How to add interval training to running

add interval training to running

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How do you add interval training to running? Our guide outlines the correct way for beginners and more advanced runners to integrate interval training.

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Do your laps at the same pace every day … yes, you can do it, but it’s dull and holds your progress back. However, if you want to improve, you should switch to interval training while running. This ensures variety and increases your training performance and even helps you lose weight!

Interval training is exhausting and is therefore not very popular with many athletes. But this varied training method brings you a lot, especially when running! You can use it to improve your running speed, just like your stamina and you will boost fat burning.

Perfect! Especially if you want to burn extra calories by jogging or want to increase your performance, you should choose interval training. Thanks to the varied cardio training, the fat deposits are attacked faster and more calories are burned.

What is interval training?

Interval training alternates fast and slow phases. For running, this means: for example, you run at a fast pace for one minute and then at a slow pace for two minutes. So the running speed keeps changing from fast to slow.

Extensive interval training for amateur runners

There are two types of interval training available for running: intensive and extensive training. In the case of extensive interval training, the breaks between the strains are quite short, but the strain is not so strong and does not last as long. This form of training is ideal for amateur runners.

Intensive interval training for competition runners

If you are preparing for a half marathon or marathon, the intensive interval training is perfect. The breaks between the strains take two to three instead of one minute, but the strain is higher overall and can also last longer, 400 meters instead of just 300 meters, for example.

Don’t forget: the warm-up before the actual training

Important: Before you start interval training, you should run at a leisurely pace for at least 10 minutes. Warm up enough, otherwise the risk of injury increases. Run out for at least five minutes after your workout so that your heart rate also slowly drops.

Do like the professional runners and stretch your muscles. But keep in mind: the harder the training, the softer the stretching.

Decide for yourself how many intervals you do. It shouldn’t be more than ten. Because interval training is so exhausting, the units are shorter.

Interval training: running for beginners

In itself, classic interval training is not for beginners who are just starting to run. But: The moderate version with walking breaks is ideal for getting to know jogging.

Since jogging is quite a strain on the entire body, beginners should start slowly. Do not try to jog for 30 minutes straight, but increase with time. This is best done with a special interval training for running.

  • Start your interval training with two to five minutes running at a time. 
  • Choose a relaxed pace, the speed depends on how fit you are. 
  • Better start slowly. Then take a break that lasts two or three minutes. Gladly longer, if you are already quite out of breath. 
  • The pulse should calm down during the break. 
  • Repeats the interval five times.

Try doing this interval training two or three days a week. Follow this plan when running for the first week, then gradually increase and extend the jogging phases until you can manage 30 minutes at a time after a few weeks.

Interval training for advanced users: Get faster while running

If you only do your laps at the same pace, you do something for your endurance, but you won’t get faster. If you want to improve your time, you should switch to interval training while running. This helps you with the next 5 km or 10 km run, as well as a half and full marathon.

How it works:

  • Start interval training with easy running. 
  • Break in easily for 10 to 15 minutes. Then the intervals start. 
  • The best thing to do at the beginning is to go for extensive training and start with a maximum of five intervals. 
  • Choose a sprint speed that is exhausting, but does not totally push your pulse. 
  • Measure the duration of your sprint speed either in meters or minutes, which is easier for you. 
  • Alternate the following intervals: 300 meters / 1-2 minutes sprint with 1 minute trotting break in between.

Adjust the interval training every now and then. You can run faster or extend the sprint intervals a bit. If you are on the treadmill, you can also set an incline. You can find plans for different runs and speeds on the Internet.

Important note: An active lifestyle with a balanced diet and a lot of exercise is still the best way to stay fit and achieve or maintain a healthy weight.