Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Living the Intervals

Every athlete knows the term 'interval training'.  Most have been there done that and many do interval training as a regular part of their training.  It doesn't matter what your sport is, interval training can make you better.

 Basically interval training goes like this:  You do a good warm up and then, usually at a track, you do measured speed training.  A common interval training session is to do 400m or one lap of the track almost as fast as you can go and then go slower for a lap so your body can recover, then do the 400m speed lap again.  You do this for a set number of repeats based on your current fitness and ability.

The science behind interval training is sound and it is an excellent way to get faster.  You work and you rest, then you work again.  Now when you look at training it's all a matter of intervals.  Yep, everything you do is a variation of the same science.  If you lift weights you have to take a day of rest before you lift with the same muscles in order to give the muscles time to rest and recover.  The harder you workout the more recovery time you need.

The really successful athletes live by the interval rule.  No one, not a bodybuilder, a world class cyclist, a marathon runner, the list is endless, can break that interval rule and stay on top of their chosen sport.  They even take it a step further and so should the rest of us adult athletes.  It is human nature that when you do a super workout one day to be so pumped about it that you try to beat it the next day, but the smart thing is to rest after a really good workout and not try to best it for a couple of days.

A hard week of workouts should be followed by a lighter week of training just as a hard day should be followed by an easy or rest day.  The older you get the more important this "work-rest-work-rest" cycle becomes.  Because as we get older our bodies take longer to recover.

I talk to a lot of athletes form a lot of different sports and I often hear that usually when they get an injury they were really doing good and improving by leaps and bounds. Then they neglected the interval of easy and rest.

When you plan your week it's a good idea to keep the interval method in mind and don't schedule back to back hard workouts.  It's also a good idea to schedule an easy week a month, a couple of easy months in a year.....listen to your body and it will tell you volumes, never be afraid to change your schedule and go easy for a few days if your starting to get run down.

Thanks for reading.

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