When your times have flattened out and you just can't seem to get any faster, it's time to shelf your old training program and learn how to do interval training for running. Interval training works by alternating between sprinting and jogging to maximize your heart rate and build up your muscles. When you run normally, your muscles aren't subjected to the amount of strain they receive when you sprint. By combining your regular running with sprinting, you force these muscles to work and grow, which lets you run faster for a longer period of time. The length of the sprinting interval will depend on the event you are training for, but the process is similar for everyone.
Things you'll need:
- Heart monitor
- Start running at your normal training speed. This will get your legs and body warmed up to the training. Once you feel you are ready, begin the intervals.
- Increase your speed. You don't have to all-out sprint, but the faster you go the more effect the interval training will have. If you are just starting out with interval training, it may be best to hold back a little here until you get used to it. Run for several hundred meters or about a minute. If you are training for extremely long races, you can extend this interval's length but reduce the intensity.
- Start jogging. Don't walk because you don't want you muscles to completely shut down. Monitor your heart rate while you jog. When your heart rate drops below 120 or whatever number you decide, start the interval again.
- Repeat the interval process for the rest of your training session. Interval training for running works best when it is used every few days in combination with your normal training. Only doing interval training will make it difficult to race as you will not be used to running for twenty minutes or more without sprinting and jogging.