Triathletes Interval Training For Running

If you want to improve your running speed, then interval training running is the way to go. In fact, interval training (HIIT) has been used by athletes for years to build cardiovascular strength, power, and explosive speed.

Interval training combines short and intense bursts of exercise at maximum ability, with recovery phases, repeated throughout a single workout.

Before we take a closer look at interval training, let’s first define what an interval is. According to the internet, an interval is an intervening period. This may mean the time of work, or the time of rest, distance or active recovery.

Interval training is composed of hard work phases and easier rest phases, but how do you know what is hard and what is easy? One way to determine your effort level is heart rate monitoring.

Interval Running Explained

 

Marathon Interval Training

Speedwork is a training methodology used by runners—and athletes from various backgrounds and fields—to increase their stride length, leg turnover, and stride efficiency, resulting in improved overall running speed and training efficiency.

More specifically, speedwork for runners consists, typically, of several running workouts of a mile or less at a race or challenging pace interceded with low to moderate recovery breaks. These can be completed on the track (traditional sprint workouts), treadmill, or road (a steep hill is also an option).

By doing a couple of speed workouts every week, you’ll improve your running performance, shutter your race times, and have an easier time keeping up with the competition during your next race (if that’s one of your goals).

A few parameters are used to define speed work. These include (but are not limited to) interval length, the number of reps, the speed, training pace, and how often you do them. Classic examples of speedwork training include interval workouts, tempo runs, and fartlek sessions.

Before Starting Interval Training

Female runners looking at smart watch heart rate monitor. Athlete running exercising outdoors and checking progress on smart watch. Healthy lifestyle concept. 3735726 Stock Photo at Vecteezy

To successfully use a heart rate monitor in your interval training, you’ll need to find out your maximum heart rate and personal heart rate training zones. The most accurate way to do this is to determine your max HR in a laboratory but if that’s not viable, you can use one of these two field tests to determine your heart rate zones.

Field Test For Beginners

If you are a complete beginner, go to a flat path or track and run for about 30 minutes at a conversational pace. This doesn’t mean you could have a conversation with one-word answers, but more in complete sentences. Watch your heart rate and see where it settles for 30 minutes.

You aren’t trying to run a certain pace but run at an ‘effort’ that allows you to hold a conversation for the entire time. The number you see on your heart rate monitor would be within your ‘zone 2 heart rate or all-day effort’.

Field Test For Experienced Runners

If you are an experienced runner and have been running for a year or more, then we’ll give you a thirty-minute test to see your lactate threshold. You can use a 5K or 10K for this test, or you can choose to run as fast and as long as you can for thirty minutes.

The average of your heart rate for the 5K or the last 25–30 minutes of the 10K, would be around your LT or lactate threshold. The estimated LT that you get with this field test should be near the boundary between zone 4 or zone 5, either above or below depending on how fit you are.

2 Interval Running Workouts For Speed

Here are the Interval training running sessions you need for improving your speed and overall running performance.

Interval Training Running Workout I – The Basic Interval Run

If you have never tried interval training before, start here. The basic workout is ideal for new initiates as it helps them get their foot in the door without increasing the risk of injury or burnout.

Interval-style runs are the most basic form of speedwork that there is. Basically, they consist of faster-paced workouts that alternate fast and slow segments for specific distances often performed on a high school or stadium track.

A typical interval workout features two main parts. First, they have a fast-paced segment known as the repeat. The repeat is run over a specific distance at a targeted pace goal speed.

The typical interval workouts consist of short repeats, lasting no more than 100 to 400 meters, or longer distances, lasting between 800 to 2000 meters. Then, the fast surge of effort is followed by a brief recovery.

This can be short—lasting for only 30 to 60 seconds—or of an equal time or distance to the repetition. For example, a typical interval workout could feature five 800m reps each followed by 400m recovery breaks after each. Or 8 400m reps with a 200m recovery jog.

The Benefits

Research shows that alternating between high-intensity intervals and recovery increases VO 2max, which boosts your body’s ability to use oxygen, leading to increased fitness capacity and improved athletic performance.

