Building Endurance with Interval Training

We’ve already covered why strength training is essential to improving your overall fitness and performance on the pavement. But if you want to work on increasing speed, you should also incorporate some form of interval training into your workouts. A recent piece for the New York Times actually suggests replacing one of your training day runs with something called 10-20-30 interval training. The idea here is to replicate the benefits of high intensity interval training into a shortened period of time, while still putting your body through the appropriate amount of stress it needs to really grow and get stronger.

To start, begin with a simple warm-up jog. The article suggest three minutes, but if you can go up to a mile if it’s comfortable. Then begin the first circuit: 30 seconds of jogging, 20 seconds of running, and 10 seconds of an all-out sprint. Go as fast as you can, as hard as you can; pick a spot in the distance and get there. Then repeat the circuit five times (5 minutes). Take a two minute rest (slow walk, jog, whatever— but keep moving!), and then complete the circuit again. If you’re an advanced runner, try for it a third time. The goal here is to nail those sprints, so make sure the workout revolves around that particular aspect. In total, the workout should only last about 20 minutes.

You can also incorporate fartlek training into your regimen. Sure, it has a funny name… but it can work wonders on your body and your performance. It’s Swedish for “speed play”, and there are several variations and methods of the technique. But at it’s most basic it remains true to its name. During your run, you experiment with varying speeds and tempos— slower paces followed by large bursts of speed of various degrees. There’s so much written on the fartlek, but I’d suggest starting with the Runner’s World introduction and articles.

from Emmanuel Garcia Cross Country


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