Today was my first track workout. The track is a little more forgiving on my shin, which is not feeling super. I did yoga last night and that seemed to help a little. The track workouts are for interval training – it’s the only speedwork that we’ll do in our marathon training. The point of interval training is pretty well explained in this article:
How Interval Training Works
Interval training works both the aerobic and the anaerobic system. During the high intensity effort, the anaerobic system uses the energy stored in the muscles (glycogen) for short bursts of activity. Anaerobic metabolism works without oxygen. The by-product is lactic acid, which is related to the burning sensation felt in the muscles during high intensity efforts. During the high intensity interval, lactic acid builds and the athlete enters oxygen debt. During the recovery phase 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 in control, using oxygen to convert stored carbohydrates into energy.
The Benefits of Interval Training
This repetitive form of training leads to the adaptation response. The body begins to build new capillaries, and is better able to take in and deliver oxygen to the working muscles. Muscles develop a higher tolerance to the build-up of lactate, and the heart muscle is strengthened. These changes result in improved performance particularly within the cardiovascular system.
Interval training also helps prevent the injuries often associated with repetitive endurance exercise, and they allow you to increase your training intensity without overtraining or burn-out. In this way, adding intervals to your workout routine is a good way to cross train.