How to Interval Run Your Way to Success

by Don Smith

All products and services featured on this site are independently selected by our authors and editors. If you buy something through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

My wife and I took a long walk Sunday with the dogs, and on our way back, I challenged her to do the first couch to 5K program (C25K) with me.

The program is designed to take someone from sitting on the couch to being able to complete a 5k (3.1-mile run) by using interval runs and is quite effective. It's one of the tools I used to go from sitting on the couch to completing three Tough Mudders, extreme endurance 12-mile (20k) long muddy obstacle runs.

My wife agreed, and off we went.

The thing I love about this technique is that you can use it to get good at virtually anything.

What is an Interval Run

In case you aren't a serious runner, I should probably define what an interval run is. An interval run is where you alternate running and walking for specified periods. For example, the first interval run on the C25K program lasts for 30 minutes. You warm up with a five-minute walk, alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for twenty minutes, then cool down with another five-minute walk.

Why It's Effective

The beauty of interval runs is that when you use them consistently, they will create muscle, which allows you to run longer and faster. Even Olympic-level athletes use these, as not only can you run longer, but you can push yourself much harder when you're only running a short period.

Done right, you're gasping by the end of each short run, or if you're my dog interval running with me while I try to impress my wife, you're puking (oops, sorry Marbles).

My dog tired after his run
Marbles After a Run

It's the equivalent of lifting heavy weights a handful of times before you exhaust yourself rather than grabbing a lighter weight and lifting it fifty times in a row.

How it Applies Outside of Running

You can use this same technique outside of running. Think back to times your finances did exceptionally well, for example. You likely got intense for a brief period, then lapsed. If you were more intentional about that, you could build up to being a financial superstar by saying something like this month I'm going to save and invest 50% of my income. You can do anything for 30 days, right? Repeat that enough times, and it'll become more natural.

If you want to be a writer, try writing every day for thirty days. Or maybe write for an extended period of time at least four times a week. If you wish to be a better painter, try painting every day for thirty days.

I think you get the idea. Get intense for a while; give yourself a break, then do it again. Do that enough times, and you will get good at nearly anything you put your mind to.

About the Author 

Don Smith

Happily married with five kids, Smith owns a technology company, is the founder of this site, has served on the board of directors for multiple companies, and loves playing soccer, hiking, and mentoring.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

“They say such nice things about people at funerals that it makes me sad I am going to miss mine by just

Read More
What is the Tombstone Test?

Me and my wife enjoy seeing live stand up comedians perform in the NYC/NJ area. One of my thrills was seeing iconic

Read More
How Does the Wealthiest Comedian on Earth Teach You to Be Creative?

Use the links below to navigate our picks for the best personal development books for each of the following topics. FinancesBusiness Relationships

Read More
Best Personal Development Books: 20 Books to Skyrocket Your Success

I am guessing that most people reading this have a good supply of books. And that every new personal development book that

Read More
Looking to Buy More Books?

What makes you think you are right? Have you ever gotten into an argument with a person who believes they are always

Read More
Are You Sure About That?

What do you consider to be a failure? And do you know how to deal with failures? For me, failure is directly

Read More
How to Deal with Failures in Your life?

Have you ever felt isolated as a small business owner, CEO, or leader? If so, you're not alone. Half of the CEO's

Read More
It’s Lonely at the Top: Dealing with Isolation as a Leader

This morning I found out that I weigh the same as my personal trainer. We're roughly the same height as well, and

Read More
Numbers Don’t Lie but They Rarely Tell the Full Story

Perhaps no one has had as much influence on modern Western thought as the Austrian psychiatrist Viktor Frankl on the true importance

Read More
How To Make a Difference in The World

I recently ran into this little comic on Reddit. Source: Invisible Bread I love this little sketch because it's exactly like life.

Read More
How to Expand Your Comfort Zone

My mom had a multi-millionaire baker in her. My family believed her baked goods were out of this world. But when family,

Read More
Take Your Talent to the Limit

It's sad sometimes to hear people complaining about their job all the time. Monday rolls around, and they are grumbling about going

Read More
If You Hate Your Job, Change