Interval training is a combination of increased effort and recovery periods (in this case 2-minute efforts with 2-minute recoveries). In order to increase your body’s capacity to distribute oxygen and improve your muscle endurance, you need to work a bit to elevate your heart rate and muscular effort. The result will be to teach your body and mind to run briskly, so that ultimately when you settle back down to your own personal (talking) pace you will be more comfortable and relaxed.
The 2-minute efforts may seem long because you’re not used to interval training, but it helps to focus on your arm action. Pump those arms forward and back during those intervals and your legs will follow. Relax and slow your arm action, and your pace will ease off comfortably as you recover.
Your brisk intervals should be faster than your recoveries! The idea is that you push your effort a bit, so it is not a full-sentence talking pace. Stay focused. Keep your stride short – try not to force a longer stride – just think “quick turnover” and as you get fitter and stronger, your increased stride will come without forcing it.
Enjoy your recoveries! You should feel tired after each brisk interval and will benefit from a recovery period. If you're taking your brisk interval at the same pace as your recovery interval, you are not pushing yourself hard enough. The 2-minute recoveries are yours to use as you feel. You may find you need to walk for the entire 2 minutes in order to recover for the next interval, or you may find you walk for a minute or so and then are ready to shuffle for the remainder of the 2-minute recovery. Make it your own as you feel.
Want to add more volume or days of training? Please know that you will experience good gains in fitness just by sticking to this program of 3 times per week.
Some of you may or may not already do more… If you’d like to do more, I’d suggest adding 1 additional easy running day similar to Day 2 in this program. Add it AFTER your longer run on Day 3.
I’d also strongly suggest adding strength and core exercises to your program which will improve your running by improving overall body strength, helping to prevent injury, and keeping you engaged with variety. If this interests you, I’d suggest adding a yoga or pilates class, a general fitness program at your local gym OR you can choose to follow “Coach Lynn’s Core” and do this at home on your own time.
Good stuff! You're all set.
When you've caught up on the detailed advice for this week, you're ready to get running.