Interval training is a type of physical training that involves bursts of high-intensity work interspersed with periods of low-intensity work. The high-intensity periods are typically at or close to anaerobic exercise, while the recovery periods may involve either complete rest or activity of lower intensity.
Interval training can refer to organization of any cardiovascular workout (e.g. cycling, running, rowing, etc.), and is prominent in many sports' training. It is a technique particularly employed by runners, but athletes from several backgrounds have been known to use this type of training.
It is of two types:
1. Slow interval training method
2. Fast interval training method
 
Effectiveness
 
Interval training is a favorite of coaches because of its effectiveness in cardiovascular build-up and also its ability to make more well-rounded runners / riders. However, it is also applicable to exercisers as it helps improve exercisers’ aerobic capacity to exercise longer at varying intensities (Mayo Clinic, 2009).
Interval training can be an effective means of enhancing an athlete's lactate threshold - i.e. increase the threshold at which lactate starts to accumulate in the blood. Lactate threshold has been shown to be a significant factor determining performance for long distance running events.
This method of training may be more effective at inducing fat loss than simply training at a moderate intensity level for the same duration. This is due to the metabolism boosting effects of high intensity intervals.
 
Variations
 
"Walk-back sprinting" is another example of interval training for runners, in which one sprints a short distance (anywhere from 100 to 800 meters), then walks back to the starting point (the recovery period) to repeat the sprint a certain number of times. To add challenge to the workout, each of these sprints may start at a predetermined time interval, e.g. 200 meter sprint, walk back, and sprint again every 3 minutes. The time interval provides just enough recovery.
 
Fartlek training, named and developed by Swedes, is intermediate between true interval training and regular distance training. The name means 'speed play', and consists of distance running "anywhere", with bursts of harder running at more irregular points, lengths, and speeds compared with interval training. Not only is it an efficient training method, fartlek training can help one avoid injuries that often accompany non-stop, repetitive activity, and provides the opportunity to increase one's intensity without burning oneself out in a matter of minutes.

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