Interval Training Versus Running

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We all know that cardio is an important factor in our workout routine.  It helps keep the heart rate up, metabolism rocking high and makes for a great feeling afterwards (even though we mostly curse at it before and during it).  What many people do not know, is that there are different ways to get your cardio in other than getting onto the treadmill, elliptical, stair master, etc. and just run, step, or pedal for what seems like forever.  One of the most effective ways to burn calories faster, keep the heart rate up, and to challenge the body is do what is called interval training.

I know from personal experience that sometimes running on the treadmill for 30 minutes feels like it takes forever, and seems like it takes up too much of your day.  An alternative to running for long periods of time is to do intervals.  This will save time, make cardio more enjoyable, and helps challenge the body to new heights.  Now what do intervals consist of you ask, I will break it down for you.  Intervals are simply doing the cardio part for a certain amount of time, rest, and repeat.

Speed of the cardio should consist of a fast jog or a sprint, depending on your ability level.  Resting part of intervals can be anywhere from a walk, jog, or simply jumping onto the sides of the treadmill for a certain amount of time.  You simply repeat that process for as many times as desired.  Best part about intervals, is that it literally cuts the amount of time one does the cardio in half, while still burning the same amount of calories, and is still challenging at the same time.

I know it does sound confusing, but below I have broken it down into ability levels, different interval routines, and the differences between running on a treadmill compared to intervals.  Now there is a progression on intervals, so make sure not to overdo it.  These can be both fun and a change of pace of what you may be used to.  I say try it out, and let me know if you have any questions about them.

Level 1 – Run 10 seconds, rest 20 seconds, repeat 20 times (10 minutes).
Level 2 - Run 15 seconds, rest 15 seconds, repeat 20 times (10 minutes).
Level 3 – Run 20 seconds, rest 10 seconds, repeat 20 times (10 minutes).

Now you can adjust the amount of times you repeat it or the length of time you run, but starting off with 10 minutes is a good start.

Calorie breakdown between running and intervals for a 165 lb male:

Running at 6.0 miles per hour at 30 minutes at an incline of 0 = 450 calories.

Interval running at 7.5 mph for 15 seconds, jog  4.5 mph for 15 seconds, repeat for 20 minutes at an incline of 0 = 450 calories.

Breakdown: Same amount of calories burned in less time while performing intervals.  Nice little change to your usual cardio routine.

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