The Magic of Interval Training for Beginners

Why start an interval training for beginners program?  Whether you are an experienced runner or a beginner, interval training will take your running to the next level.  It is the smartest way to increase your mileage and speed.  I was blown away with how quickly my running had improved in a matter of a week.


Most Common Misconception of Running

The best way to increase distance is slowly with frequent weekly runs.


Who has time for that?  The smart way, especially if you’re interval training for beginners, is to mix regular runners with interval training.  And don’t for get to include a couple of days off to rest.

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Why Add Interval Training into your workout?

-         Increase your cardiovascular fitness which means you’ll be able to run longer and faster.

-         Become a stronger runner.  Running will be easier for you (which hopefully means more enjoyable).

-         Reduce boredom – alternate between long runs and interval training.

-         Since interval training gets your heart rate up higher than just plain running you’ll burn more calories both while working out and afterwards.  This is great if you’re looking to lose weight. 

The Down Side of Interval Training?

-         Increase of appetite at first because you’re speeding up your metabolism.  This counter-balances the whole weight loss claim but eventually your body will adjust.

-         Fatigue and sore muscles especially if you use an incline.  This too will pass.


The Best Interval Training for Beginners

I have included a similar program in the article half marathon running tips but these ones are make especially for beginners.  I classify a beginner as someone who has a difficult time running for more than 10-15 minutes straight with out a walking break.

Like with any exercise program please consultant your doctor and regardless if you’re a beginner or a pro always listen to your body.  If you’re feeling lightheaded please stop. 

  • Interval Training Session 1:  20 minute session with no incline for someone who is running at 5 miles (8 km) per hour.    Warm up by walking at a brisk pace of 4 miles (6.4 km) or greater for the first three minutes.  Bring the pace up to 6 miles (9.7 km) for the fourth minute.  For the fifth minute resume same walking pace of 4 miles (6.4 km) or greater.  Keep alternating between the two for 20 minutes.  Don’t forget to include a few minutes of a cool down at a walking pace.  If you find the speed too slow (or fast) adjust accordingly.
  • Interval Training Session 2:  21 minute session for someone who is already running at 5 miles (8 km) per hour.  Warm up for about three minutes at a brisk pace of 4 miles (6.4 km) or greater per hour.  At the four minute mark increase the speed to 5.5 miles (8.9 km) per hour and run for three minutes.  At the six minute mark resume back to walking at a brisk pace but this time increase the incline to 5 (or an incline that challenges you) and walk for three minutes.  At the nine minute mark go back to 5.5 miles (8.9 km) per hour run and lower the incline.  Alternate between sets until the 18 minute mark and use a three minute cool down (minimum).  I personally found the sets with the walking incline more of challenging.  If you find the speed too slow (or fast) adjust accordingly.

Last words of advice for interval training for beginners:  Do not get discouraged if you find it difficult to interval training at first.  If you find the above session difficult, slow down the pace or decrease your session to 10 minutes.  Remember that the goal of interval training is to alternate between high bursts of energy and low recovering speed.

Click here for ideas to compliment your interval training for beginners.