Posts Tagged ‘interval training’

Interval training advice from A Woman’s Guide to Muscle and Strength

Some years ago before a meniscus tear curtailed my jogging, my friend Jack and I set out for a run in East Hampton.

Jack, a well-trained triathlete, quickly got ahead of me, so he easily adapted his run into a fartlek, the Swedish term for Speed Play.

He ran hard for a few hundred yards, then jogged the next few hundred as he waited for me to plod along and catch up.

A fartlek is a less structured way of doing interval training.

Interval training involves higher-intensity exercise followed by recovery periods in a very specific time frame.

“The purpose of performing short bouts of high-intensity exercise is to reach overload, or uncomfortable intensity levels, throughout your training routines,” writes personal trainer Irene Lewis-McCormick in her new book A Woman’s Guide to Muscle and Strength.

“Obviously, it would be impossible to exercise at such high intensity levels for an entire 30-minute workout.

This is why there are built-in rest periods – not enough to allow you to fully recover, but enough to challenge you appropriately during these quick-paced, time-efficient workouts.”

In the book, Lewis-McCormick provides examples of work-to-rest ratios, that is, how long you exercise compared to how long you recover.

For example, she provides a sample for a 1:1 work-to-rest ratio:

Treadmill: Alternate 5 minutes of running (at 5 mph, or 8 km/h, or faster) with 5 minutes of walking (at 3.5 to 4 mph, or 5.6 to 6.4 km/h) for a total of 30 to 45 minutes.

Elliptical trainer: Alternate 2 minutes at a high intensity (as hard as you can work while still maintaining good form, posture, and control) with 2 minutes at a moderate intensity for a total of 30 to 45 minutes.

You can change the intervals to suit your needs or how you feel on a particular day.

Perhaps you exercise twice or three times as long as you rest.

Or if you’re not feeling in top shape, switch to twice as much rest as exercise.

“Most important with interval training is to remain consistent,” she writes.

“If you decide to run on the treadmill at a 2:1 work-to-rest ratio, you need to stay true to the intervals and not decide halfway through that you need more time to rest or can wait another minute.

The training benefit comes from the overload that results from the consistency of the ratios.

For example, if you decide that the hard part will take two minutes and your recovery will take one minute, stick with that routine during the entire workout to the best of your ability.”

If you’re more into fartlek sessions, which are designed to break up the monotony of interval training on a track, try these The Top 6 Favourite Fartlek Sessions.

As I recall, Jack and I finished our run, both satisfied with our workouts.

With less cartilage and more arthritis in my right knee, my aerobic training is now limited to the exercycle, where I do 30 minutes of interval training, usually at a 1:1 ratio: after 5 minutes of warm-up at a slow pace, I go hard for 5 minutes, then easy for the next 5, hard for 5, easy for 5, ending with another 5 minutes of cool-down.