Interval purposes (side topic from pg3 of "other than experience" thread) (Read 7554 times)

    1. And, to add, I know a fellow who could run 20x400 @ 60 sec. Really. He had speed. And on 100 rec. jog. Not kidding. Described the workout as "dull." Ran a good 800 to mile, but lacked endurance. Found out that a certain local olympian was running 800m to 2000m repeats, on longer, but faster recoveries. Tried that plan. Struggled with 2:20 for 800's on less than 800m jogging rec. Saw the problem right away. Worked on it. Ran 800m repeats, got down to 2:15 to 2:16 range, on 200m rec. jogs, and took his marathon from 2:26 to 2:14(and change.) Took about 3 years of periodized specific work on this weakness. 10k time came way down in the same period, too. KNow your weakness, and train to it.
    Thanks for posting this obsessor.
    Run like you stole something.
      Honestly I think most of these types of workouts are simply to add variety and fun, they all serve the same general purposes and I'm not sure you could prove one is better than the other. But when you are busting your butt on a weekly basis with them, it sure is nice to have some variety.
      Yep. Another way to think about the purposes of blending types of paces is that a well run race, (especially 800-10k) includes each of these types of efforts. So, getting your body used to each of these sorts of efforts both separately and mixed together in different ways is helpful. For example: If you are thinking about how to construct a ladder or blend paces, you might think about the parts of your races that you are struggling with. If the middle is a big hurdle, then you might throw a hard 800 in the middle of your practice to teach your body/mind to deal with a difficulty in the middle and then recover and run strong. Or, if you are having mental difficulties with a pace that you feel you're physically capable of handling, sometimes it's good to run some faster, shorter stuff first and then settle back into the other pace to make it feel more manageable. In other words, the purposes of interval work are not purely physiological, however clear and attractive spaniel's first explanation is; they are also neurological: they help to dial in paces more efficiently. And they are also good for working on your old-school "mental game," ways of practicing paces that you are struggling with for lack of confidence. etc
        This is the only one of the three types where your recovery will be shorter than your intervals. For example, I run 800m intervals in 2:22-2:30 avg depending on conditioning but only jog recover 90sec.
        This is from #3 in Spaniel's original post. On the subject of recovery time,, is a reasonable place to start for the rest intervals to be about 1/2 of the hard part? Then see how the pacing shakes out? MTA - Spaniels cited interval is less than 1/2, but he has likely alreay worked that out for himself. A great thread!
        obsessor


          From the road, courtesy of a former Olympian - 10minHARD/5minEASY/8minHARD/4minEASY/6minHARD/3minEASY/4minHARD/2minEASY/2minHARD HARD pace is faster than 4-mile tempo pace. The interesting part is EASY is not really easy, but a solid moderate effort. For example, when I was in shape to run marathons around 5:35-5:40 pace the HARD pace in this workout was 5:00-5:10 and the EASY pace 5:55-6:05. This is a challenging workout, as the very first 10min is a good effort and after the 8min stretch you are already pretty tired but still have half the workout to go. Only the diminishing time-at-effort saves you, and by the end that 2minHARD feels like it takes 10min! Edited to add: The main purpose of this workout is essentially speed tolerance -- the ability to hold a very challenging pace for extended time. After this workout, everything a few days later just seems easier... Honestly I think most of these types of workouts are simply to add variety and fun, they all serve the same general purposes and I'm not sure you could prove one is better than the other. But when you are busting your butt on a weekly basis with them, it sure is nice to have some variety.
          That's great - let's talk about that. I do a series of workouts just like this, starting in January, on the treadmill. I call them "on-offs" and I beleive them to be extremely effective for me for Spring marathon conditioning. When Tracks in Minnesota don't lose their snow until April, you are S.O.L. - 6 weeks until Grandma's marathon - not a lot of time! Generally, I start with 1/4 miles for an opening testing workout, quickly move to 1/2 miles the next week. (say 3 miles warmup, 5 total miles of on/off, 3 miles cooldown.) Until I can get my pace up, then start with MILES. start with 4 on, 4 off, and work to 6 on, 6 off. This is a 2 month process, and it is really solid training. My OFF pace is somewhere between marathon and 50k pace. My ON pace is between 10k and 5k pace. For me - very challenging. The off pace is what kills me. So - like spaniel says, it ends up being (for my best workout ever) 5:14 for ON and 5:54 off. And I edge the pace up a notch halfway through. I am not even sure how this workout is possible on paper, because I can consistently blow through 10 miles at my 10 mile PR pace. (but I am weak at 10k through 10mi, maybe.) Off miles are killer.


