If you were given a formula to improve would you seize it? Most individuals would respond with a resounding yes, yet others may realize it requires some effort so trepidation may set in. Wherever you fall along the spectrum if its your athletic performance you wouldn’t mind improving please read on as the following may put you on the road to getting better. The formula we are talking about is interval training.
What is Interval Training?
Booker T. Washington once wrote, “Nothing ever comes to one, that is worth having, except as a result of hard work.” Interval training is indeed hard work. Interval training is the physical act of alternating short, high intensity bursts of speed with slower, recovery phases throughout a single workout. Interval workouts can be simple or highly sophisticated and structured training that is designed for an athlete based upon his or her sport and level of conditioning.
How It Works
Interval training works both the aerobic and the anaerobic systems. During high intensity efforts, the anaerobic system uses the energy stored in the muscles (glycogen) for short bursts of activity. The anaerobic metabolism works without oxygen, but the by-product is lactic acid. As lactic acid builds, the athlete enters oxygen debt (think about running for that morning bus and how it makes you feel out of breath). It is during the recovery phase (sitting down on the bus to catch your breath) that the heart and lungs work together to “pay back” this oxygen debt and break down the lactic acid. It is in this phase that the aerobic system kicks in, using oxygen to convert stored carbohydrates into energy. It’s thought that by performing high intensity intervals that produce lactic acid during practice, the body adapts and burns lactic acid more efficiently during exercise. This means that athletes can exercise at a higher intensity for a longer period of time before fatigue or pain slows them down. Or you could make a lot more of those bus runs for longer periods of time. Of course running to catch that bus is not a traditional workout, however the principle applies.