Runners can make big gains in race times by adding interval training. The benefits of interval training at a high intensity are numerous. From improved cardiovascular health, more effective weight loss and increased leg turnover, there’s not enough that can be said for the good things you’ll see from adding interval training to your program. Here are five of those good reasons:
- Interval training improves aerobic capacity by decreasing recovery time. Bring your heart rate up then giving it a quick break trains that important muscle to operate at a higher level for a longer period of time without fatiguing by increasing the volume of blood it can move, replace and circulate.
- Intervals increase lactate threshold. Lactic acid is produced by anaerobic activity and the point at which it begins to accumulate in the blood stream is your lactate threshold. Build-up of lactic acid can cause a decrease in muscle performance, stiffness and cramping. The more tolerant your lactate threshold is, the more improvement you’ll see at high levels of effort. Intervals work to increase this threshold by allowing the body to temporarily exceed it and recover while still maintaining an effective level of physical activity.
- One of the biggest benefits of interval training is that it’s more effective at inducing fat loss, boosting metabolism and increasing post exercise calorie expenditure than typical endurance training. Metabolic rates have been shown in increase for up to 24 hours following an intense interval session, burning calories all day long. Intense interval training has also been linked to lower insulin resistance and improve glucose tolerance.
- Increasing speed is the end goal for lots of runners and intervals are a great way to do it. Increasing the lactate threshold allows for more intense activity for longer period of time before pain or fatigue can interfere with performance. To run fast, you need to practice running fast. Intervals are the perfect way to train your body to operate at a high level of intensity for a long period of time.
- Intervals are fun! Using varied interval workouts prevent workout boredom and are a great way to judge progress. Interval workouts are not only more effective, but also less time consuming than traditional endurance workouts as a thirty minute interval workout will garner the same benefits as a two hour long steady state endurance workout.
Include high intensity training to your program to reap these big benefits of interval training. Intervals can be done on any piece of equipment, with body weight exercises, while running and even while walking which means anyone can be helped by adding them.
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