Interval Training August 27, 2007Posted by Matt Brown in Endurance.
Do you want to experience great gains in endurance without the hassel of running alot? Then interval training is for you! I say that with tongue firmly in cheek, but interval training is one of the most efficient ways to increase cardiovascular endurance. Intervals are nothing new. Serious athletes have known about them for over a hundred years, but they still remain an incredibly effective way to train.
How do you do them? As the name implies, interval training involves running in intervals; short periods of sprinting followed by moderate periods of jogging/ walking. The distance and time for each are up to the runner, depending on current fitness level, but some examples are sprinting for 10 to 15 seconds than walking for 2 minutes, or sprinting 400 m than walking 200 m. The most important thing to consider is that you give yourself just long enough to rest, as too much or too little rest will result in an inferior workout. Give yourself enough time to catch your breath, but no more.
Traditionally, long distance running has been thought of as the most efficient way to improve endurance, but studies have shown that high intensity interval training can lead to similar if not greater improvements in VO2 max and stroke volume than moderate intensity long distance running. (1) (2) Another benefit of intervals is that the take significantly less time. Depending on the distance, long distance running can take an hour or more, where as a session of interval training can be acomplished in less than 15 minutes.
Long distance running is and will continue to be a staple of endurance training, but if your looking for a quick, dirty, and effective method to increase your endurance, give intervals a try.
(1) Aerobic High-Intensity Intervals Improve VO2max More Than Moderate Training. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise Apr 2007: Vol. 39 Issue 4. p. 665-671 7p.
(2) Short-term sprint interval versus traditional endurance training: Similar initial adaptations in human skeletal muscle and exercise performance J Physiol 575: 901–911, 2006