          Prince of Fatness

            I have never really bothered with intervals, mainly because I didn't know where to start.
            When you have to slow down the reps or take longer recoveries.
            Rereading this and seeing that these two quotes show how stupid I can be when I put my mind to it. Start somewhere and adjust, dumbass. Duh. Tongue

            Semi-retired.

              Rereading this and seeing that these two quotes show how stupid I can be when I put my mind to it. Start somewhere and adjust, dumbass. Duh. Tongue
              Hey MrPH, I've noticed your log several times, as you post qutie a bit, and how steady you have been in putting together a nice base. In my opinion a good place for you to start with intervals would be the longish variety, sticking in the zone between current 10k pace and tempo. For example, 4 x 1200, or 3 x 1600 with 1-lap recovery jogs. After you feel comfortable with them cut the jog down to 200 meters. Do these religiously for 6-8 weeks and I promise you that your race times will come down signficantly. The feeling you look for is "comfortably hard". You are glad to finish the last one but could do 1 or 2 more if you had to. Make sure you do a good warmup before you start too--a minimum of 2 miles. This is a great thread--if I could add one thing it would about training differenes for older runners. Not that you are old (like me Cry ), but at 45 you are older than most of these guys. The older you get the less bang for the buck there is in doing a lot of v02 max, but we can keep improving lactic threshold indefinitely. This is not to say that we should never do any hard intervals, it's just that it is probably not the best place to put most of our energy.
              Age 60 plus best times: 5k 19:00, 10k 38:35, 10m 1:05:30, HM 1:24:09, 30k 2:04:33


              Right on Hereford...

                There are three basic types of intervals, each with a purpose: 1) 200-400m intervals with long recoveries: The purpose of this workout is to develop raw speed, working on strength, turnover, and fast-twitch muscle coordination. To achieve this, it is important to run each interval as fast as possible. Long recoveries are used to make sure you can run each interval near maximal pace. By definition, these intervals are limited to a max of 400m in length as you can't sustain speed longer than this. If you are prepping for a 800m or 1500/1600m race, you may do 600-800m in this workout though you will likely no longer be at maximal speed, but doing more or a race simulation (ie running 800m at 1500m race pace). These workouts are actually not very fatiguing, because if you accumulate residual fatigue between intervals you can't sustain the speed required in the workout. Of the three types, this will have the fewest number of intervals in a set. 2) 400m-1600m intervals with medium recoveries The purpose of this workout is to go into anaerobic debt on each interval and thereby stimulat building up your anaerobic capacity. This can also help somewhat with strength and speed tolerance. Moderate recoveries (say, 3+min for a 400m etc) are used to allow time to clear the lactic acid from your system and get HR back near baseline in order to be able to repeat the effort in the next interval. Comparing a 400m under this strategy to a 400m under #1 above, the time will be slower. This workout will actually feel much harder on you that #1 above, because you are working your anaerobic system so hard. 3) 400m-3000m intervals with short recoveries The purpose of this workout is to give your body an extended period of time at the very upper limits of your aerobic zone. This is probably also the best way to develop speed tolerance for 5K-10K paced races. This is the only one of the three types where your recovery will be shorter than your intervals. For example, I run 800m intervals in 2:22-2:30 avg depending on conditioning but only jog recover 90sec. Sets will also be longer than the other two types. (I do 8-10X800 or 6-8X1000 typically). The short recoveries bring you back just enough to be able to go out and do the next interval just as fast, or slightly faster than, the previous one (if you lose the ability to hit your target in the middle of the set, start slower the next time!). Using this strategy, you spend the whole workout at a very high aerobic capacity, with each interval inching you closer and closer to anaerobic. Due to the constant demand, this is probably the most demanding of the types.
                spaniel, interesting post. Thanks for taking the time to share it with us. I've read Daniels' Running Formula, and I'm confused as to how Daniels fits in with the above. Classic Daniels intervals, as I understand them, are 3-4 minute efforts at so-called "I-pace" (which would be slightly faster than 5k pace), with recovery times equal or a little less than interval times. These seem closest to #2, but I think your #2 recovery times are significantly longer. Daniels also writes about "R-pace" for 200-400 meter intervals (he calls them Reps), which look a lot like your #1 intervals. However, unlike your #1 workout, Daniels' reps are done fast, but not all out. Regarding your #3 intervals, I don't think I've seen anything in Daniels book that looks like this. Would you mind clearing this up if possible? Thanks!
                  Regarding your #3 intervals, I don't think I've seen anything in Daniels book that looks like this. Would you mind clearing this up if possible? Thanks!
                  #3 are similar to Daniels' "cruise intervals".

