Wednesday, July 17, 2024

What Is Interval Running: Guide for Beginners

Are you tired of the same old cardio routine? If so, interval running might be the perfect solution for you. Interval running is a cardio exercise alternating between high-intensity and low-intensity recovery periods.

This exercise effectively burns fat, improves cardiovascular health, and increases endurance. This article will discuss interval running and how to incorporate it into your fitness routine.

What Is Interval Running? 

It is a type of cardio exercise that involves alternating between periods of high-intensity running and low-intensity recovery periods.

The high-intensity running periods are usually shorter and more intense, while the recovery periods are more extended and slower. This exercise can be done on a treadmill, a track, or outdoors.

Benefits of Interval Running

Interval running has been shown to have numerous health benefits, including

Burn More Calories:

It can help you burn more calories than steady-state cardio exercises because it requires more energy.

Increase Endurance:

It can help you build endurance by gradually increasing the time you spend running at a high intensity.

Improve Cardiovascular Health:

Interval running can help improve cardiovascular health by increasing heart rate and blood flow.


It is a time-efficient exercise as it can be completed in less time than traditional cardio exercises.

Interval Running Benefits

A Guide for Planning Your Interval Running

The most crucial aspects of establishing a suitable interval running program are planning the time spent in each interval, the number of intervals, and the weekly frequency. The ideal program is based on your training objectives and fitness level.

Aerobic Versus Anaerobic Training

With interval training, you can focus on various bodily energy systems according to your unique objectives. The aerobic and anaerobic systems are the primary energy sources during interval training.

Both systems always contribute energy, although the proportions of each system’s contribution vary depending on the chosen interval.

  • Enhanced cardiovascular system efficiency and increased endurance are two benefits of aerobic exercise.
  • Increased muscle growth, enhanced maximal power, and increased maximal speed are anaerobic benefits.

Beginner Interval Running Program

Your aerobic interval training will start when you use this beginner’s program. Increase your intensity to around 75% of your maximum effort for 30 seconds after your 5-minute light jogging warm-up.

  1. Jog slowly for another 30 seconds after the vital interval, then repeat thrice. Perform for four weeks, twice a week.
  2. Weekly, add a duty cycle. You should execute six total intervals every session, twice a week, in week 4.
  3. The overall workout time should be 11 minutes by week four, including your warmup.

Beginner Interval Running Workout

Utilizing this beginner’s program will kick off your aerobic interval training. After your 5-minute gentle jogging warm-up, increase your intensity for 30 seconds to around 75% of your maximal effort.

After the vigorous interval, jog slowly for 30 seconds, then repeat thrice. Perform twice weekly for four weeks.

Add a duty cycle every week. In week four, you should perform two sessions of six intervals each. By week four, your warmup and workout should last about 11 minutes.

Intermediate Interval Running Program

  • Finish a 5-minute warmup easy jog.
  • Run for 30 seconds at 75% of your maximum effort, then for 30 seconds at 25%.
  • Repeat three times, then take a one-minute break. That constitutes 1 cluster.
  • In week 1, add two more clusters to each session. Nine cycles will be spread across the week, divided into 3 clusters.
  • Three times per week, perform the exercise, adding an interval cycle to each cluster each time.

Advanced Interval Running Program

You will have completed eight weeks of interval running training by the time you complete the beginner and intermediate training plans.

At this stage, you can start an aerobic training program, maintain your fitness with the intermediate program, or continue to push your aerobic capacity with the advanced aerobic training program.

For the advanced program, you will start with three clusters of four cycles separated by intervals of 30 seconds.

You will add one more cluster per workout each week. By week four, you should be able to do 6 clusters of 4 cycles, which will take around 30 minutes to complete, not counting warm-up.

Advanced interval Running Workout:

  • Run briskly for 5 minutes to warm up.
  • Run for 30 seconds at 75% of your maximum capacity, then for 30 seconds at 25%.
  • After four cycles of repetition, pause for 1 minute.
  • In week 1, complete three entire clusters. The exercises in Week 1 will consist of 12 cycles divided into 3 clusters.
  • Add a cluster to the three times you complete the program each week.

How To Incorporate Interval Running Into Your Fitness Routine

If you’re new to interval running, it’s essential to start slowly and gradually increasing the intensity and duration of your workouts.

Here are some tips for incorporating interval running into your fitness routine:


It’s essential to warm up before starting any exercise, including interval running. A warm-up should include dynamic stretches and light cardio exercises to prepare your muscles and joints for the workout.

Set Intervals:

Set intervals for your workout with a work-to-rest ratio of 2:1 or 1:1. For example, if you run at a high intensity for 30 seconds, rest for 15 seconds or 30 seconds, respectively.

Increase Intensity:

As you become more comfortable with interval running, gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts.

You can increase the duration of your high-intensity intervals, decrease the rest time, or increase the speed or incline on the treadmill.


After your workout, take some time to cool down and stretch your muscles to prevent injury and promote recovery.

The Bottom Line

Interval running is a highly effective cardio exercise that can help burn fat, increase endurance, and improve cardiovascular health.

It’s important to start slowly and gradually increase your workouts’ intensity and duration. Seek guidance from a certified personal trainer or fitness professional to ensure you’re performing interval running safely and effectively. 


Is Interval Running Good for Fat Loss? 

Yes, interval running is an effective method for fat loss. High-intensity intervals during the workout, increase your heart rate and metabolism, causing your body to burn more calories during and after exercise.

Interval running also helps to preserve muscle mass while burning fat, making it an effective method for achieving a leaner physique.

How Long Should Running Intervals Be? 

The length of running intervals depends on the individual’s fitness level and goals. A beginner may start with shorter intervals of 30 seconds to one minute and progress to longer intervals of up to three minutes.

The ideal length of intervals varies between 20 seconds to three minutes, with a rest period of 30 seconds to two minutes between each interval. The total length of the workout should be 20-30 minutes.

What Is Interval Running Good For? 

Interval running is beneficial for several reasons:

  1. Fat Loss: High-intensity intervals during the workout, increase metabolism, causing your body to burn more calories, leading to fat loss.
  2. Cardiovascular Health: Interval running effectively improves heart health and blood pressure.
  3. Endurance: The intervals increase endurance, allowing individuals to run for longer without tiring.
  4. Time Efficiency: Interval running is a time-efficient workout as it can be completed in less time than traditional cardio exercises.
  5. Muscular Endurance: Interval running also improves muscular endurance, allowing individuals to run faster for longer durations.

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