I am a reluctant runner. There is part of me that loves the running high, but as I age, my body does not love running. When I do run, I use the interval running technique.
Anyone can start an interval running program. In fact, it’s the perfect way to ease yourself into the world of running if you’re more of the couch potato-type. However, the intensity of your interval running training will be key. Taking off too fast, or too soon, can lead to injury. You need to start slow and build up your endurance.Road Runner Sports
Interval Running For Beginners
I was first introduced to interval running when I trained for the Honolulu Marathon in 2000 when I began to have both hip and knee problems during my training. Holy cow, has it actually been 20 years? WOW! From then on, interval running became my favorite way to run.
No matter your experience or running goals, interval workouts should be part of your routine. It offers runners a route to continuous improvement.Runners World Magazine
There are many suggested methods for interval running. The overall formula is quite simple. Run fast (according to your fitness level) for a short distance, then slow down for a bit to recover. Then do it again. Interval running is just that simple.
Studies show that interval running also helps minimize injury for both training and running longer distances like half and full marathons.
Related: How to Start Running
What to do in-between intervals
What you do between intervals depends on your fitness level as well as the goals of your workout.
Standing: This approach works well between short, fast reps for building speed and strength. It gives your muscles and joints a chance to rest and recover.
Walking: Newer runners can really benefit from walking between jogging or running intervals. This brings your heart rate down and helps keep your blood flowing to clear lactic acid and other waste products that can lead to cramping and
Jogging: If you are fit enough for a strong run taking it down to a jog keeps your heart rate up and extends the length of your workout (both distance and time) with less fatigue.
When I attended a fitness conference in 2014, I ran with a group to complete a 5K. We ran a 30/30 interval. We jogged for 30 seconds and walked for 30 seconds. I could not believe how quickly we ultimately finished and how good I felt considering I had not run in ages.
I also like a 60/60 split. When I am back into running shape, I typically aim for 4/1 split which is four minutes of running and 1 minute of walking. Give different intervals a try to see what feels good for you. I highly recommend the 30/30 option as a good way to start.
In the beginning, you want to focus on form rather than speed. Here is a great info/graphic to consider your form.
Interval Running with Good Form
Interval Treadmill Walking
If you are a true beginner, especially
With this approach, you use the treadmill’s incline function to vary the intensity of your workout. Start with a warm-up at the pace of a slow stroll. Then increase your speed to a slightly fast walk with an incline of 1. Increase the incline for short intervals up to 2.0 for one minute, then back to 0 to recover.
- Walk for 3:00 at 0 elevation
- Walk for 3:00 at 1 elevation
- Walk for 2:00 at 1.5 elevation
- Repeat intervals for 3 sets
- Walk for 3:00 at 0 elevation
As your fitness level improves, increase your elevation. For example, I now start at an elevation of 1.5 and bump up to a high of 6.0.
Easy Interval Running
After you try the 30/30 or 60/60 interval for a while, or just want to try something new, here is a great interval running for beginners workout:
Whether you’re new to interval training or running in general, you can change up your speed and time variables to create a wide variety of interval running workouts to continually advance your training. Getting started with treadmill running? Here is another great workout idea.