Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Feel the burn with Interval Training

I have love/hate relationship with interval training - I love the results but hate the way that the time during high intensity crawls yet recovery time flies!

Intervals are guaranteed to leave you sweating
like there's no tomorrow but feeling great!

This morning was a 64 minute Threshold session focused on improving endurance at higher speed - I started with a 12 minute warm up at 8 minute mile pace, then did 5 x 6 minute intervals at 7 minute mile pace with a 2 minute recovery jog in between each interval (40 mins total), followed by another 12 minutes at 8 minute mile pace. This isn't an easy session but worth pushing on to get through it. I also tend to do my interval training on the treadmill rather than outdoors simply because you set the pace and you have to stick to it - this is the only time I train on the treadmill as I get bored very quickly.

Interval training is a great way to improve anaerobic and aerobic fitness by combining short bursts of high intensity bursts with slower recovery phases in the same session. During the high intensity bursts, the anaerobic system convers glycogen to energy without using oxygen up until this is depleted, then body reverts back to the aerobic system. The outcome being increased cardiovascular efficiency leading to improved performance thanks too greater speed and endurance.

I do two types of interval sessions -
1) Sprints where I go flat out for 30 seconds then jog to recover for 90 seconds - I repeat this 12 times with a 5 minute warm up and cool down either side. This one asts 30 minutes.
2) Threshold runs with intervals of up to 7 minutes intensity and a 2 minute jog in between - I repeat this 5 to 6 times with a 12 minute warm up and cool down either side.

The Sprint session is much more anaerobic owing to the shorter bursts at higher intensity whereas the Threshold runs combine the aerobic system as the interval is for a longer period. Needless to say, my pace differs for the two sessions. For the 30 second Sprints I do 5 minute mile pace and for Threshold runs I do 7 minute mile pace. Both have their benefits - Sprints are good for speed whereas Threshold is great for endurance.

I have seen huge progress in my fitness since incorporating one interval based session per week - my minute per pace has decreased by at least 30 seconds. You can achieve these results in a relatively short period of time by just adding these type of session to your work out once per week. These sessions will leave sweating and exhausted but feeling great - I guarantee it.