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Interval Training Burton

If you want to post a new 10K personal best, run faster for longer on the pitch or vaporise your love handles, then look no further than interval training. This involves running at a faster-than-normal pace for a set amount of time before slowing down to recover, then repeating this pattern. Boost your cardio fitness with these high-intensity workouts.

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Interval Training

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If you want to post a new 10K personal best, run faster for longer on the pitch or vaporise your love handles, then look no further than interval training. This involves running at a faster-than-normal pace for a set amount of time before slowing down to recover, then repeating this pattern.

There are numerous advantages to these sessions compared with sustained running at a constant speed. The first is that it forces you out of your comfort zone, so your lungs have to work harder, which leads to improved cardiovascular fitness. Another is that you can run close to your top speed for longer because interval training teaches your muscles to better deal with lactic acid, a performance-hampering by-product of exercise. And because interval training increases your heart rate more than steady-state running, it burns more calories and helps you lose fat.

Below you'll three interval sessions to add to your training programme.

Pyramid training

Great for: Burning fat

Pyramid training involves gradually increasing the duration at which you run at a high intensity before peaking and then working back down.

5min warm-up

30sec high intensity, 60sec low intensity

45sec high intensity, 60sec low intensity

60sec high intensity, 60sec low intensity

90sec high intensity, 60sec low intensity

60sec high intensity, 60sec low intensity

45sec high intensity, 60sec low intensity

30sec high intensity, 60sec low intensity

5min warm-down


Sport-specific training

Great for: Improving match fitness

This interval session is perfect for improving your ability to run in short, sharp bursts over and over again, which is required by many team sports including football and rugby.

5min warm-up

2min moderate intensity, 2min low intensity

30sec high intensity, 30sec low intensity (repeat three times)

10sec sprint, 90sec low intensity (repeat six times)

30sec high intensity, 30sec low intensity (repeat three times)

2min moderate intensity, 2min low intensity
10sec sprint, 90sec low intensity (repeat six times)
5min warm-down

Fartlek intervals

Great for: Spicing up your regular run

Fartlek is Swedish for 'speed play'. Unlike other forms of interval training, which have pre-determined time limits, in Fartlek sessions you run at varying intensities for different lengths of time. This keeps your body guessing at what's coming next, forcing your heart, lungs and muscles to work harder and leading to improved fitness.

5min warm-up
… and then go with the flow. If you spot a lamppost, tree or another runner in the distance, run hard until you get to them before reducing your speed to recover. Then aim for another landmark and run fast to it. The beauty of Fartlek training is that you can make it as hard or easy as you want, and it makes the extremely familiar sights of your normal run a little more rewarding.

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Read more from Mens Fitness: Interval training

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