Keen to mix up your training and transform your speed? Interval training involves alternating between high and low intensities self-selected by the runner and is an excellent training method for improving power, speed and endurance.
Interval training has numerous benefits specific to runners.
‘Interval training is a very economic use of time allowing distance runners to see improvements in oxygen uptake (VO2 Max) which are often comparable to longer distance sessions,’ says Technogym Master Trainer David Howatson. ‘For gym users time is often at a premium, so a 20-minute interval session is often more attractive and plausible than running for 60-minutes plus.’
‘Secondly, intervals provide variation, mental stimulation and test the neuromuscular system due in part to the changes in acceleration and deceleration during each interval,’ he adds. ‘In turn there may be improvements in control and coordination.’
Although you can do interval training anywhere, treadmill training lends itself well to interval sessions.
‘Using a treadmill allows you to program, perform at and record exact times, speeds and distances meaning that progress can be easily measured and tracked,’ says Howatson.
‘Another advantage of the treadmill is you can record and work at exact speeds, times and distances. Added to that the predictability of the surface and that indoor training is not weather dependent is always a bonus!’
The good news is although interval training sessions are tough, they are over quickly and you don’t have to do them too often.
‘If the session is truly high intensity then the average participant should be unlikely to perform that interval more than twice a week,’ explain Howatson. ‘The rest and recuperation period between sessions is where the adaptation, building of strength and/or weight loss occur, so never underestimate the importance of rest days.’
Another major benefit to interval sessions is the weight loss.
‘During high intensity intervals the body predominantly burns sugars which ticks a huge box when thinking about weight loss,’ says Howatson.
‘Another feature that helps stimulate weight loss is the increased metabolic demand placed upon the body during interval training, meaning the body will continue to use glycogen/sugar stores and ultimately burn calories long after the workout finishes.’
If you’re new to indoor interval training, start by completing a fitness test on the treadmill. ‘Most models, including Technogym treadmills, have tests as part of standard programming,’ says Howatson. ‘Performing a sub-maximal test means that the body’s systems will not be taken to their limit. However, this will provide an estimate of VO2 max and show where your aerobic fitness level is.’
‘With the information from the test coupled with your own knowledge of your speed and general capability, interval training can be set up,’ he adds. ‘Start with a moderate intensity and gradually increase if need-be thereafter. A top tip is to use a heart rate monitor during both the fitness test and interval sessions, as this will provide more information about your fitness levels as well as offering an accurate guide for setting intensity.’
Phil Goulding, Nuffield Health Senior Personal Trainer offers these interval tips for improving speed:-
- Warm up – Jog for 5 minutes at an easy 5/10 effort
- Work interval – Run for 90 seconds very hard 8/10 effort
- Recovery interval – Jog for 3 minutes at an easy 5/10 effort
- Repeat 4x intervals total
- Cool Down – Walk 5 minutes easy
For information about Technogym MYRUN the intelligent home treadmill that gives you instant feedback to help you understand your running style so you can run smarter and more efficiently, visit: www.technogym.com