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Can Interval Training Be Used For Endurance Purposes – Tips

With interval training, you’re pushing your body harder and faster than you normally would, without the same level of commitment and risk as a full race. Even if you think you don’t have what it takes to crush a marathon or an Ironman, going all out on shorter intervals every once in a while can help you improve your endurance in unexpected ways. We shall discuss, in this post, why can interval training be used for endurance purposes.

Interval training is superior to continuous endurance training for improving VO2 max or peak oxygen uptake[1]6 Ways to Improve Your Vo2 Max in healthy individuals. Interval training, on the other hand, has not been widely adopted among elite endurance athletes due to concerns that it may degrade endurance performance. Recent study suggests, however, that interval training can help top athletes increase their stamina and level of performance if the training sessions are tapered and followed by proper recuperation.

Interval training is, in reality, the most focused, efficient, and successful method of increasing both endurance (aerobic capacity) and speed (VO2max). A long run or cycle may simply train your ability to maintain a steady pace for an extended period of time, but an interval exercise prepares your body’s systems for the specific demands of your event – whether it’s a 5K or an ultramarathon.

What is interval training?

Interval training is a type of physical training that involves a series of low- to high-intensity exercise programs separated by rest or recovery periods. High-intensity intervals are frequently anaerobic, whereas recovery periods consist of lower-intensity activities. The heart muscle is exercised by varying the level of effort, which provides a cardiovascular workout, improves aerobic capacity, and allows the person to exercise for longer and/or at a higher intensity.

During active periods, one exerts maximal or near-maximum effort (e.g., sprinting), whereas recovery intervals involve low-intensity activity (e.g., walking). Work intervals of 30 seconds to 5 minutes are usually followed by rest periods of 30 seconds to 4 minutes in high-intensity interval training.

Depending on your fitness level and the adaptations you wish to make, you may vary the duration and intensity of the interval workouts, specifically in high and low intensity level. It is commonly regarded as one of the most effective methods for boosting aerobic performance in sports like cycling, middle-distance running, and speed skating, but it may also be used to develop muscle endurance in sports like distance running and swimming.

Interval training may be used for strength training as well as cardiovascular activity like jogging or cycling. Completing repetitions with a weightlifting barbell, followed by a period of rest, and then repeating this cycle numerous times is an example of interval training with resistance.

Interval training has the benefit of allowing more work to be done in less time while also increasing speed and endurance. It is usually more successful in raising both VO2max (the highest amount of oxygen taken by a person during exercise) and after-burn (the number of calories burned post-workout) than continuous training alone.

With interval training, the body’s cardiovascular system begins to adapt to the high-intensity exercises performed during each “on” phase. Over time, you’ll be able to perform these workouts for longer periods of time during each interval.

The increased ability to use oxygen results in greater endurance and stamina. Interval training also increases anaerobic capacity, which is the ability of muscles to perform without the presence of oxygen.

This type of exercise also increases your speed and power by improving muscle elasticity and efficiency. Essentially, your muscles will be able to contract faster and more forcefully with interval training.


Why should I do it?

You may have heard the saying “Train hard, play easy.” This is the basic idea behind interval training. Imagine that you are going to play a pick-up game of basketball against some friends. You know there will be some running involved and you probably don’t want to embarrass yourself in front of your buddies. If you haven’t played basketball or done any type of running for a long time, then playing this game will be very difficult, if not impossible. Your body isn’t conditioned to run around at this intensity so you will become exhausted quickly and your performance will suffer.

On the other hand, if you have been doing lots of running and sprinting workouts, then, playing this game will be much easier for you. You won’t get tired easily and you’ll be able to play a better game. In addition, by knowing that your body is fit, conditioned, and ready for intense exercise, you’ll be more confident both in your own abilities as well.

Interval training should be a component of your workout routine if you want to increase your fitness quickly. This type of training is an intense and effective technique to lose weight, improve cardiovascular fitness, and develop muscular tone.

