Why I choose interval training instead of regular running on www.wantforwellness.com
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Why I choose interval training instead of regular running

I love running outdoors. In fact, after I moved out of the city to the countryside, I started to make an effort to become a little better at it. I simply love seeing the world flash by on my own accord, with the sun on my face. So I recently picked up running again and I decided to spice things up a little… This article tells you all about why I choose interval training instead of regular running!

 

On a personal note

I have to confess running as a sport has never been my forte. I guess this is once again proof that you don’t have to be especially good at something to enjoy doing it!

As I wasn’t fit to run during my pregnancy (and I wasn’t up for running for a long while after my emergency c-section) I felt it was finally time to pick up this old hobby again. I got me a new pair of running shoes, dug up some workout shorts with drawstrings* and decided to go for it.

* I had to switch the fashionable yoga leggings I usually wear at the gym for a pair of drawstring sweatpants twice now, to spare passers by from accidental mooning sessions. Don’t ever say I’m not a considerate neighbor 😉

Only this time, I decided to change things up a little. Instead of doing what I felt runners ‘should’ do – run continuously for a longer period of time – I decided to cater more to my personal strengths and weaknesses. The solution was simple: Practice interval training.

 

What is interval training

Literally, interval training means exercising by alternating periods of high and low intensity. For running this simply means you switch off running or sprinting at higher speeds, for walking or jogging at lower speeds. It generally opens up the possibility to exercise for a longer period of time at a more intense level.

 

What are the benefits of interval training over regular running

  • It actively challenges the heart-muscle, providing cardiovascular strength
  • It increases your muscle mass (anaerobic capabilities)
  • It allows you to burn more calories as your metabolism keeps operating at a higher rate even after you’re done, the so called “after-burn” effect
  • It can make your training more diverse, fun and challenging
  • It allows you to get a well-rounded workout (both aerobic and anaerobic) in a shorter period of time


Why I choose interval training over regular running

As I mentioned earlier, I decided to look into playing out my strengths – and thus, considering my weaknesses. One of my biggest problems while running has always been keeping up with my breathing. I was even misdiagnosed with exercise-induced asthma in my teens (which “miraculously” only showed it’s ugly face while running long distances, and not while swimming long distances). Somehow, my brain seems to have difficulties wrapping itself around the concept that it’s impossible to run comfortably when you breathe at every single footfall.

Conclusion: The only way for me to have a pleasant breathing rhythm while running is by counting, and focusing on breathing steadily. Even jogging goes all nice and well until I get distracted and I lose count. Then it’s either a case of walking it off with the hopes of starting over after a period of time, or crashing down panting at the side of the road, head like a tomato, lungs burning in exertion.

Interval training makes handling my breathing rhythm while running a lot easier. With designated bursts of speed – and more importantly, regular periods of rest in my run, I am able to focus on my breathing better and for a longer period of time.

It changed “Today wasn’t a good running day because I saw a pretty bird I and lost count of my breathing” to “I love running like this, I feel I’m finally making the improvement I’m looking for!

 

What an interval training could look like

Beginner
  • 5 minute walking warmup
  • Mild stretching
  • 10 cycles alternating 45 seconds of jogging, 90 seconds of walking (21 minutes total)
  • 5 minute walking cooldown
  • Elaborate stretching
Intermediate
  • 5 minute walking warmup
  • Mild stretching
  • 15 cycles of 30 seconds of sprinting, 120 seconds of jogging (35 minutes total)
  • 5 minute walking cooldown
  • Elaborate stretching

Please note that I am by no means a fitness expert and that it’s always advisable to ask a professional for advice on your training. These examples are based on my own current training and training examples I have found.

 

What I use to practice interval training

Mobile App: Simple Interval Timer (SIT)

This app is incredibly simple and does exactly what I want an interval app to do. You can enter the amount of sets/rotations you want to run, and then the duration of your action and break times. The app makes a beeping noise when you’re supposed to have a high intensity burst in your training, or when you should go at a slower pace. It also works excellently with other apps in the background.

Download SIT for IOS (free or payed)

Mobile App: Runkeeper

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Runkeeper is a lifesaver. When I’m out running in the woods, the map option shows me exactly where I am and in which direction I should run to get home again. What I also like is how it maps my route, distance, speed, elevation, and general fitness improvement.

Download Runkeeper for IOS or Android (free or payed)

Mobile App: Spotify

Music makes running more fun, and it helps me keep a steady pace. There are even a ton of handy runners playlists, sorted by BPM. I would advise getting a payed subscription, as the free version has a tendency to mix in songs you weren’t looking to head and it won’t allow you to download playlists to your phone (when your connection leaves you for a minute).

Download Spotify (free or payed)

Exercise headphones

I love my Philips exercise earbuds. They’ve lasted through countless hikes, runs, and fitness sessions without falter. The advantage of exercise headphones is that they keep your hearing-canals free, allowing you to hear third party noises (like traffic). Your ears will stay cool, rather than with those bulky headphones. And you also won’t feel any tickling or squishy noises in your ear when your feet hit the ground while running or hiking at a higher pace, like you would with inner-ear buds.

This article contains one or more affiliate links.

Would you consider doing interval training? Or have you booked success with it already?

 

Why I choose interval training instead of regular running on www.wantforwellness.com

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