How to Interval Run Your Way to Success

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.

minute/s remaining

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 founded this site, owns a technology company in the Midwestern USA, is a former bank director, and loves playing soccer, hiking, and mentoring.

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

Whose life do you live? Honestly answer that question. Most people live their parent’s lives because most people live according to their parent’s belief systems. Imagine if your parents did their best but had faulty mental wiring, impressing you with limiting beliefs, fear-filled ideas and a general poverty consciousness? Bad news. I often like to

Live Your Life

I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free. -Michelangelo, famous Italian sculptor Coaching, managing, or mentoring is much like carving a statue. As a coach, your job is not so much as to tell someone what to do as it is to reveal the beauty which is already there.

How Sculpting is like Coaching

Written for a generation who wants to live a rich life yet has little financial education to make that a reality, this book is more of a course in wealth building than just another self-help book. Ramit Sethi’s 6-week personal finance program is specifically written for 20-to-35-year-olds, but anyone struggling with financial issues or who

Personal Development Book of The Month: I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi @ramit