Intervals are my favorite type of running workout. I’ll pick intervals over tempos any day. Intervals, to me, aren’t boring like tempos and sometimes, long runs. When you are running long, you are usually doing it at a steady pace, mile after mile. And unless you are running somewhere absolutely beautiful or with a friend, it can get super boring. The same with tempos, except for most of the time they are excruciatingly painful. Repeat a somewhat steady but fast pace, mile after mile.
Intervals, on the other hand, are fast paced and SHORT. Well, some of them are. You are probably wondering why I am even a runner when I am completely bad mouthing long runs (a runner’s heaven?) or any type of run for that matter. Don’t get me wrong, if I have a run scheduled (doesn’t matter what kind of run), I am running it. Whether its a tempo, an easy run… you get my drift. But intervals? They’re my favorite! You can now call me crazy.
If you are a serious runner, and want to PR, I absolutely, positively, think you should be adding speed work to your training plan if you haven’t already. I 100% believe that my weekly speed workouts helped me achieve a MASSIVE PR at the Long Branch Half Marathon a few weeks ago.
In my opinion, and from every Runner’s World or website I have read and absorbed in the past, these are some of the benefits of incorporating speed work into your training plan.
1- Become super speedy (this is relative to the individual)
2- Major fat burn– You read it everywhere now. High intensity interval training (HIIT) are just as beneficial, if not more, than running longer distances at a slower pace when it comes to wanting to lose weight. Interval training helps to burn more calories than exercising at a steady, slow pace.
3- Build up of lactic acid is a good thing- “It’s thought that by performing high intensity intervals that produce lactic acid during practice, the body adapts and burns lactic acid more efficiently during exercise. This means athletes can exercise at a higher intensity for a longer period of time before fatigue or pain slows them down.” AKA running faster during your half marathon or marathon! (Source)
VERY IMPORTANT- These are primarily my OPINIONS. They are only “somewhat” backed up by research done by EXPERTS, again not me.
And because I love interval workouts sooooo much, I decided to share one I did recently. Paces vary by the individual. Longer intervals like 1200m and mile repeats can be done around 10k pace. The shorter intervals like 800m can be done at 5k pace. The shorter the interval, the faster the pace. If you just began running, focus on just running before incorporating any type of speed work into your training plan. Begin with short intervals (around 30 seconds) and increase pace, interval lengths, and number of intervals, over time.
What are your favorite interval workouts? PLEASE share!!