Updated: Jul 30, 2019
To some the word brings fear and terror to the mind. Others cant get enough of it. What are intervals exactly?
Interval training is a type of training that involves a series of low- to high-intensity workouts interspersed with rest or relief periods. The high-intensity periods are typically at or close to anaerobic exercise, while the recovery periods involve activity of lower intensity.
However way you put it, intervals done correctly are hard. They are the bread and butter of getting in shape, and closely mimic real race conditions where you are paddling at your maximum all while trying to maintain technique. Like in a race, the pace can quickly change to a full sprint and then completely pause in effort at any given moment. Now that March and the slow, long volume training weeks are winding down, now is a good time to get stronger, faster and fitter. Intervals increase your aerobic threshold, the point at which you can maintain a given effort for longer. That means you can paddle faster with less effort. Also, you can recover more quickly between hard efforts without getting that painful pump feeling in your arms, or running out of breath. Intervals make you stronger, therefore faster!
Last evening Kevin and I did one of our first interval sessions of the season. 5 minutes on at threshold heart rate (the maximum speed at which we can keep going without slowing down), 3 minutes rest, repeated 8 times. It was hard, as expected, but hopefully next week when we do it again, we can go for longer, faster but not any easier!