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There are several advantages.1. Fitness and performance improves quickly with interval training, typically in just a few weeks. I've known athletes who reported an improvement in speed after just two interval workouts.

2. Recovery time improves with interval training. Recovery is critical for athletes in sports like tennis, Basketball, soccer or hockey, where the sport demands continuous stops and starts, or an endurance bike ride or road race where you hit hills and need to catch up quickly at the top in order to keep your pace. You'd never perform well if you sprinted all-out or climbed a hill and then needed two minutes to recover (also known as sucking wind). It would never work.

3. Research confirms that interval training improves fitness similarly to traditional aerobic training in much less time.

a. In one study comparing interval training to traditional training, subjects increased their fitness and the activity of many of enzymes that contribute to using oxygen efficiently with two and a half hours of intervals over two weeks compared with 10 and a half hours of traditional endurance training over the same time period.

b. In another study comparing the two methods of training, subjects increased the use of stored glucose (glycogen) and fat by the same amount after five days a week of training for six weeks, but the interval subjects trained only one and a half hours per week compared with four and a half hours per week for the endurance subjects.

c. Some interval training schedules can be too rigorous. In a study of subjects who did interval training every day for two weeks, the oxygen capacity increased, but anaerobic capacity did not. The investigators suggested that this was due to overtraining and exhaustion from daily interval sessions.

d. To reduce the effects of overtraining, investigators had subjects perform six, two and half-minute interval sessions over a two-week period, with one to two days of rest in between sessions, to promote recovery. Interval sessions consisted of four to seven "all-out" 30-second sprints on a stationary bike with a total of four minutes of recovery. This training regimen increased fat burning and doubled endurance capacity with just 15 minutes of intense cycling over a two-week period!

Interval sessions are tough, and you must "dig down deep" to find the motivation to push yourself, but the payoff is big. Find a training partner if you need help pushing yourself. Commitment to a partner will get you out the door when you don't feel like it, and a little healthy competition never hurts to increase performance.

Are there any disadvantages to interval training?Intervals are tough on your body. If performed too often they increase the risk of overtraining. Overtraining is uncomfortable and a set back and so it's important to prevent it by allowing time for recover and growth between sessions. I recommend at least two days of rest between sessions and even more if you suspect you are overtrained. Symptoms of overtraining are
  • loss of strength speed, endurance, or other elements of performance,
  • loss of appetite,
  • inability to sleep well,
  • chronic aches and pains or soreness,
  • chronic colds or respiratory infections,
  • overuse injuries like tendinitis,
  • unusual fatigue,
  • occasional increase in resting heart rate,
  • irritability, and
  • malaise and you don't feel like exercising anymore.

If you have any of these symptoms and it's from overtraining and not a medical condition (for which you should see your doctor), then you will need to either take a break from working out (generally seven to 10 days) or experiment with fewer intervals. Don't worry about losing your fitness if you take a break. Virtually everyone comes back stronger after a break.

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14y ago
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13y ago

Advantage: Keeps your heart rate up allowing you to get a good cardiovascular workout in. Also, because of the sprinting intervals, it makes your body versatile. It makes you a better sprinter and a better long distance runner.

Disadvantages: If you are not properly trained, increasingly your pace then lowering it back down can create cramps. Be sure to breath in through your nose and out through you mouth. This should prevent cramps from occurring.

Personal Opinion: I did fartlek training whenever I was training for a 10k race. It helped me greatly and it was recommended to me by my running coach who is certainly qualified. My sprints improved as well.

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12y ago

Because they help you with your pace and tghey help you go faster and slower during your race so you don't run out of energy.

I know this because i am a track/crosscountry runner and i had to do these for crosscountry.

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12y ago

Jack Daniels does alot of writing on this I'd look for his ideas on this

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11y ago

it improves your legs

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13y ago

your mumma!

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Q: Advantages and disadvantages of fartlek training?
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