Running Intervals

Casall Trainer of Tomorrow Rebecca Hammel shares her best tips for making your run training more fun and more effective with interval training.

Most people have tried to run in their life. Some people start to love it, others come to hate it.  Those who do not fall in love with running usually say that it is because it´s boring and hard.  And yes, that can be true - but everything is hard in the beginning before it gets easy, remember that! However, you can be cured from the boredom quickly. How? The answer is to stop running the same route at the same pace as you always do and start to run intervals!

Why intervals are great​

  • Time efficient: 20-45 min is enough.
  • You will progress quickly and be able to run faster.
  • It stimulates muscle growth.
  • You don’t have time to think of anything else – just to put one foot in front of the other.
  • There are endless types of interval training sessions so you won’t get bored.
  • You can to intervals both outside and on a treadmill.

Things to think about before running intervals
 

  1. Never skip the warm up!​

Always start slower than you feel is a comfortable speed then gradually increase the speed during your warm up. Without a proper warm up the risk of injury increases and you will not be able to perform at your best during the session.

  1. Before the main session and after the warm up, prepare your body for a higher speed!​

Intervals is often performed at a much higher speed than your warm up. Therefore, you need to prepare your body further with (what I call) preparatory intervals to be able to perform your best. Preparatory intervals mean that you run for example 4x60s (rest 15s) and gradually increases the speed further.

  1. You should ALWAYS cool down!

If you want to give your body the best conditions for recovery, never skip the cool down. The body has been pushed out of its comfort zone and probably produced some lactic acid. To be able to work out again tomorrow and feel recovered you need to give the body some time to cool down and transport away the lactic acid. Otherwise your recovery time will be longer.

To inspire you, here are three types of interval sessions you can use!

 

HAMMELS LADDER INTERVALS– SPEED AND ENDURANCE FOCUS

  • Warm up: 10-15 min, increase speed gradually, start very slowly and end at your normal pace
  • Preparatory intervals: 4x60s (increase speed significant every 20 seconds), rest 10s.
  • Main session: (2 min, 90s, 75s, 60s, 45s, 30s) rest 20s between every interval.
    - after the last interval rest 3 min (running in a slow pace) then repeat it one more time.
  • Cool down: 5-7 min- slow down your speed gradually, walk the last minute.

    Total time: approximately 45 min

Tip! If you’re in a hurry just do the main session once!


SPEED INCREASE INTERVALS – ENDURANCE FOCUS

  • Warm up: 10-15 min, increase speed gradually, start very slow and end in your normal pace
  • Preparatory intervals: 4x60s (increase speed significant every 20 seconds), rest 10s.
  • Main session: 3x5 minutes where you increase speed every minute. Rest between every fifth minute session for 90s (walking).
  • ​Cool down: 5-7 min- slow down your speed gradually, walk the last minute.

    Total time: approximately 45 min

Tip! If you do the session on a treadmill you can choose to increase incline instead of speed and you have a hills interval session.


HAMMELS SPEED INTERVALS – SPEED FOCUS

  • Warm up: 10-15 min, increase speed gradually, start very slow and end in your normal pace
  • Preparatory intervals: 4x60s (increase speed significant every 20 seconds), rest 10s.
  • Main session: 5x60s – rest 20s, 5x40s – rest 15s, 5x20s rest 10s. Between every part rest 90s.
  • Cool down: 5-7 min- slow down your speed gradually, walk the last minute.

    Total time: approximately 45 min

Rebecca’s 3 tips to stay on track and keep your running motivation!


1. Set up a SMART goal to make it achievable.​
S
pecific (simple, sensible, significant). à Run 5K before first of July.
Measurable (meaningful and motivating). à Set up small goals on the road to the main goal and celebrate them when you reach them.
Achievable (attainable) à Plan for how to reach the goal, and get it in to your calendar.
Relevant (reasonable and realistic). à Customize the plan after your life and be realistic.
Time bound (time-based, time limited, timely). à Sign up for a 5K race in July.

2. Be persistent and never think that you won’t make it!
You mind is probably the most powerful thing you have and it controls you.  Therefore, you can’t afford to talk yourself down, because you brain listens to what you are saying. We humans think about 65,000 thoughts per day, of which 95% are the same as the previous day. That gives us about 3,500 new thoughts each day that can either build us stronger or slowly break us down.

3. Exercise something else sometimes, it won´t do any harm!
Sometimes you just get bored on your normal training routines, that’s fine. Do something else once or twice and get your motivation back. The risk is that you stop with all exercise and we don’t want that to happen! 

Don't forget to warm up to avoid and prevent injuries, visit our Foam roll Guide.