Workout of the Week: Interval Training

30 Jan

Dear Interval Runs,

I am writing to profess my love to you. You are my favorite training run. When I see you on my race training calendar, my palms get sweaty and the butterflies in my tummy begin to flutter their wings. Why do I love you so much, you ask? Let me count the ways…

  • You help me get faster. If I want to set a new PR (personal record), I know that I must spend at least one day a week doing speedwork. As Hal says, “If you want to run at a fast pace, you need to train at a fast pace several days a week.” The idea is that you run your intervals faster than your goal race pace, so on race day your race pace feels comfy.
  • You make the time fly by. Interval runs are periods of fast running separated by periods of walking or jogging. When you have small, short goals to meet within a run, the workout goes by quickly.
  • I live for your “periods of walking or jogging”. It is much easier for me to give my all during the fast intervals when I know a glorious break awaits me at the end of each interval.
  • Quick and dirty, you get the job done. Interval runs allow you to burn large amounts of calories in a short amount of time which results in a very efficient, effective workout. You might feel like you are going to die at the end of each interval and you will probably be a sweaty mess, but it’ll be over before you know it.
  • You are so adaptable. Anyone can do speedwork, no matter the fitness level. The intervals should be done at a pace that is challenging for YOU. As your fitness improves, you can shorten the breaks in between or increase speed to continue challenging yourself. Intervals can also be adapted to any race distance. Rule of thumb: the shorter the race, the shorter and faster the intervals.

If you are new to running or if you’re training for your first race, interval workouts are not a necessity. BUT if you want to get faster, switch things up, or get a great workout in a short amount of time, you MUST try interval training.

I am preparing for my second interval workout this week. My training plan from this post alternates every other week between an interval run and a tempo run (tempo post coming soon). The intervals are 400-meters long and increase by one interval every other week. This week will be six 400-meter repeats most likely on the treadmill since STL weather is supposed to be horrendous.

It will go a little something like this…

Warm-up: 5 minute walk, speed 3.5, incline 5%

Interval: 400 meters, speed 8.0, incline 1%

Rest: 1-2 minutes walking, speed 4.0, incline 1%

*Repeat Interval and Rest sets 5 more times for a total of 6 sets*

Cool-down: 5 minute walk, speed 3.5, incline 1%


If you are lucky enough to have pleasant weather wherever you are, a track is a great place to do an interval workout because it is a flat, well-measured course.

JWD and I went to a bike expo and swap meet with some friends today. He got some cold-weather biking gear and I got a pink computer for my bike to tell me my pace, distance, etc. We also enjoyed the fleeting beautiful weather with a great long run. I hope you all enjoyed your weekend!

On tap for this week: a long overdue introduction to a fabulous new(ish) kitchen gadget and a little fur baby!

Happy Sunday and I’ll be back midweek. Thanks for reading 🙂


One Response to “Workout of the Week: Interval Training”

  1. emily February 2, 2011 at 11:21 am #

    I have a love-hate relationship with intervals. They are so hard, but they do work. I really noticed myself getting faster as I did them while training for last year’s half. 🙂

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