The Benefits of Interval Training

The Benefits of Interval Training

Since many of you are training with us at least a few times a week, some up to 5-6 times a week, I thought it was important for everyone to understand the reasons why we structure our sessions the way we do and realise there is usually a specific reason and goal behind the training and exercises we give you, rather than things being chucked together off the top of our head. By having insight into the different types of training you’re doing day in, day out you can be more knowledgeable and motivated to strive harder during your workout as you will know the specific benefits your body is getting out of it.

The type of training I’m going to talk about is interval training. For all my Wednesday running group clients, this might just be the motivation you need to get up Lauren Drive, Buderim. For everyone who isn’t aware or yet to train on Lauren Drive, let me just tell you it is a mighty hill in Buderim that goes further than the eye can see and is conveniently based right next to a set of very long stairs that count to 148! We have been training at this area every third week. This session is a perfect example of interval and lactic acid training.

Interval training is a great way to build your fitness, improve your speed and endurance. It is built upon alternating short, high intensity bursts of speed with slower, recovery phases during the one workout. The workout can be altered in and structured in different ways to target client’s goals. Interval training targets both the aerobic and anaerobic systems. During the high intensity parts, the anaerobic system uses the energy stored in muscles (glycogen) for the short bursts of activity. This system works without oxygen, however the by-product is lactic acid, that uncomfortable burning pain you feel. As the lactic acid builds, you will enter oxygen debt, but it is during the slower recovery phase where your heart and lungs work together to repay the oxygen debt and start breaking down the lactic acid you have built up. It is during this phase that the aerobic system is using oxygen to convert your stored carbohydrates into energy.  So my Wednesday running clients this is why I try to push you up that hill and those 148 killer stairs at a solid pace even though the burning (lactic acid) in your legs is pretty painful at the top, you then get to slow it down and recover on the way down and by the time your down the bottom you can see you are breathing much easier again and nearly all the burning pain is gone, ready for you to charge up those stairs and hill again!!

Interval training has many benefits, as mentioned before you will notice improvements in your speed and endurance, as well as an increase in cardiovascular efficiency (the ability to deliver oxygen to working muscles), also improvements in your body’s tolerance to lactic acid. Interval training is a great way to train as you can increase your intensity during sessions, as you get fitter, without over-training or burning out. So as we see improvements in your fitness, Sammy or I can increase the speed or duration of the high intensity phase, we can also decrease the time of your recovery phase, or the number of repetitions of each interval. By altering the sessions as you become fitter you can continually keep improving and moving onwards and upwards (up those hills that is!) I hope this gives you some insight into your training and the way your body works.


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