Need for speed?

I’m sure you’ve heard the buzz about the benefits of interval training.  Perhaps you have even incorporated some intervals into your regular workouts. 
For a runner, interval training is an ideal way to increase your speed and work on setting those PR’s.  Interval training basically consists of pre-set distances run at a race pace for the purpose of increasing the output of your legs, lungs, and body.  Many active runners set aside 1-3 days per week to do interval training because of its importance to a solid training regimen.  But even if you aren’t particularly concerned about fast, I find interval training is a great energy-booster!
This morning, I rediscovered this interval training plan from a past issue of Runner’s World (sorry- I don’t remember the issue or date, but I do know this comes from them!).  I do remember feeling invigorated the last (and only…oops!) time I did this workout so I gave it another try today.
It was still awesome!  I’m a little tired, but my workout for the day is out of the way.
Here is the workout – give it a try:
10 minute warm up run 
5 minute run with the treadmill at a 1% incline at a speed that hits 90 to 95% of your max heart rate
2 minute recovery run
Repeat twice (Minus the warm up and cool down, of course!)
10 minute cool down run 
What I like about his workout:
  • You can totally tailor it to meet your fitness level, time schedule, day, and/or current training schedule.  For example, my workout today, it’s been awhile since I have done this and I am gearing up for a 10K race tomorrow so I altered the workout to fit my needs.  It looked something like this – 10 minute warm up run at my normal 13:00 pace or slightly slower; 5 minute sprint at 1% incline; 2 minute recovery run; 3 minute sprint at 1% incline; 2 minute recovery run; 2 minute sprint at 1% incline; 10 minute cool down run at my normal 13:00 pace or slightly slower.
  • It takes about 30 to 45 minutes and the mileage ends up being about 1.5 – 2 miles.  Today I ran for 30 minutes/1.5 miles.
  •  It makes me feel like I really accomplished something – mainly speed!
  • You can do this workout anywhere – at home, at the gym, or outside if you don’t have a treadmill.
  • No time for a long run?  No problem!  You can also work it into your training and race schedule.
What makes it challenging for me:
  • It is on a treadmill, which tends to be boring anyway, but the workout is varied enough that I can stay focused.  How do I deal with it?  You can’t beat 30 minutes of calorie-blasting sprints with everything you need (incline, speed, and time) right at your very fingertips!  Or, if it’s nice, you can do your warm up and cool down runs outside.
  • A 5 minute sprint is a long time for me, especially more than once!  How do I deal with it?  Like any exercise, I always feel energized after I do it!  I know it is helping to make me faster.
  • I don’t have a heart rate monitor, but I can do it anyway!  How do I deal with it?  I know what my heart feels like when I am sprinting and I use my body to gauge whether I am slacking on the sprint or need to back off a little.   

Happy training and enjoy the weekend!


  1. I love interval training! =) happy weekend, girl!

  2. I don’t do any interval work so I may give this one a try.

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