Interval Training For Runners

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Whether you consider yourself a fun runner or a functional runner, there’s one truth about the sport that can’t be denied: you are competing with yourself, so it’s up to you to set the bar higher with each workout. We’ve partnered with Sport Chalet running shoe expert Mikki Hanna to talk training and training gear. Currently, Mikki is very excited about the new ASICS Gel Noosa Tris, available for both men and women. “We’ve carried this particular shoe before, but it just gets better and better with each update. This new version is, obviously, the most exciting one.”

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“This is a very versatile shoe for training… the open mesh in it allows your foot to breathe when you’re in training and feels great,” she says. “Personally, I was never a runner until I signed up for a half marathon and started setting really high goals for myself. Once you start training, you can’t stop.”

On the subject of starting, we can’t say enough positive things about improving your personal fitness with interval training. If you’re looking for a new challenge or simply trying to get into the swing of recreationally running, we’ve put together a guide to this workout.

What is interval training, and how is it different from jogging? Interval running is made up of alternating bouts of fast and slow running speeds. You can alternate sprinting and jogging if you’re a habitual runner, or jogging and power walking if you’re trying to build your aerobic endurance. While running is one of the  efficient workouts out there, your body also adapts to it rather quickly, meaning that the estimated calorie burn and muscle fatigue that you experience when you first start your running routine plateaus when you become used to it.

How do intervals help me train? Think about your normal jogging rate—your heart is beating faster, you’re working up a sweat, and you’re moving at a pace that challenges you but that you are capable of sustaining for a predetermined amount of time. Now think about nearly doubling your regular pace; your heart will beat faster, you’ll sweat more and your muscles will get a stronger workout. Since that increased pace isn’t sustainable, you’ll have to rest, which will oxygenate your muscles and restore your strength—enough to do it again. The main benefit of interval training is that it allows you to push your body to its limit in short periods of time, building your strength without exhausting you.

How do I work interval training into my routine? In the simplest of terms, choose a pace that is more aggressive than what you normally run at, and commit to it for a shorter duration. After running at that faster rate for 15, 30 or 60 seconds, take double that time to recover at a slower (but not walking!) pace. Sound complicated? It’s not. Try one of these plans to kick start your interval training:

(Hint: Think about your speeds on a scale of 1-10, 1 being regularly paced walking and 10 being your fastest sprint.)

For Beginners- 30 minute workout to fire up your cardio endurance

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Advanced—45 minute workout for those looking for a new challenge

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Sport Chalet

We’re experts on a mission to help you excel at all the things you’d rather be out doing. Sport Chalet has 54 retail stores offering the hottest brand name apparel and equipment for beginners to pros.

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