Threshold vs. Interval Training: What’s the Difference?
If you’re new to running, you may have heard terms such as “threshold training” or “interval training”.
These terms can be confusing to beginners, so don’t worry if you’re not sure what these terms mean.
You’re in the right place to learn about each of these training techniques for runners. You will find out below how these training methods are similar, and how they’re different.
You will also learn how each can be used in a runner’s training program.
Some people think that running is just putting on your running shoes, going outside, and running, but it’s much more than that.
Serious runners and aspiring runners know that there are many training methods that can be used to improve running form, speed, and endurance.
There are proven ways to identify and improve a runner’s weakness using different types of training.
What is Threshold Training?
Threshold training is running at a steady pace, just below the lactate threshold, or point just before lactic acid begins to build in the muscles.
When lactic acid builds up, your muscles will become stiff and engorged feeling.
If you have lactic acid build up, you’ll also have to deal with DOMS, or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, after your workout for up to several days.
To avoid this severe soreness in your muscles, it’s a good idea to use threshold training.
Your threshold training pace, or T-Pace, should be about 83 to 88 percent of your VO2 Max.
VO2 Max is a measurement of how much oxygen your body can use during exercise.
If you don’t know your VO2 Max, you can go by how you feel. Running at your T-pace, or your threshold training pace, should feel “comfortably hard”, but not too hard.
What is Interval Training?
Interval training, when used for running, is running for a short intense period, followed by a period of jogging or walking.
Each intense running interval should be followed by a period of jogging or walking the same length or slightly longer than the intense interval.
These short bursts of running will be performed at an intense level, and you will most likely have to catch your breath afterward.
It’s important to fully recover from the intense interval before completing another one. You’ll want to be able to give your best effort during each intense interval.
This type of training is excellent for building up your endurance.
The main difference between threshold training and interval training is that threshold training is running at a steady pace for long distances, and interval training is alternating an intense and a less intense pace.
Now that you know the difference between threshold training and interval training, you’re better equipped to decide how you should train.
If you want to avoid extreme soreness, threshold training may be a great way to train for running long distances.
Interval training is excellent for building your lung capacity and increasing your endurance. Both types of training will help you become a better runner.
It’s always best to train using a variety of methods because the variety can help you improve your overall health and fitness.