Because it burns more calories than other types of exercise, interval training is a terrific method to get in shape quickly. A credible exercise council discovered that sprint interval training for eight weeks will increase individuals’ aerobic capacity by about 20%.

Can interval training be used for endurance purposes?

Interval training is most commonly associated with sprinters who utilize it to burn fat and develop muscle, but it may also be done by endurance athletes. It may not be as effective for them as it is for sprinters, but it will provide some tangible benefits.

Interval training is most beneficial to endurance athletes because it makes long-distance sessions simpler. Interval training increases the size of an athlete’s red blood cells, which explains why such training is favorable to fitness. The red blood cells are in charge of transporting oxygen throughout our body. As a result, having more red blood cells implies that more oxygen is given to our muscles when they need it most.

As a result, when an endurance athlete combines traditional long-distance training with interval training, they are able to achieve better levels of performance than they would otherwise. Interval training is a fun, fast-paced approach to burn calories and improve fitness, but is it the ideal way to prepare for a marathon?

There’s no doubt that interval training can help you run longer. It can improve your anaerobic threshold (the point at which your muscles start to get tired). That means you can work harder before fatigue sets in. And because it raises your aerobic capacity (VO2 max), it gives you more endurance too.

Interval exercise improves your speed as well. The reason is that it enhances running. Interval training runners are doing cost-effective training than steady-state runners, according to research. To put it another way, they utilize less oxygen while moving at the same speed (or use the same amount of oxygen at a faster speed). As a result, their heart rate will be lower at a given speed.

Can you improve your VO2 max – the maximum amount of oxygen that you can use during intense exercise? Yes, you can. When people do interval training they are specifically targeting their aerobic system and they get better at using oxygen more efficiently.

Can you build endurance – the ability to run for a long period of time? Yes, but not by doing interval training alone. For example, if you want to run a marathon and your longest run to date is 5 miles – then no matter how much interval training you do, or how good your VO2 max gets, you will not be able to make it through a marathon unless you also do some longer runs.


If you want to improve your endurance capability, the best way is simply to do longer runs. Build up your distance gradually until you can do even longer distances than those required by your race. So, in other words, if your goal is a marathon – don’t just do intervals and expect to make it 26 miles. You also have to go out and run say 20 miles from time to time, or maybe even 18 or 19 miles.

Interval training for endurance is a simple concept

The principle of interval training for endurance is straightforward. It entails raising the heart rate and then resting until it returns to a pre-determined level. The heart rate is pushed again after a period of rest. Essentially, any activity that requires speed, agility, or endurance may benefit from this form of training.

Because everyone’s fitness objectives and maximal heart rates are different, the intervals and rest times will vary as well. A cross country runner, for instance, might prefer to complete longer intervals at slower speeds with longer pauses than someone who plays football or soccer. However, the concept remains the same: push hard, then recover by slowing down until your heart rate returns to normal.

Interval training requires not only pushing yourself as hard as you can during the workouts, but also keeping a steady pace throughout the rest times. This implies that if you’re sprinting, your recovery jogs shouldn’t be sprints as well. They must be slow enough for you to regain your breath and lower your pulse rate to a safe level before continuing.

How is interval training beneficial to an endurance athlete?

Because of its ability to increase oxygen absorption and anaerobic metabolic efficiency, interval training may greatly benefit endurance athletes. It also raises the amount of functioning muscle mass in your body, which improves the efficiency with which oxygen is transported throughout your system.

You must prepare your body to perform aerobically as an endurance athlete, especially during lengthy workouts or competitions, when glycogen stores are depleted. You will have no idea what it’s like to sprint across the finish line in a 10k road race or go all out on the last hill climb in a long bike race if you solely train aerobically and never do intervals.

Interval training gives your body a taste of high intensity exercise so that it knows how to respond when called upon to perform. Intervals can increase lactate threshold[2]How to Find Your Running Speed at Lactate Threshold and VO2 max.

