Friday, July 15, 2011

Why Interval Training makes you FAST!

The number one training technique I introduce beginner athletes to is interval training.  The number one thing beginner athletes complain about is interval training. It's laborious, it's sweaty, it's HARD- but it works.  Growing up a swimmer that is really all we ever did during workouts.  I cannot remember one practice where we just got in and swam.  But how often do you do that with your workouts?   Just get on your bike and go?  Just lace up your shoes and run?  Below is why you must incorporate interval training into your workouts if you want to get faster. 

Research has shown that interval training with 2 - 10 minute intervals has been shown to cause a 4-6% improvement in speed.   Even shorter, 30 second intervals can lead to improvements of 2-4%.   And this is research with seasoned athletes.  If you are a beginner or new to interval training, you are likely to see even greater improvements.  This is hands down the best way to get fit and get fast.

If you want to run a 10k in 45 minutes, you need to train at that speed.  However, because our bodies need to recover, you cannot run 6.2 miles at that speed everytime you train.   This is where intervals come in- you break it up into shorter distances at your race pace, with rest in between.   Quarter mile, half mile, and mile repeats all allow you to track your time and run the necessary pace, and you allow recovery in between.  

Why does interval trainig work?  It recruits fast twitch muscle fibers, improves respiratory function and blood flow to the lungs, which all with boil down to one thing- YOU WILL RUN (bike or swim) FASTER!  If you are not doing interval training and are hoping to drop your times, now is the time to start.  Interval training is meant to be tough and you should be working very hard on these workouts.

Check back later next week for a couple of my favorite run interval workouts.   Now go run some half mile repeats.  You will feel great when you are done!
-Coach A

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