You enjoy running and make sure to do three or four sessions weekly. However, you noticed that you are not progressing as quickly as you expected! Wondering what is going on?
Maybe interval running is what you need to achieve the desired results! In this article, we are going to examine some of the most important interval running benefits for you body.
Let’s talk about the Benefits of Interval Running!
In these hectic times, it is clearer than ever that we need to be physically active. And we don’t mean just for maintaining physical health, but mental wellbeing as well.
We guess you know what we are talking about, right? Indeed, you can watch a film or series after a long day at the office, but doesn’t it feel that it deepens the anxiety a bit?! Like you are trying to focus and all, but your brain doesn’t stop!
When you exercise, everything seems different – you feel the blood rushing through your veins, your heart pumping stronger, lungs expanding. And your brain?! Well, it appears as if everything is crystal clear, and you are filled with happiness.
People like different exercises – cycling, weight lifting, swimming, etc. For us running is the best! It makes it free! It makes us forget about all the problems! But we also like it because we can listen to music and do other things while running.
We’ve been running for about six years now, four times a week! But it was only recently that we heard about interval running. And it was by chance because we talked with a friend about being under the impression that our progress slowed down a bit. He mentioned that it happened to him too and that he tried interval training running, and he saw considerable improvement in a short time.
Immediately after the conversation, we began learning about interval running benefits. We decided to include this type of running into our routine. We also felt the necessity to share our information with others, and thus we wrote this article about running interval training for beginners and its benefits.
What Is Interval Running Training?
As you can probably imagine, an interval training running plan alternates between periods of high-intensity running and slow-paced recovery periods. If you are a gym-goer, you know this type of training t as High-Intensity Interval Training HIIT.
The whole point is that you push yourself to a sprint, practically to the peak of your heart rate. Then you let it come back to normal as you slowly jog.
Answering the question of how long the intervals should be and how many intervals you should do isn’t so straightforward. But, an experienced exercise physiologist and running coach Jack Daniels supports that intervals should be kept at eight percent of total mileage.
For example, if you are crossing 25 miles per week then a couple of miles of intervals will be enough. If you know how much of your training should go on intervals, you can use a running interval calculator.
Top 12 Interval Running Benefits
Here are the top interval running benefits that can change your life and metabolism for the better.
1. Faster Weight Loss
So if you are wondering if interval running burns more calories, the short answer is yes. Various studies show that short periods of intense training are more effective than endurance training if you want to burn calories and lose weight.
It is quite simple; during intervals, your body is working harder to move the same mass but at a higher speed.
Thus, the calorie expenditure is higher. But there is something even better when it comes to interval running for weight loss.
With this kind of training, you continue to burn calories even two hours after the workout.
2. Improved Anaerobic Capacity
Do you know what anaerobic capacity is? It is the point at which your body starts to use anaerobic metabolism to produce more energy. The thing is that when you engage in intense interval training, the aerobic system can’t keep up with the demand.
Then the body uses aerobic energy pathways to produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP). This molecule then carries energy to the cells. The result of this is that lactic acid ends up in the bloodstream, which makes that well-known burning feeling.
3. Higher Fitness Level
Interval running training strengthens the muscles, including the heart. As you are alternating between high intensity and slow-paced intervals, your heart starts to work more efficiently.
When the aerobic capacity improves, and your heart becomes stronger, you get into better shape, and you become able to work out more without getting tired.
4. Increased Speed
One of the biggest interval running benefits and the reason why runners love it is that it has a positive impact on speed.
To increase the speed, you need to experiment with different paces during the training, and this is happening here. In simple words, the more you are practicing to run at a higher pace, the faster you will run in general.
5. Helps with Boredom
You can be the most avid runner in the world. Still, you have to admit that it can sometimes be boring, especially if you are doing the same route every day.
Including intervals in your training breaks the monotony and helps you stay motivated and focused. Alternating between different paces makes it seem that the time goes faster.
6. Increases muscle mass growth
Have you ever wondered why sprint athletes look always more muscular than marathon runners? The reason is that these athletes train differently, according to their goals. Sprinting requires explosive movements, which cause the body to produce more HGH (human growth hormone), which is responsible for muscle growth.
To get sprinters’ muscles, you need to train with high intensity, up to 85% of your maximum capacity.
The best way to increase HGH is exercises that challenge your muscles past their normal capacity and make them work as hard as they can.
7. It’s Time-Efficient
Compared to simply jogging with interval running you can score the same results in far less time compared to a standard jog where you run at a steady pace for 30 minutes, with interval training you could fit the same workout in just 15 minutes.
The difference is that with interval training you alternate periods of high intensity with periods of lower intensity. For example, if you were working out on a treadmill you might start with a quick sprint for 20 seconds, followed by a slow jog for 40 seconds. You would then repeat this pattern for a total of 15 minutes.
8. Increases insulin sensitivity
Another important benefit of interval running is that it can increase your body’s sensitivity to insulin. Insulin is an essential hormone that shuttles nutrients from your bloodstream into your cells.
High levels of insulin have been linked to an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. One of the best ways to decrease your risk of Type 2 diabetes is to increase your body’s sensitivity to insulin. Interval training can help you achieve this goal.
9. Increases explosiveness
Interval running will increase your explosiveness because of the increase in muscle elasticity. It will also increase your speed and agility because of the increase in proprioception. Proprioception is how your body senses itself in space, how it knows where it is and what it’s doing.
10. Makes you happier
Interval training in general helps your body produce more endorphins. These are the chemicals that make you feel happy, decrease your perception of pain, and ease any negative thoughts. They also help you sleep better, which further improves your mood. Interval training makes it easier to push yourself to the max because it’s broken up into shorter segments with active rest periods. This eases any anxiety you might have about maxing out, and it also helps your body produce more endorphins.
11. Healthier Heart
Interval running will make your heart healthier. The high-intensity interval training (HIIT) will make your heart stronger and healthier by increasing the volume of blood your heart can pump with each beat. Studies have shown that HIIT can increase the volume of blood your heart can pump by up to 35%.
Who Can Run Intervals?
Some people think that only seasoned runners can run intervals. It is very far from the truth. The best interval running workout is literally for everyone who wants to do it regardless of everything. For beginners, interval running is an excellent way to start running in the first place because it allows the body to adapt to the stress of the activity.
For experienced runners, it is an ideal way to increase the speed and cover greater distances. When you are a beginner, though, you should alternate between running and walking with a timer. Here is how to do interval running when you are a beginner.
- Take the timer and run for two minutes.
- Walk for one minute
- Keep doing that for about 30 – 45 minutes.
Keep in mind that you can also do the training on a treadmill which we consider as one of essential tools for home when it comes to exercise. It is a useful piece of information because you know that you don’t have to skip workout even when it’s raining or snowing.
- Start by running 1/10th of a mile.
- Walk 2/10ths of a mile.
- Gradually increase the speed and shorten walking intervals.
The chances are that you will fall in love with interval running, the same as we did. The concept of pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and investing maximum effort is marvelous.
But you have to be careful not to overdo it. It is recommended that you enjoy the benefits of intervals a maximum of three times per week. Remember that the key is always in moderation! Have you thought about including intervals in your training before?
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