11 Jun 2014

Interval training, a must for reaching greater heights as a runner

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Image “If you ever want to be a successful runner, you have to consider everything.” (Arthur Lydiard) All the more reason that just running more or longer simply doesn’t cut it in today’s ever growing popularity with running. Well, you must be asking, what am I supposed to do instead?   It is time for us to understand and implement the benefits of “Interval Training”.

 Interval training is defined as training in which an athlete alternates between two activities, typically requiring different rates of speed, degrees of effort. The University of Western Ontario, showed that with just six weeks of sprint interval training participants elicited jumps in VO2 max, running performance and lower heart rates as compared to regular endurance training.“You can train all the energy systems with interval training, including stamina, threshold, strength and improve your mental discipline” (Ken Rickerman). When you have the chance to get more bang for your buck, why wouldn’t you consider ramping up the intensity occasionally?

 Let’s put interval training into practice. Training intensity should follow the widely cited rule for endurance athletes, which is to do 80% of your training below your lactate threshold and 20% at or above it. In more simplistic terms, your lactate threshold is the intensity at which lactic acid begins to build up in your blood stream. As runners world puts it and I agree, “it’s all about pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, but generally at a controlled pace”.

Examples of implementing interval training into common mileage distances:

  • 1 mile: .25 @ 4mph / .25 @ 4.5mph / .25 @ 5mph / .25 @ 4mph
  • 3.2 miles: 1mile @ 5mph / .50 @ 6mph / .25 @ 6.5mph / .25 @ 7mph / 1mile @ 6mph / .20 @ 5.5mph

  • 6.0 miles: 2miles @ 4.5mph / 1mile @ 5.5mph / 2 miles @ 4.5 / 1 mile @ 6mph

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