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Interval Running

on . Posted in Exercise

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interval running

Would you like to give interval training a shot but not sure where to begin? Read several articles on the web which makes promises that sound a touch too good to be true? Whilst interval running is a great way to lose weight and supercharge your speed and endurance levels, it is not a miracle worker. Any routine that offers to burn 600 calories in 20 minutes should be taken with a pinch of salt!

I want to put the record straight and tell you why this kind of interval training is really worth your time and efforts without making empty promises about calorie loss and performance.

Interval running explained

The key behind interval running is simple. The name of the game is to alternate high intensity bouts of sprinting with more moderately paced running for 20-30 minutes. The purpose of this is to work the aerobic and anaerobic systems and the fast and slow twitch muscle fibers. The body requires alot of energy in order to carry out an interval running workout and is needed to deliver oxygen to the muscles faster.  Cardiovascular fitness will improve, together with leg strength. You’ll also notice a rise in speed. Therefore interval training is great for those that have endurance sorted but can’t find a way to improve race times. One's body becomes more efficient at supplying oxygen to the muscles, which helps you become a quicker runner. A huge bonus - interval running is also good for those trying to shift stubborn love handles as it requires the body to draw on its fat reserves to replenish energy levels and repair muscles. The body continues to burn energy even when at rest, which boosts the metabolism.

Interval running: Starting out

Ok, I said in the introduction that I wouldn’t make empty promises and so I won’t. All of the above is possible, provided you take an exact approach to training. If you’re completely new to interval running, try following a pre-existing programme designed by an expert. This kind of training requires 100% commitment and timing is incredibly important - down to the second.

Interval running workouts:

There are various types of interval running workouts. Start off by combining jogging and walking if you’re an absolute beginner, that’s still interval training in theory and will stand you in good stead for the future. The hardcore routines that require periods of maximum capacity sprinting might be best left to those at intermediate level.

Here are some sample workouts to give you a concept of what’s involved:

Beginner: 20 minute routine

Warm-up: 5 minutes easy pace

Rest period: 4 minutes running at 50% capacity

Work period: 1 minute running at 70% capacity

Alternate rest and work twice then cool down for 5 minutes.

Intermediate: 22 minutes

Warm-up: 5 minutes easy pace

Rest period: 3 minutes running at 60% capacity

Work period: 1 minute running at 80% capacity

Alternate work and rest periods 3 times then cool down for 5 minutes.

While your interval running abilities improve, you can up the ante and perform higher intensity periods of sprinting at 85% capacity and above. You can also experiment with timings and decrease and increase sprint intervals. Follow a pre-existing routine first and you’ll have the foundations needed to reap the benefits of interval running.