition.
- Fast. The running speed is much higher than in the first case, and the length of the segment is shorter.
- Long. The segments are longer, the speed of each segment is lower than in the main intervals.
Interval workouts are different, meaning not only the number of segments, their length, and speed, but also the landscape characteristics (running around the stadium, running over rough terrain, running into a short climb).
Basically, interval training is carried out, focusing on the time of running the segment, and not on the pulse. But the pulse values are then taken into account in the analysis of the work performed.
It is important to understand that one interval training will not work. The effect brings only a cycle of interval training for at least a month.
Recovery between stretches is best done with light jogging. Jogging promotes the utilization of lactic acid and keeps the muscles elastic, which is useful for preparing for the next intense session. Active recovery reduces the level of lactic acid in the muscles many times faster than passive rest.