For today's Workout Review Wednesday I thought I would just share my insights on Interval Training because it is WAY different than what I was doing last year when I really let myself get into running.
I started running two years ago after biking really didn't do much for me. I initially chose biking because it was low impact and I could go far without exerting way too much, but I always felt like it was doing me no good. I loved stationary bikes because I could read while I worked out and that would help me pass an hour or two very quickly while taking time to up intensity with resistance and speed challenges.
Well, biking in the real world felt lame to me. I am not knocking people who do it. I just know I wasn't doing it on the right terrain or speed for myself to make it worth the while (at least that is what I think my problem was). I decided to try running instead. I bought real running shoes and tried to really build up how much I could run.
Two years ago, I could probably only run about a tenth of a mile before my "body" would give up. Now I know it was all in my head. Last year, when I started running again, I made it my goal to always run a mile. Then after I accomplished that, it was always two miles. I got up to three miles at a time last year before I got sick.
I would walk a mile to a certain point in the neighborhood, run to a certain point that I had mapped out to be about 3 miles, then walk the mile back. 5 miles of moving a day always seemed like a lot and I enjoyed it.
This year, when my Fit Buddy Amber asked me to run a 5K with her, I knew I wanted to do it. I used to run 3 miles all the time. Easy!
With this training, though, we have been doing intervals every week. I had always wanted to try intervals but never had the patience. I always thought running farther was the key. Even reading articles about how intervals are better for weight loss (and I just wanted to lose a few pounds), I still didn't try them.
Now I do intervals 5 days a week. I only distance run one day a week if I can get outside. Distance is always better outside, am I right? (:
I REALLY like intervals, though, and I didn't think I was going to. I always feel like they work me harder because I am not a sprinter, so higher intensity runs push me more, and I like that challenge. Intervals are great for runners of all ability levels because YOU can decide how long you want to do the intervals for. Just starting out? Do lower intensity runs/walks for only 30 seconds to a minute. Experienced runner? Trying running top speed for a minute, then recover at a slow jog. Eventually you can even work inclines into the workout if you're on a treadmill. Plus, intervals help treadmill running go by even faster.
For me, intervals are what I have really been missing to make myself a better runner all around. I highly recommend you start doing them, even if your first interval session is only 10 minutes long, I believe it is beneficial to you. I KNOW a lot of running magazines and trainers have their own interval routines you can try.
Again, make sure you consult a doctor before you start ANY TYPE of exercise/diet program to be sure it is for you! I cannot make that decision for you. Only YOU can decide you want to start, and, if you really do, you need the proper guidance only a physician can provide. Good luck!