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A Guide To Interval Training

Books to Improve your Running

Interval training is one of the most overlooked aspects of running. This is unfortunate because it is interval training which can have the most profound impact on a runnerís improvement. Interval training can be very beneficial because it can help the runner to increase his overall speed. This is because interval training incorporates sprint workouts into the running program. When a runner sprints he engages the fast twitch muscles. These are the muscles which are required to develop sprint speed. As a result of engaging these muscles, the runner is laying the groundwork for improved speed. This type of training can be useful for sprinters, middle distance runners and distance runners. This article will provide a few basic guidelines for interval training which can be useful for all runners.

First we will consider when it is ideal for runners to begin incorporating interval training into the running program. While interval training can be useful for all different types of runners, it is worthwhile to delay interval training until the runner has had the opportunity to establish a proper base. This is important because a strong base will be very beneficial during interval training. Runners who attempt to engage in interval workouts before they have thoroughly conditioned their bodies may find they lack the strength necessary to really push hard enough during interval workouts to make these workouts truly effective.

When doing interval workouts, the runner should originally start out with short sprint intervals. These intervals may be as short as 50 meters at first if the runner is not familiar with this type of workout. However, runners who compete in longer distance events will want to work on increasing the sprint intervals periodically until they are doing interval work of distances sufficient for their regular racing event. For example a runner who regularly competes in 5Ks may want to work up to the point where they can do sprints of 800 meters or more.

A critical component of interval training is allowing for a sufficient recovery period between the sprint intervals. There are a number of different ways in which the runner can determine the amount of recovery time which is sufficient. Some runner opt to use a recovery period which is equal to the sprint distance while other runners choose to base the recovery period on their heart rate. An example of how to base the recovery period on the distance of the interval is to perform a sprint of a set distance such as 400 meters and then immediately follow the sprint with a recovery period of jogging or walking for 400 meters. Runners who incorporate heart rate training into their workouts may prefer to base their recovery periods during sprint intervals on their heart rate. One way to do this is to monitor the heart rate from the conclusion of the sprint and to wait until the heart rate drops to a desired rate before starting the next sprint interval. Many runners who use heart rate monitors use a heart rate of 120 beats per minute to indicate they have recovered sufficiently to perform the next sprint.


The video clip above is from my DVD about running stetches and other running related information. Click on the DVD case below to find out more.

Running Stretches and Running Tips

Click Here to view the DVD.

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