Powerhouse cells

Interval training also improves mitochondria density in aerobic muscle cells. Mitochondria is the “powerhouse” of muscle cells, and they are responsible for producing energy. The more mitochondria a cell has, the more efficiently it can produce energy—and the better you will perform in long-term endurance activities like marathons or triathlons.

Interval exercise improves both aerobic and anaerobic capability. The greatest amount of oxygen that may be absorbed during intensive activity is referred to as aerobic capacity. Your aerobic capacity plays a role in determining your VO2 max, or maximal rate of oxygen consumption during progressive exercise, as mentioned, which is an important determinant in endurance performance.

Cardiovascular endurance

Interval training has been found to be an effective way to build cardiovascular endurance, especially in endurance athletes who have limited training time. Interval training is simple to incorporate into a regular athlete’s schedule since it only involves a few days of intense training with plenty of rest in between. In as little as four weeks, you can notice the results.


Interval training is a sort of workout in which high and low intensity activities alternate. Sprinting is the most famous form of interval training, although intervals may be added to practically any sort of activity. The most significant advantage of interval training is that it enhances stamina.

If you’re an athlete, you already understand the value of endurance. You can perform longer and harder during a game or practice if you have higher staying power.

Improves Speed

Attempting to enhance speed by running lengthy distances is ineffective. High-intensity interval training, on the other hand, will boost your speed far faster than steady-state running. If you want to run faster, try sprinting for 60 seconds and then walking for 2 minutes to recuperate. Watch how quickly your timings drop while you run by repeating this 5 times for a total of 20 minutes.

Burn Fat Fast

Have you ever seen a fat sprinter? Probably not. High intensity interval training is one of the best ways to burn fat fast. Why? Because it releases growth hormone after exercise which helps your body burn fat faster (especially around the stomach).

Burn Calories For Hours After Exercise

After performing high intensity interval training, your metabolism increases during recovery. The Afterburn Effect[3]Shred While You Sleep: How HIIT Training Keeps You Burning Fat Even After Your Workout Is Done is what makes high-intensity interval training so successful. EPOC stands for excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, and it counts how much energy we consume (or how many calories we burn) after a workout rather than during it.

Because our cells are depleted of oxygen and our muscles build more lactic acid after brief, intense, and vigorous trainings, EPOC is greater. The reason is that these activities need the replenishment of energy in the form of calories. As your body works to regulate itself after exercise, this energy expenditure continues long after your workout.

Who is interval training suitable for?

Interval training is a type of workout that involves bursts of intense exercise alternated with intervals of lighter activity. It’s a versatile form of exercise that can be applied to any sport or any part of the body you want to work on. The structure of interval training makes it suitable for everyone, from the casual exerciser to the elite athlete.

If you’re new to interval training, start by choosing an activity you enjoy and give yourself plenty of time to warm up and cool down. Aim for two sessions a week, alternating them with other forms of exercise or rest days. As your fitness improves, build up to four sessions a week.

Interval training is ideal for both beginners, who wants to start their fitness journey, and the experienced. For beginners, interval training allows you to increase your fitness level gradually. As with any type of exercise, if you have a condition like heart disease or high blood pressure, talk to your doctor before starting an interval training program.

Interval training is suitable for anyone who wants to improve their fitness condition. This can be from a novice to advanced fitness level. However, you should always build up gradually, particularly if you are new to exercise or returning to fitness after a break.

Interval training can help you improve both your aerobic and anaerobic fitness. As stated elsewhere in this post, aerobic fitness refers to your heart, lungs, and muscles’ ability to work efficiently during endurance exercises like running or cycling. Anaerobic fitness refers to your muscles’ ability to work hard for a short period of time.

People who are overweight or obese due to inactivity or poor dietary habits should start with a more moderate exercise plan before venturing into high-intensity interval training. For example, you might begin by walking on a treadmill at a brisk pace for 30 minutes, then gradually work your way up to HIIT.

If you have a medical condition such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes or any other chronic illness, consult with your doctor before starting an interval training program.


