This article is an example provided by Jessi Stensland for Active.com. Jessi is a professional Triathlete and has produced videos on movement efficiency and true athleticism.
Interval training is a great way to help you achieve specific improvements as you work to reach your true potential.
Here is a great example of an interval progression with a basic premise that can be applied to any endurance sport. This example has 2 goals that are key to increasing your capacity to do work when you train and race. 1. Increase anaerobic threshold 2. Increase leg speed By improving both of the above, you will increase your endurance for longer distances. The workout involves short intense intervals followed by a period of rest and takes into account this work-to-rest ratio. As your fitness increases over time, intervals will get longer and the rest needed will get shorter.
Choosing your speed: Want intense intervals that take you very close to your maximum for each interval. Choosing your rest: take enough to be able to continue to perform hard intervals well throughout the set.
The Workout Start with a dynamic warm-up of about 5 minutes easy of whatever sport you're doing and begin the workout with a 1 to 1 work-to-rest ratio. Example: 1 minute hard work and 1 minute off or 30 seconds on and 30 seconds off. Repeat the interval 3 or 4 times. Take a 2 minute break. Repeat the set 2 to 3 times for a total of 5 to 10 minutes of hard effort.
An example: 4x[1 minutes hard + 1 minute off/easy] 2 minute break Repeat 2 more times Total Work Minutes: 12 Total Rest Minutes: 16 (including rest between sets) You will know you're getting maximum benefit if you have to work extremely hard by the end of every interval and have given all you have by the end of the third set.
How Your Workout Progresses Do this workout once a week. Each time try to decrease the work-to-rest ratio. Doing 12 minutes of work, the following would be a sample progression:
2x[2minutes hard + 1 minute off/easy] 2 minute break 2x[2minutes hard + 1 minute off/easy] 2 minute break 4x[1 minute hard + 1 minutes off/easy] Total Work Minutes: 12 Total Rest Minutes: 12 And then.......... 4x[2 minutes hard + 30 seconds off/easy] 2 minute break 4x[1 minute hard + 1 min off/easy] Total Work Minutes: 12 Total Rest Minutes: 8 And then.......... 6x[2 minutes hard + 1 minute easy/off] Total Work Minutes: 12 Total Rest Minutes: 6 And then............ 4x[3 minutes hard + 1 minute easy/off] Total Work Minutes: 12 Total Rest Minutes: 4 And so on.............. In order to maintain a high level of intensity the maximum interval in this progression would be 4 minutes of work. You may also adjust the work-to-rest intervals in 30-second increments instead of 1 minute increments. Interval workouts like this will have a positive affect on your longer runs, rides or swims, including lower heart rates and faster paces for the same time and distances. Enjoy! I hope this helps explain intervals to you. It certainly did it for me.
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