You’ve probably heard of interval training at some point. You might have even had a go. It’s physical training where you alternate periods of intensity during the session; going like the clappers, followed by a recovery period where you slow it down a bit, then repeat.
It’s a bit like accelerating and braking heavily in the car burns more fuel than maintaining a constant speed. Interval training means you work harder in a session than you would putting in continuous effort over the same period of time, so you’ll see the results that you’re after more quickly.
Interval training fits well into most cardio workouts, like swimming, cycling. And running. Did we mention we like running?
If you’re just starting out, then running intervals can help you find your running legs. Apps like Couch to 5K are based on the same concept, but with longer rest periods to gradually build up your running ability.
If your running clothes are worn in but you’re struggling to get to the next stage, introducing interval training into your sessions can help you over the hump. (And we can help you with the new clothes).
Interval running is all about short bursts of activity, followed by a period of rest, so doesn’t immediately sound like a fit for running big distances.
You’ll definitely need to put the miles in somewhere so your body knows what it’s like to cover that sort of distance without spewing, you learn how to pace, and it will help you prepare mentally too.
But, intervals have a solid place in the long distance training tool kit. This method develops your aerobic and anaerobic capacity, fast. In other words, run faster, and for longer. PBs all round.
Like most things in running, the ‘how’ bit is down to personal tolerance, and what you’re aiming for. The basic principle is to work hard, recover, work hard, and recover. You can use a watch or timer to measure out your intervals, or download an app to your phone and use it alongside whatever bangers get you moving.