By Marcia Scott
Sounds simple, right? In a sense, it is. By running faster at a higher intensity, your overall average pace will improve. But not every run should be at your fastest pace. And not every run should be at a hard effort. Consider doing one or two hard workouts or intervals each week to get the most bang for your buck.
From elite athletes to beginners, every runner can benefit from interval training or track workouts. Shorter, intense workouts are easier to fit in a busy schedule — such as during your lunch break or during a week when work is slammed. High intensity workouts can also help burn fat more quickly — the effect of all that intense exertion kicks your body’s repair cycle into hyperdrive. That means you burn more fat and calories in the 24-hour period following a high-intensity workout than you do after an easier, steadier run. Plus, high-intensity intervals increase your metabolism.
Although most interval training is done on a track with a watch or smartphone to monitor your distance and pace, you can do interval training just about anywhere, including the treadmill.
So, what exactly are intervals? Intervals are repetitions of high-speed/intensity running followed by periods of rest or recovery.
For example: 8×400 (one lap around a track) with 200 meters of recovery
In this case you would run 400 meters at a high intensity pace, jog or walk for 200 meters, and then repeat eight times.
If you don’t want to think about it in terms of yards or laps around a track, consider doing two minutes of hard effort, followed by one minute of rest, and repeat eight times.
“WELL, AT WHAT PACE SHOULD I RUN?”
While the length of the intervals is important, it’s equally as critical to train at the appropriate pace. There are many calculators you can use to determine pace based on a recent race time or time trial, including the widely popular McMillan Running Pace Calculator (McMillanRunning.com).
Intervals are an excellent way to add excitement to your training routine and enjoy the benefits of becoming a healthier, more efficient runner.
Sidebar: Interested in doing track workouts? Join Fleet Feet’s Thursday Night Run Club weekly at 6:00 PM. The group is free and meets at Fleet Feet Sports every Thursday at 6:00 PM. The workouts are geared toward runners who are racing distances from 5k to marathon. Weekly workouts are provided and led by store manager, Feb.
Marcia Scott is the Sports Training Coordinator and Coach at Fleet Feet Sports. For more information call (901)761-0078 or visit fleetfeetmemphis.com.