There are tons of reasons runners should incorporate interval training into their workouts, not only to diminish belly fat but to also increase speed, save time, and build up endurance. Before hopping on the interval training train, be sure to avoid these mistakes to prevent injury and get the best workout you can.
Doing Too Much Too Soon
If you've never done speed intervals before, it's not the best idea to start doing two-minute sprints like you're a starving cheetah trying to catch a meal. The muscles used for sprinting are different than those used for long distance, so you need to train them safely. Start off with 10-second sprints at a moderate pace, and gradually pick up the speed and duration of your sprints. Eventually, these speed intervals will be super high intensity. You want to work so hard that you feel the burn and are huffing and puffing, but not so much that you feel out of control and need to stop running altogether.
Since you're working much harder during the actual workout than you normally do on a relaxing five-mile run, it's OK to shorten the duration of your run. If you're worried about burning as many calories, remember that although you're decreasing the time and mileage, you're making up for it in intensity.
Recovery Time No-No
We all want to get in a good workout, but your recovery intervals are not the time to run slightly slower than your sprinting intervals — you should run much slower. Don't be concerned with keeping your heart rate up — use your recovery time to give your heart, lungs, and muscles a break. Be sure to carve out enough time for those recovery intervals, because if you don't give your body the rest time it needs, you won't be able to push as hard as you want to during the speed intervals.
Same Interval Workout, Different Day
Interval training is one way to prevent workout plateaus, but not if you do the exact same interval workout every time. Keep your muscles guessing to prevent hitting that dreaded wall, as well as to avoid overuse injury, by varying the pace and duration of your speed intervals. Use incline to beef up the intensity, and remember that interval training isn't just for running. Check out the interval workouts below if you need some new ideas.
- Walking and Running Treadmill Workout
- 400-Calorie Tush-Toning Treadmill Hill Workout
- Elliptical Interval Workout
- Swimming Interval Workout
- 30 Minutes of Intervals on the Bike