Intervals

Young Woman Exercising on a Rowing Machine


It’s all about the intervals

Most people have done some interval training without knowing what it was called. Ever been to boot camp? Done a Body Attack class? Spin? Gone running, given up, walked for a minute, then started running again?

Interval training is raising and lowering your heart rate, never quite letting it get comfortable. If you do it properly, you feel it.

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Later that day…

 

For a runner who wants to get faster, interval training is a must. I won’t go into the scientific stuff (I’m a law student, let’s leave the numbers to someone else), but basically, high-intensity cardio (the kind that you physically can’t do for a more than a minute or so at a time – you know, the kind where you want to throw up and then lie down) is interspersed with lower-intensity cardio (the bit afterwards when you’re gasping precious air back).

By hitting it hard, then backing off, and repeating for a set period of time, you can increase your fitness, burn calories, increase training intensity without burning out, improved cardio fitness, and better tolerance to lactic acid build-up.

I’ve had two programs – pre and post injury. I’m going to post mine below, but there are plenty more out there.

Treadmill intervals

Total time: 40 mins

Phase Time Overall Time Speed
Warm-up 10 minutes 10 minutes 11km/hour (6.8mph)
High Intensity 1 minute  

20 minutes

(8 repetitions)

14km/hour (8.6mph)
Rest 30 secs Feet on sides
Low Intensity 1 minute 11.5km/hour (7.1mp)
Cool down 10 minutes 10 minutes 10.5km/hour (6.5mph)

 

Non-treadmill intervals

Total time: 41 mins

Equipment Split Total Time Level
Elliptical Trainer 30 secs low

30 secs high

Alternate for 20 minutes Level 8

Level 15

Bike 30 secs low

30 secs high

5 mins Level 8

Level 16

Rower 2 mins 2 mins Level 8

30s/m

Bike 30 secs low

30 secs high

5 mins Level 8

Level 16

Rower 2 mins 2 mins Level 8

30s/m

Bike 30 secs low

30 secs high

5 mins Level 8

Level 16

Rower 2 mins 2 mins Level 8

30s/m

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Don’t forget to stretch!

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The ‘OMG what was I thinking?’ face is a sign that it’s hard enough :-)

I know these are the right levels for me because after a few minutes, I start to feel like my face is melting. I can get through the workout, but it’s a struggle. It’s always a good sign when other people are staring at you because you are huffing and puffing like a crazy person.

How do you find your level?

Of course, it’s always best to get  a personal trainer involved, but the rule of thumb is that you want to feel the low intensity stuff – there is some resistance/you know you are working, but it’s not hard. For the high intensity, you really want to be pushing. You need to be able to hold it together for the 30 secs or minute…but only just.

Play around with the settings to see what works for you. On the treadmill, ramp up the high intensity to 3km/hour (1.8mph) faster than your warm up speed. For non-treadmill, try to double the level of resistance.

 

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