Many individual and group Zwift Run workouts consist of intervals. So what is interval training and why do we do it? Let’s look at how interval training will make you faster, fitter, and leaner–all in a shorter amount of time than other training methods.
You may already have come across the term “High-Intensity Interval Training” or HIIT. Although this is a relatively new buzzword, this kind of workout has been incorporated into training regimes for many years.
In essence, interval training involves repeated short periods of high-intensity activity followed by a period of rest. For runners, this means running fast, then running slower or walking, then repeating.
There are countless different types of interval training you can do, some based on time, some on distance. Here are a few examples:
You need to make sure you enter the event in the correct pace group so you are running with people of similar ability. This kind of training is always better when you have people alongside to keep you going!
In pace Group B for example, you might run 6x800m at 14kph with a recovery of 200m at 8.5kph between each one. If you need more recovery time, you simply slow your treadmill down further so it takes longer to cover the 200m recovery distance.
With individual workouts, the pace of each session is based on your pace settings in Zwift. You can manually alter these, or they will be automatically set for you based on your other runs.
If you are new to running you need to start sensibly to avoid injury or overexertion. The interval period should be shorter than the rest period by about half.
You might try running fast for 30 seconds and then recovering for 1 minute. Over time, the idea is to reduce the rest period and increase the high-intensity portion of the workout.
Interval training is not just for improving your speed and endurance over 5K or 10K distances. You can also use interval training to good effect in marathon training. Short, high-intensity sessions should be a part of your weekly plan, for the reasons listed above.
You can also build some longer intervals into your training. Tempo intervals are great for building endurance and speed over distance. Try running for 10 minutes at just over marathon or half marathon pace then recovering for between 5 and 10 minutes. Then repeat that over a one to two-hour session.
Interval training should take you out of your comfort zone. It’s very easy to settle into a regular routine of running 5k two or three times a week at a steady pace. But in order to improve, to get faster, to be able to run longer, you must push yourself to step out of that comfort zone.
Interval training will get your heart pumping to its max. It will get your legs moving faster and it will get your lungs bursting from your chest. But when you put in a huge effort, you are almost guaranteed huge rewards.