What type of training is best for endurance?

To develop your endurance, you can employ a variety of various training approaches. The optimal strategy for you will be determined by the sport you participate in and the amount of time you have available. Because interval training pushes your body harder than continuous exercise, it’s a wonderful way to improve your speed and staying power. This is a good option if you don’t have a lot of time. A heart rate monitor can help you make sure you’re working hard enough.

Circuit training is good for building strength, which will help when you climb hills or accelerate away from other riders. It’ll also improve your balance, which can help prevent falls when you’re cycling in bad weather or on slippery roads.

Resistance training, which involves lifting weights with your arms and legs to increase strength, is an alternative to circuit training. Although it takes longer than circuit training, some individuals like it since it allows them to have the option of doing the same at home if they have the weights for such exercise.

If you want to do both interval and resistance training, you could try high intensity interval training (HIIT), where each exercise is performed at maximum intensity for short bursts of time before switching to another exercise. Strength training and endurance training are at opposite ends of the exercise spectrum, but they can be united through interval training.

Intervals alternate between high-intensity bursts of aerobic activity and lower-intensity recuperation intervals. While interval training is beneficial to the heart, it is not the same as steady-state cardio. A 30-minute high-intensity interval training, for example, would not provide nearly the same aerobic conditioning advantages as a 30-minute jog with a steady heart rate.

How does interval training improve speed?

Whether you are a track athlete, cyclist or swimmer, you can benefit from speed training. By using intervals, you can create exercises that will help you increase your speed and performance. Interval training is a type of training in which periods of repetitive exercise are separated by rest. In other words, you work out hard for a certain amount of time, then rest and repeat.

Intervals can be measured in time or distance. You can do interval training with any type of exercise, including weight lifting and cardio workouts such as running and swimming. The goal is to push yourself harder than you normally would during exercise. Pushing yourself harder than usual increases your fitness level faster than simply going through the motions at a moderate pace.

As you probably know, interval training is a great way to improve your speed. This type of training involves alternating periods of high intensity exercise with low intensity recovery periods. These are often referred to as sprints and jogs. The exact format of the workout will vary depending on your goal, fitness level and schedule.


Interval training can provide a number of health benefits, including improvements in speed, endurance, metabolism, heart function, insulin sensitivity, and cognitive function. Athletes who use interval training improve their performance by increasing their anaerobic capacity and maximizing their aerobic capacity in shorter amounts of time.

Short bursts of intensive exertion followed by brief intervals of rest educate your body to recover more rapidly during a race or other athletic activity, resulting in increased speed. Interval training is also considered to be a good strategy to improve speed and power.

Acceleration training help you enhance your velocity at a faster pace. This is accomplished by raising stride frequency, or the number of times per minute that your foot touches the ground. Acceleration workouts boost stride length as well as stride frequency, albeit to a lesser extent. Short repeats of five to twenty seconds are common in these exercises, with active recovery in between each repetition.

Maximum velocity workouts are designed to help you enhance your running speed. They help you achieve maximum momentum by increasing the force with which you push off the ground. Hard repetitions lasting 10 to 30 seconds are used in maximum tempo exercises, with longer rest periods between each repeat than in acceleration training.

Final Thoughts

The common form of interval training is to begin with a long warm-up, then move on to multiple shorter bursts of high intensity exercise, followed by a rest time, and finally a cool-down phase.

While this is an excellent strategy to get in shape, it can be strenuous for individuals who are not in good physical condition, hence, may not be advisable for them to venture into. Short bursts of high-intensity exercise might put the body under stress that it may not be able to tolerate at first.

Interval training may be used as an endurance workout, but it requires certain modifications. While some may believe that this form of exercise is solely beneficial for muscular development, the fact is that it may also aid one’s endurance and stamina.

Many athletes have employed interval training to improve their stamina and endurance levels throughout history. Even ancient civilizations like the Greeks had utilized this form of training to improve their strength and staying power so that they could battle and run faster.

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