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Interval training is not as bad you may think it is. Well, it can be quite tough when you start. Fortunately, it just makes you work out very hard for a few minutes before you can take a break. And it’s a kind of training that, unlike most people think, isn’t dangerous. In several places, interval training is used in cardiac rehabilitation to get patients in much better shape in a short period of time.
Interval training is a quicker way to exercise. You will work out quite hard for a shorter period and then you’ll be able to pause and pick up your rhythm. Then you repeat hard interval and break. In this article, we will show you how to keep on going until you’ve completed the number of intervals you want.
Ensure that you warm up correctly. It should take you at least 10 minutes so that you know that you are thoroughly prepared, not only physically but also mentally because you’ll start right away.
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 for the first part!
You start it immediately after warming up. You are already exercising hard but now it’s time to slightly increase it.
During the first 60 seconds of the training, increase the speed evenly. This way, you’ll be going at a speed/training intensity that you think you can manage to last until is over.
You’ll have to last no less than 2 minutes. It’s up to you to decide, but I wouldn’t recommend less than that. 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.
The pulse is already quite high (80 – 85% of max) when you start the interval. It won’t get much higher, but after a little minute of work, the pulse must have risen to 90% of the pulse rate.
Try to keep this pace and heart rate in the remaining time until the break. If you’re going with two-minute intervals, you spend about one minute working out the pulse from about 80% (as you had in the warm-up) and up to about 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 acid that bothered you and 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. The longer the intervals, the longer the pauses. My recommendation is that you should never have breaks that are shorter than two minutes. This way, you’ll get time to “really relax” and to speed up gradually before the new interval arrives.
What you do during the break is perhaps the most crucial thing for the interval training to be optimal.
If you stop completely or calmly before starting a new interval, you will spend more time to get the same heart rate and pace. If this happens and you’ve done two-minute intervals, the interval is actually done before you actually get the pulse and speed you should have.
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 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.
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 that.
% of max
This article was originally written by Halvor Lauvstad
Secretary-General of Norway Skøyteforbund
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