Interval Runs

david_nzp1What is an interval run?

Repetitions of higher-speed/intensity work (at your 5K race pace* or faster) followed by periods of rest or active recovery, for example: 5 repetitions of 4 minute speed/intensity work followedby 2 minutes rest/active recovery.  West Toronto Pacers interval running is not sprinting, but rather controlled high speed/intensity running. All workouts begin with a warm up and short run to our workout location, followed by warm up exercises to ensure your body is primed and ready for the interval work. Cool down exercises and the run back to our club house round out the workout. *The 5K race pace is one suggestion. See the heading ‘How fast should I run’ below.


How do I benefit from an interval workout?

The simple answer: Improve your speed. Run fast in training and you will run faster in a race. By getting outside of your comfort zone with speed work your body will learn to deal with the new demands. The heart will get stronger, the cardiovascular system more efficient, the muscles better able to function at full force. This will translate to greater strength, faster times, and easier daily runs. And you’ll just plain feel better. Need to know the science behind the benefit and interval training makes sense for aerobic activity? Search online resources for ‘anaerobic threshold training’ or ‘speed work.’


How fast should I run?

If unsure of your 5K race pace then use your pace from another race distance you recently completed. Interval training is NOT sprinting. Run in control and you can do interval training year round without any negative impacts. Train smart: Stay within your limits to avoid injury. Still not sure how fast to run? Click here for a quick guide to pacing (also handy for those business trips when the treadmill is the only option).


Are you new to interval workouts?

If you’ve never done interval workouts before, start at a slower pace and build your speed up over the course of 3-4 weeks. Even running just a little faster than your weekend long run pace will improve your power and speed. If you’re primarily used to steady runs, getting used to the interval workout is of great importance.  The focus should be adapting to repeats of short periods at higher intensity, followed by short periods of rest.