Interval Training Basics

interval_training_sprinter-773796There are many different ways to improve your cardio for racing.  You could run on a treadmill or spin on a stationary bike for an hour.  But after a while, your body adepts to the workouts you put it though.  Therefore, for any program to be efficient, you must confuse the body and shock it into new training methods.  This is where interval training comes into picture.

So what is interval training?  It is basically a system of elevated heart rate “sprints” mixed with lower heart rate “recovery” sets.  The recovery time is where you continue to keep your heart rate going, just not as high as the sprinting.  This results in more efficient way to improve not only the aerobic, but also the anaerobic conditioning.  The difference between aerobic and anaerobic is that aerobic uses oxygen and anaerobic doesn’t.  That is why you get a burning sensation in your muscles when you have a period of high intensity; you reached your anaerobic zone, which produces lactic acid.

There are a couple of different zones to train in and each one produces different results.  However, to get an accurate range of each zone, you must first find your heart rate intervals.  To do this, use the Heart Rate Karvonen Formula:

Target Heart Rate = ((max HR − resting HR) × %Intensity) + resting HR

For example, my resting heart rate is 56 and I am 19 years old.

So I take my maximum heart rate: 220 – 19(age) = 201

201 – 56 = 145

Then plug the numbers into the equation:  (145 x 60%) + 56 = 143

So, at 60% of my maximum heart rate, I should be around 143 beats per minute (bpm).  Now that we know how to get our target heart zones, you should know what zone does:

Zone 1 is mostly recovery and uses fat as fuel.  The heart percentage is around 60%-70%.

Zone 2 is the Aerobic zone and burns mostly fat and some carbs and has a range of 70%-80%.

Zone 3 is the Anaerobic which uses half fat and half carbs.  Your bpm should be 80%-90%.

Zone 4 is your Threshold and burns carbs.  Your bpm should be 90%-100%.

This system allows you to get your body trained in less time and you still work both aerobic and anaerobic systems.  It is a very ingenious training program.  I’ll be posting some ways to use this in a few days so keep checking.


Posted on Jul 24 2009, under Training | No Comments »

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