by Gemma Needham
Intervals are defined as ‘short bursts of speed for a set amount of time or for a set distance’ with recovery in between each burst. Your level of running ability, and your training focus, will determine the duration or distance of your interval sessions.
Ok lets just admit it, interval training sessions are HARD! We don’t always look forward to them in the same way we may enjoy a long slow run, but they are a necessary part of any good training plan, and over the years I have come to enjoy my interval sesssions as I have seen their benefits. In order to see improvements from these type of sessions, you have to work hard and push your own limits, and this is not easy and lets face it, it hurts!
However, there are many benefits to this type of training, and here are my 5 top reasons why I love Interval Training:
1) Helps with Weight Loss; the intense nature of interval training means your body must work harder to recover and you will burn more calories in the 24 hours after an interval workout than you would after a slow, steady run. This is called “The Afterburn” and we love it!
2) Improves Aerobic Capacity; your body becomes more efficient in its use of oxygen and you therefore your body begins to need less to work at the same intensity as before. This improved aerobic capacity means your endurance and stamina will increase (you can work out harder, and for longer, without getting as tired). All this leads to improvement in your running performance, the ultimate goal!
3) Increases the Health of your Heart; over time, interval training will increase the amount of blood that your heart pumps per beat (heart stroke volume) making your heart stronger and more efficient. Who doesn’t want a healthier heart?
4) Makes you Faster; Interval training stimulates several physiological changes that can lead to greater speed and stamina. For example, it teaches your body to burn lactic acid more efficiently, allowing you to exercise for a longer period of time before tiredness sets in. The more you train your body to run at these faster speeds, the more it adapts in order for you to do so.
5) It Feels Good (afterwards); these short bursts of strenuous activity create a surge of endorphins (natural opiates in your brain) and you will experience a true “runners high” leaving you feeling happy and energized after your workout.
Still not convinced? Well you have to try it to believe it, so come along and join us at one of our interval sessions on a Tuesday morning at the CCAB Running Track on Evans Road. All running levels are welcome.