Why You Should Be Doing Interval Training to Lose Weight

A woman and a man running intervals outside

Interval training is growing in popularity and is considered to be one of the most effective training methods. Particularly in competitive sports, interval training is used to enhance physical performance. But it also offers many benefits for recreational runners and beginners. The main thing is to choose the right intervals. In today’s blog post, we show you what the best intervals for you are and why you should definitely include interval training in your routine.

A woman running outside

What are interval runs?

Interval training is a type of training in which short periods of high-intensity work alternate with less-intense recovery periods. By adjusting the individual intervals, you can easily control the difficulty of the session. There are two ways to do this: by the duration or intensity of the work and recovery periods, and by the total number of intervals. When you change one of these parameters, you also change the stress on your body.

Weight loss through interval training

The high intensity of the work periods increases the training stimulus experienced by your muscles. In this way, you achieve a much greater training effect in the same amount of time as a moderate distance run. One of the biggest advantages is that you burn tons of calories in a relatively short time.  Your muscles require a lot of energy after the intense workout for the recovery and regeneration process. Due to the “afterburn effect,” your metabolism remains elevated after your workout and you continue to burn additional calories.

What should your run intervals look like?

Interval training is usually considered to be a high-intensity and extremely strenuous training method. That is why it is often mistakenly assumed that interval runs are only for advanced runners. But aerobic intervals, as they are called, offer beginning runners an excellent opportunity to benefit from the many positive effects of an interval training session.

A group of people running outside

The right way to do intervals:

Warm-up:

Because the work period of the intervals puts a lot of strain on your muscles you have to warm up properly. A moderate 10-15 minute run is enough to warm up your body and prevent injuries. You should choose a pace where you can carry on a conversation without difficulty.

Intervals:

The work period lasts 15 seconds. You should run at a submaximal sprint (90% of your maximal sprint) or, in other words, not quite full speed. This is followed by a recovery period consisting of 45 seconds of slow walking. The whole session lasts 15 minutes, meaning you run 15 intervals in total. 

Cool-down:

After the last interval, you should walk slowly for ten minutes.

It is important that you don’t overdo it when running intervals. Make sure to rest for one or two days after the session before doing your next workout. At the start, running intervals once a week is enough. Once you get used to it you can start doing 20-second work periods and 40-second recovery periods.

Our tip:
If you don’t want to be constantly checking your watch while running intervals, then try out the Interval Training feature on the Runtastic app. Besides expert-designed Training Plans, you can also put together your own customized interval training program. The Voice Coach guides you through your workout and tells you when to start each work and recovery period. 

Runtastic screenshots

The Runtastic app also offers another exciting and varied opportunity for interval training: Story Running. As part of different stories – covering genres such as adventure, fantasy or motivation – you basically complete an intense interval training session without knowing it.

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Herwig Natmessnig As a former professional athlete (whitewater slalom), Herwig lives for fitness. Whether in competition or just for fun, he can never turn down a challenge. View all posts by Herwig Natmessnig »

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