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The Art of Interval Training: Boosting Speed and Endurance


So, you fancy yourself a runner, eh? Brilliant! Whether you’re fresh off the couch or a seasoned marathoner, there’s always room to kick it up a notch. And that’s where interval training enters the race. Get ready to be whisked away into the adrenaline-fueled world of sprints, recovery, and oh-so-satisfying progress!

Rev Up the Speed with Interval Training

Picture this: You’re on your usual run when a mischievous hare decides to challenge you to a race (It’s just a bit of fun, alright?). Could you keep up? If you’re pondering that one, we’ve got the perfect recipe to soup up your speed: Interval Training.

Tip #1: Start Small, Aim High

No one becomes Usain Bolt overnight (if only, eh?). So, remember to ease into your speed training. Start with short bursts of speed, say 20 to 30 seconds, followed by a recovery jog or walk. As your body adapts, you can gradually ramp up the intensity.

Tip #2: Consistency is Key

Consistency might sound a bit boring, but trust us, it’s your secret weapon for speed. Stick to a regular interval training schedule, and you’ll soon see improvements. Aim for at least one or two speed sessions per week.

Tip #3: Use the Environment

Who says you need a fancy gym to boost your speed? Get creative and use your surroundings. Running on different terrains or adding hill sprints can help build strength and increase speed. Plus, it’s a smashing way to enjoy the great outdoors!

Enjoy the fresh air and do your cardio outdoors

Build Unstoppable Endurance

Now, let’s not forget about our friend Mr. Tortoise. Remember how his steady, enduring pace won the day? Building endurance helps you go the distance and, just like our tortoise friend, interval training can get you there.

Tip #1: Lengthen Your Intervals

Just like you did with speed training, start with shorter intervals and gradually extend them. Only this time, focus on maintaining a consistent, manageable pace rather than going all out. Remember, you’re the tortoise, not the hare!

Tip #2: Don’t Skip the Recovery

Recovery periods are crucial in interval training. They give your body time to prepare for the next interval, allowing you to maintain a steady pace for longer. As personal trainer Mike Jones puts it, “Recovery in interval training isn’t a rest, it’s strategic reloading.”

Tip #3: Mix It Up

Adding variety to your training can help improve endurance. Try different types of interval training like Fartlek (Swedish for ‘speed play’), where you vary your pace throughout your run, or Pyramid intervals, where you increase, then decrease the length of your intervals.

Master the Balance

Now, if you’re sitting there scratching your head, wondering how on earth you’re meant to be both the hare and the tortoise, fear not! The key to interval training is balance. You’ll need to tailor your regimen to fit your goals, whether it’s running your first 5k or smashing a personal best in the marathon.

Whilst you are thinking about balance, why not also reap the benefits of using a balance ball to get your body in tip top shape for interval training. These are proven to be the secret weapon when it comes to adding flexibility and muscle strength to your running training.

We love this full Balance Ball kit from Mantra Sports over on Amazon that costs a very affordable £31.97 (what is it with Amazon and its odd prices?). It arrives next day (hoorah for Prime) and will take pride of place in your home gym. If nothing else, your kids will enjoy kicking it about!

Balance ball by mantra sports. Availible from Amazon for £31.97

Don’t take our word for it though. We spoke to a specialist running focussed personal trainer to understand their thoughts on the benefits of interval training.

“As a personal trainer, I cannot stress enough the benefits of interval training. Interval training pushes your body out of its comfort zone, forcing it to adapt and become more efficient. It’s a fantastic way to increase both your speed and endurance because it works multiple energy systems in one workout. This type of training allows you to achieve more in less time, making your workouts efficient and effective.

Emily Haines – Running Personal Trainer

She continued, “But it’s not just about physical performance. Interval training brings a fun, dynamic aspect to running that challenges you mentally as well. It keeps your mind engaged, breaks the monotony, and helps you develop a mental toughness that’s beneficial in all areas of life. It’s not just about running faster or longer, it’s about becoming the best version of yourself.”

And remember, interval training isn’t just about improving your physical performance. It’s a mental game, too. It’s about challenging yourself, pushing your boundaries, and yes, even having a bit of fun along the way. So, lace up those trainers, set your goals, and embark on the adventure that is interval training.

It’s time to embrace your inner hare and tortoise, and see just how far those legs can take you! Happy running!

Andy Barr
the authorAndy Barr
Editorial Lead
Andy was late arriving into the world of fitness, running and training. He did not really take up regular gym going until he was in his late 30's. He lost over 7 stone in weight since starting and completed an olympic length triathlon in June 2018. He enjoys playing football, boxing and outdoor running.

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