What is interval training? (8 of 10)

Interval training is characterised by periods of higher intensity work alternated with periods of lower intensity rest and has been used by athletes and fitness fanatics for many years. Recently, interval training has become popular as a method for shedding weight and almost every self-respecting personal trainer will put their clients through gruelling interval training sessions to get them lean in double-quick time!

The length of the intervals performed depends on the goals that you are training for…

Aerobic Intervals – staying within your HRZ, increase the pace to the upper end of your heart rate scale for 3-5 minutes before slowing your pace to the lower end of your HRZ scale for around half as long e.g. run faster for 5 minutes, jog/walk for 2.5 minutes. Repeat 3-5 times. This type of interval training provides a nice way to introduce intervals into your training, break up an otherwise dull long workout and also improve general aerobic fitness.

Anaerobic intervals – exceeding your HRZ means that you will be working without oxygen and producing lots of lactic acid while you exercise. This is beneficial if you are trying to improve your anaerobic fitness, burn lots of calories during your workout and also trigger EPOC (Excessive Post exercise Oxygen Consumption) so you burn lots of calories after your workout has finished. To perform anaerobic intervals, work as hard as you can for up to 90 seconds and then recover for 180 seconds before repeating. As a general rule, the rest periods are twice as long as the work periods. Rests can be active i.e. walking or slow jogging, or passive i.e. standing still or sitting although active recoveries are believed to be the most effective.

Whichever interval training method you use, you should find your workouts are shorter and more productive than your normal LSD type workouts.

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