Full Speed Ahead

No mat­ter your ex­pe­ri­ence or run­ning goals, interval work­outs should be part of your rou­tine

Runner's World (UK) - - IN THIS ISSUE -

Pick up the pace for any goal

RUN FAST for a short dis­tance, slow down for a bit to re­cover. Do it all again. Interval train­ing boils down to this sim­ple for­mula – and of­fers run­ners a route to con­tin­u­ous im­prove­ment.

‘Interval train­ing is go­ing to in­crease your level of fit­ness faster than pretty much any other type of run­ning,’ says run­ning coach Jeff Gaudette. Giv­ing your­self a breather be­tween seg­ments of fast run­ning al­lows you to han­dle more of it, de­liv­er­ing a greater stim­u­lus to your heart, lungs and mus­cles.

And de­spite fast run­ning’s rep­u­ta­tion for caus­ing in­juries, half marathon­ers who in­cor­po­rated in­ter­vals into their train­ing were less likely to get hurt than those who didn’t, ac­cord­ing to a re­cent study. Though this may have some­thing to do with mileage and ex­pe­ri­ence level – ad­vanced run­ners tend to both do more in­ter­vals and have a lower in­jury risk – there’s also ev­i­dence that run­ning form may im­prove at quicker paces, says Gaudette. Pro­vided that you be­gin with a fit­ness base and al­low am­ple time be­tween hard work­outs for re­cov­ery, ‘short, hard bursts can teach your body a more ef­fi­cient way to run, which ideally tran­si­tions into the rest of your train­ing’, says Gaudette.

Tweak the reps and rest and you can create an in­fi­nite num­ber of work­outs, each with its own ben­e­fits. Whether you’re tar­get­ing a half or full marathon, your first (or fastest) 5K, or just the abil­ity to run stronger or longer this au­tumn, here are the interval ses­sions that can get you there.

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