Interval training can make you fitter, faster.

Interval training can make you fitter, faster.

Interval training could be the key for everyday athletes to improve their physical fitness in a shorter amount of time.

A recent story from the Associated Press said studies are showing that more people are able to handle interval training – periods of intense exercise with rest periods between sets – than previously thought.

Research showed interval training can improve endurance, oxygen use, strength and speed at a greater rate than a normal exercise routine, according to the story.

It cautions that further research is needed before interval training can be widely recommended for elderly or less fit people. And regular exercisers need not ditch their normal routine for interval training.

But those that do push their bodies harder through interval training can build stronger muscles, said the experts quoted in the story. Traditional workouts involving exercising at a steady rate for a longer period of time don’t push the body enough, they said.

The story touts interval training as a way to get more fit in less time.

That’s definitely appealing to busy people who may find it hard to fit exercise into their days.

Many training programs for runners recommend a day of interval training or speed work each week. Although I’ve run for years, I never bothered with speed work until a couple of years ago.

Then I started following a marathon training program that recommends running just three days a week. But those days are intense, with one day of interval training, one day of a tempo run (a run at race pace or close to it), and a long run.

Although I don’t always follow this training program as faithfully as I’d like to, I have run my fastest races in the last few years. And it’s an ideal schedule for working parents like me.

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