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How to program intervals

Interval training is a term tossed around within several forms of training: strength training, endurance training, metabolic training, run training, etc. It has previously been coined as HIIT or high intensity interval training although not all interval training is high intensity training. What is interval training? Interval training is essentially speed work at various tempos and intensities. A few types of interval training include hill sprints, fartleks, and general intervals. Hill sprints are found most frequently in KATHLETICS Trail. Hill sprints are just how they sound: sprints uphill. These are beneficial for both runners and hikers to increase speed over time and to get those climbin' legs. Hill sprints are often programmed as a certain number of sets at a duration and specific intensity with full recovery in between each set. For example: 6x15 sec at RPE 7. Full recovery between each sprint could take 1-3 minutes depending on the person. I always recommend completing a mobility warm-up followed by a jogging warm-up before hopping into hill sprints. No need to pull a hammie! Hill sprints are one of the easier forms of intervals to schedule into your week, as they are generally pretty short in duration (+/-20 minutes). Fartleks are unstructured intervals of speed work. This means intervals may not have a specific time range or distance. It could be based on how you feel or if you decide to run from one point to another. This could be as simple as random from one stop sign to the next without actually knowing the time or distance it will take to get there. Fartleks are seen in some of my programming with running clients. Intervals can also be named as a catch all for longer duration intervals, such as a 2-minute run, 1-minute walk or a 4-minutes run, 2-minute jog. These are less of a sprint and more of a speed work or endurance workout. These are also often programmed for some of my running clients. Why it interval training beneficial: Interval training provides many benefits including: increasing cardiovascular capacity, enhancing endurance, increasing speed, and improving strength. Hill sprints encourage a strength aspect due to having to not only propel yourself forward, but also upward with elevation gain. How to program interval training into your strength and endurance plan: For most humans, interval workouts will be programmed 1x/week. Very rarely are two interval workouts programmed in the same week due to receiving enough benefit from one that two interval sessions is unnecessary. Doing more than that could interrupt athletic performance if not programmed properly, which would make it harder to recover for the workouts the count. This holds true even for those of you who are running up to 5x/week. Learn more about programming interval training through my online programming or KATHLETICS Trail.


Katharine Moustakes
Hey, friend!

I'm Katharine.

I'm a personal trainer, running coaching, and nutrition coach who's stoked about lifting, the outdoors, summit snacks, and my dog.


I understand that fitness is not your whole life. Fitness is a PART of your life. I approach training in a way that adds value to your life and longevity, so you can enjoy being active whether you're romping around in the mountains, playing with your kids, or signing up for your first 10K race.

I'm here to meet you where you are, so you can train safely and effectively, and gain strength and confidence both in the gym and on the trails.

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