Interval Training for Endurance Athletes

One of the most common types of training these days is interval training.  The fitness industry has made this method of training very popular recently.  It’s important to understand why coaches and trainers prescribe interval workouts.  Our bodies are able to maximize the benefits of exercises in a short amount of time.  This is great, if managed properly, but can lead to overtraining and overuse injuries if not prescribed at the right times in a training program.

Phase 2: Interval Training

The goal of Phase 2 is to build the cardiorespiratory strength needed in Phase 3.  The only way to make positive changes in our current fitness level is by overloading the cardiorespiratory system.  We must challenge our current fitness level in short intervals followed by adequate recovery.  It’s important to note that the body adapts to the exercise induced stress during the recovery process.  If we do not give ourselves proper rest between intervals or between workouts, we’re not going to receive the desired benefit.

Endurance athlete intervals can be 3-4 minutes in length with a heart rate of 85-90% of HRmax. 

Workout Plan 3 day rotation

Day 1- Zone 1 (65-75%) 30-60 minute recovery workout

Day 2-
5-10 minutes Zone 1 – Dynamic Warm-up
30 minutes Zone 2 (80-85%)
5-10 minutes cool down Zone 1

Day 3-
5-10 minutes Zone 1 – Dynamic Warm-up
5 minute interval set comprised of:
3-4 minute Zone 3 (86-90%)
3-4 minute Zone 2
3-4 minute Zone 3
3-4 minute Zone 2
3-4 minute Zone 3
3-5 minutes Zone 1
Repeat set 2-3 times
Cool Down 5-10 minutes Zone 1

As your fitness begins to improve, your heart rate drops at the same rate after each Zone 3 sprint, you can remove the 3-5 minute Zone 1 recovery period.  Again monitor recovery between intervals to ensure you’re not training too hard and are able to recover into Zone 2 after each Zone 3 effort.

It’s important to check for sings of overtraining. Common sings of overtraining include: inability to reach training zones, inadequate sleep, feeling as though the workouts are draining you or that you’re dragging, and lack of feeling refreshed after the workout.  It’s important to use recovery days for recovery, not more training, to ensure you’re able to get the most out of your next workout.

Have questions about interval training and how it can help your endurance performance?  Give us a call or ask a MuvLab coach at your next workout. We look forward to helping you enhance your performance this spring and summer.