Two easy interval sessions for beginner runners

Not sure how to introduce speedwork to your running routine? Here's how to get started.

Experienced runners love to throw around terms and acronyms that can be intimidating to those who are new to the sport. Intervals and speedwork can sound daunting, and new runners often avoid tackling them until they’ve been logging regular miles–sometimes for years! But speedwork can be a game-changer in terms of your race results. While most of your runs should be run at an easy, conversational pace, shorter, faster sessions will help your legs (and your mind) get used to the faster paces required when racing. You’ll also boost your heart and lung efficiency, and switching things up will make your run fly by.

If you’ve been running regularly for six months and are injury-free, it’s safe to start incorporating short interval sessions into your training once a week, progressing to twice a week after a few months, provided you don’t develop any injuries. As you get more comfortable, you can add repeats or lengthen intervals. You can run intervals on the road, trails, track, or treadmill.

1.- Intro to intervals

This workout is perfect if you’re new to intervals, or finding your way back after a break from running. It can be tempting to run very hard in the first few seconds or minutes of your faster intervals, but aim to find a challenging pace that you can sustain through all five repeats. This may take practice, and don’t be discouraged if you don’t nail it on your first few tries. Feel free to run fewer (or more) repeats, or add more recovery time if needed.

Warm up by running very easy for five to 10 minutes (and walk breaks are OK).

Run at a moderate effort for one minute, then run or walk at a very easy pace for two minutes to recover. Repeat the three-minute interval cycle four more times.

Cool down by running easily or walking briskly for five to 10 minutes.

2.- Pick up the pace

Once you become comfortable with adding some speed to your training, level up with these harder intervals. Don’t worry about pace during your run–stay focused on your effort.

Warm up by running or walking at an easy pace for five to 10 minutes.

Run at a hard effort (almost as hard as you can go) for 30 seconds, then recover by running at a very easy pace (or walking) for 30 seconds. Repeat this one-minute interval cycle three more times, and finish by running at a very easy pace for two minutes.

Run at a hard effort for one minute, then run or walk very easy for one minute. Repeat this two-minute interval cycle two more times.

Cool down by running at a very easy pace (or walking) for five to 10 minutes.

Follow speedwork or a more challenging running day with a very easy session or a rest day.

posted Friday November 10th
by Keeley Milne