Interval training. These two words combined are enough to make some people faint but actually it’s not as bad as one may think it is – although it can be quite tough when you start. Unlike what most people think, interval training isn’t dangerous. In fact, recent studies suggest that it actually might help in cardiac rehabilitation.
Interval training is also less time consuming. Sure, you will work out quite hard but you’ll do it for a shorter period of time.
In this article, we will show you everything you need to know to improve your interval training game.
Make sure you warm up properly. Warming-up should take you at least 10 minutes. Only this way you know that you are thoroughly prepared, not only physically but also mentally because you’ll start right away.
Pulse and feeling during warming up
The pulse should rise steadily from normal pulse to about 80-85% of the pulse rate at the end of the warm-up. You should feel comfortable, breathing lightly, and warm. You are ready to start.
After warming up, you must start the training immediately. You’re going to increase the pace and rhythm.
During the first 60 seconds of the training, increase the speed consistently. This way, you’ll be going at a speed/training intensity that you think you can manage to last until is over.
Try two-minute workouts the first time you decide to do interval training. As you get better, you can increase the length of these intervals.
Pulse and feeling during interval training
The pulse by now is already quite high (80 – 85% of max) when you start this interval. It won’t get much higher, but after a minute of work, the pulse must have risen to 90% of the pulse rate.
Try to keep this pace in the remaining time until the break. If you’re going with two-minute intervals, you spend about one minute working out with the pulse around 80% (as you had in the warm-up) and up to 90%. You’ll be breathing heavily of course. Keep it like that until the break.
After each interval, you can have a break. This is important: during the break, keep your body running. DO NOT stop.
Take it lightly in the beginning, so that the lactic acids that made your muscles quite stiff gradually disappear. As the new round is approaching, start increasing slightly and increase the pace at the end of the break.
This will make you feel that you have full control and that you’re recovered, even though the pace is actually still quite high.
Again, you should be the one deciding how long the pause should be. But it should be related to the interval training length. This means that the longer the intervals, the longer the pauses. Our tip is that you should never have breaks that are shorter than two minutes.
What you do during the break is perhaps the most crucial thing for the interval training to be optimal.
If you stop completely, you will spend more time to get the same heart rate and pace.
Pulse and subjective feeling during the breaks
Since you are going to slow down in the first minute of the break (although you’re still moving!), the heart rate will fall quite a bit.
As the new round approaches, start increasing the place slightly so the pulse increases up to 70-80% of the max at the end of the break.
You can see the break as a short warm-up: quite calm at first and then gradually increasing in pace. By then you have just finished a high-intensity interval, so it’s normal you’re breathing heavily. Your legs will feel lighter after a moment in the break. Then, you’ll just have to increase the intensity carefully to feel totally fine.
After the interval training
Interval training is quite satisfying. You’ll increase effectiveness due to its characteristics. Interval training can burn a lot of calories and you’ll soon feel the effect of choosing this kind of physical training.
Suggestions for interval sessions
|WARM-UP||TIME||% OF MAX||BREAK||TOTAL TIME|
|10min||4 x 2min||85-90%||2min||25-30min|
|10min||4 x 3min||85-90%||2min||30-35min|
|10-15 min||4 x 4min||90-95%||3min||35-40min|
|10-15min||5 x 4min||90-95%||3min||40-45min|
This article was originally written by Halvor Lauvstad
Secretary-General of Norway Skøyteforbund