Updated: Mar 29, 2022
I see many endurance athletes who become complacent with their workout program. They assume because they’re in good physical condition and are comfortable at running a sustained pace at distance, then there is nothing left for them to add to their routine. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. Whether you’re looking to improve your fitness, develop running economy, or increase speed time, research has proven the effectiveness of high intensity interval training (HIIT), or simply put – interval training.
I don’t want you to think that only competitive athletes have the most to gain from incorporating effective interval training into their life. Interval training can improve your running ability whether you run a 10-minute mile or a 5k in under 20 minutes. With that, I encourage all people to read on and see how to get the most out of this important technique.
WHAT EXACTLY IS INTERVAL TRAINING?
Interval training is basically what it sounds like: Running a distance at a higher than usual intensity, taking a break, and then repeating. These breaks, in which your heart rate has time to recover, are what makes the period of effort true intervals. HIIT consists of a series of short bursts of exercises that can last anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes. Your aim should be to work at a set intensity for a given time or distance during each interval, followed by a low-intensity rest period. To attain different goals from your training session, you will need to change the tempo, length, and rest period.
To be the most effective, you should aim for these workouts to be between 10-30 minutes in duration. Now, you might be thinking “Only 10 – 30 minutes?? That seems too good to be true!” Yup, believe it or not, despite how short the workout is, it can produce health benefits similar to twice as much as moderate-intensity exercise. Though most people associate interval training with running, you can perform HIIT with many different exercises, including biking, jumping rope, rowing, weightlifting or other bodyweight exercises.