What’s more,  the study also shows that you might continue to burn calories at a higher rate long after you’ve finished your speed workout. That’s what’s known as EPOC or excess post-exercise oxygen consumption.

Warming up Right

Warm up Stock Photos, Royalty Free Warm up Images | Depositphotos

The warm-up sets the tone for your next speed workout. A good warm-up increases your body temperature boosts blood flow to the muscles and gets you mentally ready for fast running. So, make sure to get it right. Otherwise, you’ll be risking injury, premature fatigue, and even burnout. And you don’t want that.

First, walk, then jog slowly for five to 10 minutes. Next, perform a set of dynamic mobility and stretching drills. These include quad tugs, heel walks, butt kicks, scorpions, inchworms, lunges, and high knees. The more, the merrier. You can also perform some of these speed drills.

Then, complete four to six strides. These are quick accelerations, typically lasting between 20 to 30 seconds where you’re running at close to 10 per cent per cent speed. The typical distance of striders is about 160 to 220 yards. Recover fully between each set. Perform these strides on a flat, smooth surface.

Getting Started

If you’re just starting out, then you can begin your foray into interval running with a set of six to eight 200-meter at a 5K pace or a bit faster, interceded with an easy 200-m in between each to recover. 

The Pace

Interval training workouts are performed at 85 to 98 per cent of the maximum heart rate, depending on distance and the trainee’s fitness level and goals.

So, for instance, short intervals are performed at a slightly faster than 5K race pace, with relatively longer recovery breaks, typically lasting two to three times as long as the repetition time.

Longer intervals are usually performed at roughly a 5K race pace, with recovery bouts of equal length or slightly less than the fast surge time. But, all in all, as long as you’re running faster than your goal race pace, you’re heading in the right direction.

Interval Training Running Workout II – The Fartlek Bursts

Fartlek training: what is it and how can it help you get faster?

Standing for speed play in Swedish, Fartlek is a form of training that mixes steady-state running with speed intervals in an unstructured format. The pace and distance of each acceleration, as well as the recovery, is entirely up to you. You, basically, jog, run, or sprint for any distance or length of time, and in the order you want.

Doing so, according to most experts, strengthens both the aerobic and anaerobic energy systems—all of which can help turn you into a superb runner. Start your Fartlek workout with a 10 to 15 minutes jog as a warm-up to ensure that your muscles are warmed enough to handle the surges.

Then play with speed by running at faster paces for short periods, followed by easy-effort jogging as recovery. The best way to get on with Fartlek training is to pick out an object or landmark ahead of you, like a parked car, telephone pole, or a house, and then run at a fast speed until you reach it.

Next, recover, sight the next object, etc. So on and so forth. Be sure to run fast enough to increase your heart rate and breathe harder, but do not push it too hard so that you can no longer finish the interval or recover fully in time for the next surge. 

Interval Training Running Workout III – The Hill Routine

Hill reps involve intervals of intense running up a hill, resting while coming back down, and then repeating the process. Basically, the name says it all.

The Benefits

Hill running combines the benefits of swift running with traditional strength-building practices. Viewing hill runs as an alternate form of speedwork can be beneficial, as they offer a similar range of advantages as more traditional speedwork, even though running at full speed isn’t necessary.

It should be noted that hill reps have numerous advantages. Running on an incline encourages the development of proper running form due to the need to lift the knees, and move the arms back and forth to move forward. These are some of the common characteristics that show good etiquette.

What goes up must come down. Running downhill several times is an excellent exercise for targeting your quadriceps muscles, and will improve the strength in your joints and connective tissue. Boosting your stamina to run and stride downward can bolster your assurance and give you access to fresh areas and basins to exercise.

That’s a good thing if you ask me.

Planning your Hill Workout

A Treadmill HIIT Workout You Can Customize to Your Time and Goals

When constructing your hill running routine, select a hill that has a minimum length of 100 yards and is not too steep. Be sure to locate an easy hill, ideally void of automobiles.

It should take roughly half a minute to ascend the perfect hill while exerting your utmost energy. If you live in an area that doesn’t have many hills, look for a bridge or highway overpass that has a slope of around 5 per cent for your hill training.

