What is interval training?          
2015 SprinterThe simplest definition of interval training is alternating periods of high intensity exercise with periods of rest or active recovery.

The beauty of intervals is that all elements of the interval training – type, length of effort, length of rest, volume – can be adjusted to your situation and be incredibly effective.

We basically do interval workouts every day at boot camp (aka High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT) – the harder you go, the more benefit you get! That’s why we always say “go harder!” at boot camp. J

Why Interval Training – what are the benefits?

Interval training offers a huge numbers of physical and psychological benefits, including:

  • Improved resistance to heart disease, obesity and diabetes.
  • Keeps metabolism running higher for hours after end of workout.
  • Burns more total calories per minute than steady state exercise.
  • Same muscular improvement for 1/3 the training time compared to longer steady state workouts (see study – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22946099 )
  • Improves lactate threshold (can work harder in same amount of time)
  • Improves VO2 Max – (can run longer & faster)
  • Helps break through an exercise plateau

What are some basic guidelines?

  • Always have a watch to or timer to know your interval and time. Heart Monitors can be especially helpful for intervals, both for knowing a given workout’s intensity and also for tracking progress.
  • Always include extra warm-up time and use dynamic warm-up elements to help prevent injury same type as boot camp but longer.
  • Start interval distance or time to be short at first. (do 200’s before moving up to 300’s)
  • Begin first interval o a set at 50% effort and calibrate from there. You may be fast one day but not as fast the next week. You must avoid injury at all cost!
  • Use a minimum of 1:2 work-rest time ratio – run for 30 sec, walk/recovery for 60 seconds. The harder your intensity percentage, the greater rest interval you will use.
  • Do 3-4 workouts at one level before progressing to next interval distance/speed.
  • Exercise mode can be anything that allows you to get to a high intensity, i.e., running, jumping rope, burpees, stairs, jumping jacks, run-in-place, hills, pushing/pulling sled, etc.

What are some Interval-type Workouts?

  • Around a high school track, can use continuity of track and markings to make intervals easy to breakdown – Classic #1 – Run 200 meters, walk rest 200 meters. Start with 6 repetitions, then 8, then 10. Practice breathing and form for all intervals. This can be built on by increasing distance to 300 meters then 400 meters.
  • On asphalt trail or track, just use your watch, and set timer for 30 seconds – run 30 sec hard, continue recover walk jog for 60 sec. Same as with the track intervals, start with 6 reps and add 2 more each time up to 10. Then add another 15 seconds to the run interval (and 30 seconds to rest interval). Be aware of the surface on your trail, it won’t be as forgiving as a track!
  • 40 yard sprint – FAST! jog up & back, wait 2 minutes, repeat. Save these for after you have been doing intervals for a couple weeks. Many people felt this one from the Saturday workout session!
  • Short incline or hill. Hills are just natural intervals waiting to happen.   You have to be aware of the using the right inclination for your conditioning. If it is too steep, you will not be able to run strong enough to get the benefit from your workout.   The hill should be just steep enough to feel like you’re working even when not running at tops speed. Start off with 5-6 repeats at about 60%. Either pick a fixed Start and Stop point (about 30 Sec apart) or run for 30 Seconds and work to run a little farther on each interval. – run up fast, run back down easy past your start point about 50 – 60 yards then return to start next interval.
  • Suicides – Standard Suicide on Football field. Start at one goal line, sprint to 25 yd line and back to goal line, then to 50 yd line & back to the goal line then to the far 25 yd line & back, then out to far goal line and back. Also known as Gassers. Very painful! Do 1 at moderate speed to see how your effort should be set.
  • Shuttle drill – cycle 3 people for a short distance – 30-40 meters. Team sprints – fun to do with others to break up the workout.