If you want to increase your endurance, running intervals is a great way to do it. If you’re like me, phrases like “Interval Workout” and “Tempo Run” sound too much like incorporating math into running. And it is a little, but thanks to active.com, I found a way to set up a program for yourself.
Why are they called intervals? Because “the workout involves short, intense intervals followed by a period of rest, and takes into account this work-to-rest ratio.” The trick is to find a speed that pushes you during the intervals and a period of rest that lets your heart rate slow down enough to continue the rest of the workout. That will just take a little playing around. I generally rest 60 to 90 seconds at the most between reps.
Active.com breaks it down a bit more. After you do a warm-up run (usually 5-10 minutes) and stretch anything needed, follow this pattern:
One minute hard followed by one minute off, or 30 seconds hard followed by 30 seconds off. Repeat these intervals three to four times, and then take a two-minute break. Repeat that set two to three times for a total of five to 10 minutes of hard effort.
An example workout would be:
4 x [1 minute hard + 1 minute off or easy]
Repeat 2 more times
Total work minutes: 12
Total rest minutes: 16 (including the rest between sets)
You will know that you are getting the maximum benefit if you have to work extremely hard by the end of every interval and have given all you’ve got by the end of the third set.
I often run sets of 800’s, taking a 90 second break between each set. If I’m going to do 6 of them, I’ll take a 2 minute break after the first 3. And, as much as I generally dislike it, I also do about a 10 minute/1 mile cool-down at a much slower pace at the very end. I’ve found these to help me increase speed and endurance overall. Plus, it’s a nice way to break up my work-out, especially if I have to be on a treadmill!