Interval Training WILL Increase Your Speed!
As a runner, you will want to find ways to increase your Personal Records (PRs) both in training and come race day. One of the most effective methods to increase your speed is called interval training.
Interval training basically consists of pre-set distances ran at a race pace for the purpose of increasing the output of your legs, lungs, and body. Most active runners set aside 1-3 days per week to do interval training because of its important place in a solid training regimen.
Ideally, you should set at least 1 day aside for this, even if you only run a few days per week. By effectively mixing intervals into your routine, you will find that youll get much more out of your distance or timed runs.
Here are some example interval training workouts, 1 for each level of runner. Beginner:
- Stretch as usual and take a 400m (1/4 mile or 1 lap on a track) warmup jog to get the blood flowing
- Rotate 2 times between 200s (1/2 of 1 lap on a track) and 400s with full recovery in between intervals
- Rotate 2 times between 200s and 400s with 5 minutes recovery time in between
Giving yourself full recovery (return to normal heartrate) will allow you to find a good pace for yourself without burning out early.
Changing to a 5 min recovery near the end will force you to sustain an elevated heartrate as you finish your workoutwhich is meant to simulate the end of a race. A distance of 1.5 miles will allow you to work your way to a longer and more intense workout. Intermediate Workout:
- Stretch as usual and run a 400m warmup lap
- Run 4 quick 50m sprints to get the legs ready
- Rotate 3 times between 400m and 800m intervals with 2 minutes recovery time
- Rotate 3 times between 400m and 800m intervals with 3 minutes recovery time
In this routine, you will add more distance (4.5 miles total) which will buy you more recovery time near the end when youll need the extra rest to push through the tough stretch at the end. Advanced Routine:
- Stretch as normal and follow up with a 1/4 mile warmup jog
- Run 4 50m sprints to get the blood to the legs
- Run 4 Rotations of 400m and 1200m intervals
- For the first 2 rotations, use 3 minute recovery periods. For the second 2 rotations, switch to 3:30 minute recovery times
From this routine, you can advance to more difficult interval runs, such as 1 mile or 5k intervals. However, by depending on your goals you may not need to use longer distances. This routine covers 5 miles on its own, mixing in shorter runs to allow your body to learn how to rest while running. You will eventually learn to use the 400m runs as a rest run (dont cheat yourself) and find your 1200m times improving over the course of a few weeks. Interval training is a fantastic way to improve your stamina for those tough parts of the run when you would normally hit the brakes and slow down. By properly incorporating intervals into your running routine, youll find yourself not only pushing through the tough times in your training, but youll also be amazed by that extra speed you have at the end of a race. Your mile pace will improve dramatically and you will be setting new PRs in no time!