Interval Run

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What is interval training running

Running is a fantastic cardiovascular workout that is essential to fitness training. Furthermore, you can do it almost anywhere and needs little machinery.

The negative? Conventional distance running takes much time and rarely includes sprints of greater intensity.

People who want to make significant gains in fitness but lack time to devote to longer runs will find that interval running is an ideal answer. Those who desire a more intense workout than the standard long, slow jog finds interval running appealing.

How do you perform interval running?

You’ll begin by jogging for a few minutes to warm up before beginning your interval training. Most exercises comprise short bursts of high-intensity running, followed by jogging, strolling, or even resting intervals.

As you run at intervals, your body cannot physically maintain the high-intensity speed for over 30 minutes. The lower intensity rate gives your body a moment to recover before the next intense exercise pace.

Each interval takes 10–60 seconds to go from high to low intensity. “Duty cycles” are what coaches refer to as these.

Your specific fitness objectives, conditioning level, and available workout time will influence how long each duty cycle lasts. It also influences how much time one spends in every cycle at a high intensity compared to low intensity.

The work-rest ratio refers to the ratio of high intensity to low intensity. It is a crucial factor in creating interval training plans for runners.

You can spend more time running at greater intensities because of how you structure your interval running plans. The higher intensity, more muscle fibers get worked on during shorter, faster jogs.

Interval Training Running
Source: / Gary Butterfield

Aerobic versus anaerobic training

People use “aerobic” and “anaerobic” to talk about energy systems and how the body’s cells make energy. But how do they differ?

Every action we take involves the creation of energy. You can accomplish it in three ways: one involving oxygen and two others not involving it.

Aerobic, which means “with air,” describes how the body uses oxygen to produce energy. Usually, this refers to any workout that lasts more than two minutes. People perform aerobic activities in a “steady state”.

Anaerobic refers to ‘without air’ and relates to making energy without oxygen. This type of workout is usually done at a higher intensity. The body can generate energy anaerobically in two different ways.

General workout structure

Beginner interval running

How to perform a beginner’s running interval training session is as follows:

  • 0.5 miles of warm-up: Warm-up by running slowly for half a mile (800m, or 2 laps around a typical outdoor track). You should be able to carry on a conversation during this run at a leisurely pace.
  • Exercise and stretch: Spend ten minutes stretching and practicing proper running form to prepare your muscles for rapid running. You’ll be less likely to get hurt as a result.
  • Maintain your desired 5K pace +for 400 meters: You can figure out your 400-meter pace by taking your goal 5K mile time and dividing it by 4. For example, if you aim to run a 5K in 10 minutes each mile, your target 400 paces must be 2:30. If you don’t have a target 5K pace, try to run at 80% of your maximal capacity. You might feel exhausted and under pressure. But, you must successfully keep a similar pace throughout each period.
  • 400-meter recovery distance: Take a one-lap (or.25-mile) slow jog for an active recovery.
  • You should complete 4 quick surges and 4 recuperation laps of the run-recovery cycle. A mile of hard running followed by a mile of recovery makes up this distance.
  • 1 mile of cooling down: Cool down by running a half-mile at a moderate pace. You should be able to carry on a conversation during this run at a leisurely pace.
  • Exercise and stretch: Stretch for ten minutes.
  • Take a nap and drink some water: Following speed training, you should either go for an easy run or take the day off. For the best muscular rehabilitation, drink more water.

Intermediate interval running

The 4-week starter program should have prepared you for your first training session after completion. The intermediate program consists of three weekly sessions, each including one additional cycle.

You will start this program by executing 3 cycles, then taking a full 1-minute break before repeating the cluster twice.

For four weeks, perform each exercise three times a week. Each cluster should receive a cycle per week.

You would be executing three clusters of six intervals by week four. Eighteen intervals and about 25 minutes in total training time are the results.

Intermediate-level interval training regimen:

  • Warm-up your body for 5 minutes by jogging around the block.
  • Run at 75% effort for 30 seconds, then at 25% effort for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat three times, then take a one-minute break. It constitutes 1 cluster.
  • In week 1, add two more clusters to each session. There would be about 9 cycles spread across the entire week, divided into 3 clusters.
  • Perform the program three times weekly, each time including an interval cycle.

Advanced interval running

After completing the basic and intermediate programs, you’ll have 8 weeks of ainterval training.

Depending on your fitness level and goals, you can begin anaerobic training. You could also go on to a more advanced aerobic training program to challenge your body’s limits.

For the advanced training program, you’ll start with 3 clusters of 4 cycles separated by intervals of 30 seconds.

You will add one more cluster per workout weekly. By week 4, you must complete 6 clusters of 4 cycles. It will take approximately 30 minutes to complete, not counting warm-up.

By the 4th week’s ending, the total workout volume would be significant.

Interval training for runners:

  • Run briskly for 5 minutes to warm up 
  • Try running for 30 seconds at 75% of your max speed, then for 30 seconds at 25% of your max speed.
  • After 4 cycles of repetition, pause for 1 minute.
  • Perform three complete clusters during the first week. For the first week of training, there will be 12 sessions, divided into three clusters.
  • Add a new cluster to your weekly routine by doing the workout three times a week.
Interval Training
Source: / Franzi Meyer

The benefits of interval running

Calorie burn

Your heart rate would fluctuate throughout the workout as it alters your running speed. A boost in heart rate suggests that you’ll burn more calories because you’ll pump your body harder. You can exercise at a constant rate for a similar amount of time or less. Although, you could start burning more calories by using intervals.

Weight loss

The number of calories burned increases as you make physical activity more strenuous. Quick bursts of speed are all that interval training entails. But, it’s sufficient to enhance your heart rate and boost your calorie burn. 

Enhanced fitness

Interval training strengthens your heart and lungs by making you do short bursts of speed. You can exercise for longer periods without becoming weary as your aerobic capacity increases. You can finish a workout more quickly. 

Calories burned from interval running

Your present fitness and weight level, the degree of every work period. The overall intervals employed all play a role in determining how many calories burned during an interval running workout.

Interval running burns between 150 and 400 calories in a 20-minute aerobic workout.

The metabolism brought on by the interval training raises your metabolism during the next 24-48 hours. It increases your resting calorie expenditure. It’s favorable given the lower amount of time required for interval running exercises.

Interval running can help people lose weight. It pairs it with a sensible eating regimen and exercise.

Muscles used in interval running

People use most of the greater lower body muscle groups during interval running. Interval running involves the following muscle groups: 

  • anterior tibialis (shin muscles)
  • gluteus maximus and medius (hip muscles)
  • quadriceps (front thigh muscles)
  • gastrocnemius and soleus (calf muscles)
  • hamstrings (back thigh muscles)
  • adductors (inner thigh muscles)


Running intervals are a great technique to increase your anaerobic and aerobic fitness. Generally, interval training takes less time than long-distance running. It allows for higher intensity throughout the session. You can alter your intervals to focus on various body energy systems according to your goals.

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