“Powered by health and wellness” is more than a tagline at Vibrant Health, it is a way of being committed to a lifestyle and approach that embodies the good life and realizing our greatest potential.

When it comes to fitness or weight loss, it’s typical to plateau. And when you’re goal is to improve your speed or distance without injury, it can seem like an overwhelming task.

Several of our Vibrant Health Running Challenge members can relate. In this post, we’ll explore the benefits of interval training.

What is Interval Training?

Interval training is built upon alternating short, high-intensity bursts of speed with slower, recovery phases throughout a single workout.

How Does Interval Training Work?

Interval training works both the aerobic and the anaerobic system. During the high-intensity efforts, the anaerobic system uses the energy stored in the muscles (glycogen) for short bursts of activity. Anaerobic metabolism works without oxygen, but the by-product is lactic acid. As lactic acid builds, the athlete enters oxygen debt, and it is during the recovery phase 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 is 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 athletes can exercise at a higher intensity for a longer period of time before fatigue or pain slows them down.

The Benefits of Interval Training

Interval training adheres to the principle of adaptation. Interval training leads to many physiological changes including an increase in cardiovascular efficiency (the ability to deliver oxygen to the working muscles) as well as increased tolerance to the build-up of lactic acid. These changes result in improved performance, greater speed, and endurance.

Interval training also helps avoid injuries associated with repetitive overuse, common in endurance athletes. Intervals also allow an athlete to increase training intensity without overtraining or burn-out. Adding high-intensity intervals to a workout routine is also a great way add cross training to an exercise routine.

What is the Vibrant Running Challenge?

The Vibrant Running Challenge is Vibrant Health’s way of saying, “we feel your pain.” We understand the real-life challenges that may serve as a barrier to being powered by health and wellness. In that way, we want to share the struggle by providing insights into running, training, recovery, nutrition, sleep, self-care, and personal motivation through the real and personal stories of our employees who are working through their own challenges as they set their eyes on the River Falls Days race.

For more information and help with training for sports and athletic activities, contact the Sports Medicine specialists at Vibrant Health Family Clinics. We are happy to help our patients achieve their personal goals in River Falls, Ellsworth and Spring Valley, WI!