When it comes to running, exercise tips are in no short supply. So we'll keep it simple and get right down to why your running plan should always include this important component: intervals. Whether you've just started running or you have more miles under your belt than you can count, there's never a bad time to integrate running intervals into your training plan.
A common misconception is that intervals are only for track stars or elite marathoners, but you don't have to be Usain Bolt to reap the benefits of a weekly interval session.
So what is interval running? Essentially it is a quick, high intensity effort followed by easy jogging. The length of each interval and the number of repetitions is up to you, which makes interval sessions perfect for the busy runner who might not have time for an hour-long treadmill session.
For example, if you're training for a virtual 5k, this article from the Herald suggests 4 minutes of hard running (meaning you should push yourself to run faster than your normal 5k pace), followed by 2-3 minutes of a slow jog. You can then repeat this cycle 5 times for a full workout.
With most treadmills even having an interval setting, you can explore many different lengths and types of intervals, making it a great option for those days when you just don't feel like pounding out yet another typical run on the machine.
But most importantly, why should you make an effort to include intervals in your training plan? Well, other than being an exciting way to mix up the classic daily run, intervals will make you faster! Your body works harder during the high intensity parts of the interval, and then recovers during the "slow jog" portions. This allows you to get your muscles used to running faster, so that eventually you can hit that goal race pace.
So, whether you're bored with your current training plan, you're looking to gain a little speed, or you've hit a plateau and need a little extra something to reach your next running goal, running intervals is the answer.