The Session

After preparing your body well, tackle the steep incline using a pace you’d use in a 5-kilometre race (not your fastest speed). Once you have arrived at the final point of the upward slope, take a break and walk for 10 to 15 seconds, change direction and then gradually jog back to the beginning.

Then repeat. Once you have increased your stamina, try to up the challenge by either making the hill longer or steeper, going faster during the reps, or doing more intervals.

Keep The Form

Perform the reps with good form. Do not lean too much forward.

Rather than concentrating on anything else, concentrate on staying upright, tightening your stomach muscles, taking shorter strides with your legs, and lifting your knees higher than you would while running on an even surface.

Interval Training For Beginners: A 12-Week Running Workout Plan

Now that you know your heart rate zones, you can follow this 12-week workout plan to introduce interval training to your training and complement your running plan. For beginners, the following set of intervals would be your progression over 12 weeks.

WEEK 1

Run 10 minutes at an aerobic pace (zone 2), followed by 10 minutes of zone 3 heart rate, and then 10 minutes at zone 1 or zone 2. If you have to stop dead in your tracks after your 10-minute interval, then you went too hard. Keep in mind, it’s a slight shift in the effort, not an all-out blistering pace to catch a robber. 

WEEK 2 

Run 10 minutes at an aerobic pace (zone 2), followed by 12 minutes of zone 3 heart rate, and then 10 minutes in zones 1 or 2.

WEEK 3

Run 10 minutes at an aerobic pace (zone 2), followed by 15 minutes of zone 3 heart rate, and then 10 minutes in zones 1 or 2.

WEEK 4

Run 10 minutes at an aerobicthen 12 minutes of zone 3 heart rate, and then 10 minutes in zone minutes in zones 1 or 2.

WEEK 5

Run 10 minutes at an aerobic pace (zone 2), followed by 20 minutes of zone 3 heart rate, and then 10 minutes in zone 1 or 2.

WEEK 6

Run 10 minutes at an aerobic pace (zone 2), followed by 2×12 minutes of zone 3 heart rate, with 10 minutes of recovery at zone 2 heart rate in between, and then 10 minutes in zone 1 or 2.

WEEK 7

Run 10 minutes at an aerobic pace (zone 2), followed by 2×15 minutes of zone 3 heart rate,  with 10 minutes of recovery at zone 2 heart rate in between, and then 10 minutes in zone 1 or 2.

WEEK 8

Run 10 minutes at an aerobic pace (zone 2), followed by 2×18 minutes of zone 3 heart rate, with 10 minutes of recovery at zone 2 heart rate in between, and then 10 minutes in zone 1 or 2.

WEEK 9

Run 10 minutes at an aerobic pace (zone 2), followed by 2×20 minutes at zone 3 heart rate, with 10 minutes of recovery at zone 2 heart rate in between, and then 10 minutes in zone 1 or 2.

WEEK 10

Run 15 minutes at an aerobic pace (zone 2), followed by 3 minutes at zone 4. You’ll follow the 3 minutes hard with 3 minutes easy at zone 2, and you’ll repeat this three more times. In a running sense, this will look like 4×3’ (minutes) at LT, with a 3’ recovery. Don’t forget to end with 10 minutes at an aerobic pace.

WEEK 11

Run 15 minutes of aerobic threshold, followed by 3 minutes at zone 4. Follow the 3 minutes hard with 3 minutes easy at zone 2 and repeat this four more times. In a running sense, this will look like 5×3’ at LT, with a 3’ recovery. Don’t forget to end with 10 minutes at an aerobic pace.

WEEK 12

Run 15 minutes of aerobic threshold, followed by 3 minutes at zone 4. Follow the 3 minutes hard with 3 minutes easy at zone 2 and repeat this five more times. In a running sense, this will look like 6×3’ at LT, with a 3’ recovery. Don’t forget to end with 10 minutes at an aerobic pace.

Final Words On Interval Training 

Building your progression at an intensity and volume that you can handle is important. Use the above interval training plan as a guideline, but be smart and sensitive about how you feel. 

If you measure your heart rate in the morning and notice it’s higher than usual on the day you’ve planned to do one of these interval workouts, postpone the interval training session and try again once your HR is back to normal.

 

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button