Hingal (Panting) to Hinga (breathing normally) is key when doing your interval training. Proper recovery will allow you to hit your goal pace on your next repeat. It is suggested that recovery time between each hard interval is when your breathing return to normal or for those wearing heart rate monitors when your heart rate is back to 65% of your MHR. Some interval training plans also prescribe distance or time recovery.
When I started doing interval training, I used the distance or time recovery period as a suggestion. 😀 400m hard and 400m slow jogs was just too hard. I could barely breath, let alone jog. My body eventually got used to the hard interval and recovery jogs but it took awhile. Hitting the goal pace and recovery period became separate goals that I worked on.
One of the things I learned while doing interval training is how to relax during recovery so that I could breath normally again. Gasping and panting is the easiest way to bring air into your lungs after a hard repeat. However, it does not help you recover quickly.
Although this is harder, when I’m not crazy cross-eyed dizzy after an interval, I use yoga breathing. I walk or slow jog with an upright torso and relaxed shoulders. Inhale for 3-5 counts and then (although the urge to release the breath to draw another one in is very strong and tempting) I exhale slowly for 5-10 counts. I find the first few breaths hard but normal breathing happens much quicker.
Inhale. Exhale. Run!