                  Runners run.

                    #3 are similar to Daniels' "cruise intervals".
                    That was my take as well. Or to use Pfitzinger's terminology: 1) strides, 2) VO2 intervals, 3) LT intervals. Not an exact match on #3, but pretty close.
                    How To Run a Marathon: Step 1 - start running. There is no Step 2.


                    Right on Hereford...

                      #3 are similar to Daniels' "cruise intervals".
                      Sorry, I don't have Daniels' book handy, but weren't cruise intervals supposed to be done at threshold pace? Spaniel seems to be saying he does his #3 intervals at a little faster than 5k pace, which is significantly faster than Daniels' T-pace. It's been a year since I read that book, so I'm a little fuzzy on the details...
                        Sorry, I don't have Daniels' book handy, but weren't cruise intervals supposed to be done at threshold pace? Spaniel seems to be saying he does his #3 intervals at a little faster than 5k pace, which is significantly faster than Daniels' T-pace. It's been a year since I read that book, so I'm a little fuzzy on the details...
                        Yeah it's not a perfect match. I think #3 in spaniel's list actually can include a few different types of workouts, including 600, 800 and 1000s at 5K pace with 3/4 time recoveries...all the way up to 3000s at tempo pace with very short recoveries. FWIW, virtually all the intervals I do fall into the #3 bucket.

                        Runners run.


                        Prince of Fatness

                          Hey MrPH, I've noticed your log several times, as you post qutie a bit, and how steady you have been in putting together a nice base. In my opinion a good place for you to start with intervals would be the longish variety, sticking in the zone between current 10k pace and tempo. For example, 4 x 1200, or 3 x 1600 with 1-lap recovery jogs. After you feel comfortable with them cut the jog down to 200 meters. Do these religiously for 6-8 weeks and I promise you that your race times will come down signficantly. The feeling you look for is "comfortably hard". You are glad to finish the last one but could do 1 or 2 more if you had to. Make sure you do a good warmup before you start too--a minimum of 2 miles. This is a great thread--if I could add one thing it would about training differenes for older runners. Not that you are old (like me Cry ), but at 45 you are older than most of these guys. The older you get the less bang for the buck there is in doing a lot of v02 max, but we can keep improving lactic threshold indefinitely. This is not to say that we should never do any hard intervals, it's just that it is probably not the best place to put most of our energy.
                          Yeah Jim, I'm not running the mega miles that some here are, but I've been very consistent. Thanks to you and some of the older folks (sorry) posting here I have become much more patient with my running. I feel like I have many years of quality running left, even at 45. My times have come down this year pretty much on mileage alone, so I'll be looking to add some quality workouts. A couple of goals for next year are a sub 20 5K and a BQ. Seems like a bit of a spread, but from what I've read here one might lead to the other. This fall I am going to experiment with the intervals. That will give me something to build on for next year. Thanks.

                          Semi-retired.


                          Right on Hereford...

                            FWIW, virtually all the intervals I do fall into the #3 bucket.
                            The bulk of my speed workouts are #3.
                            Hmm, interesting data points from two of the better runners on this board...
                              Hey MrPH, I've noticed your log several times, as you post qutie a bit, and how steady you have been in putting together a nice base. In my opinion a good place for you to start with intervals would be the longish variety, sticking in the zone between current 10k pace and tempo. For example, 4 x 1200, or 3 x 1600 with 1-lap recovery jogs. After you feel comfortable with them cut the jog down to 200 meters. Do these religiously for 6-8 weeks and I promise you that your race times will come down signficantly. The feeling you look for is "comfortably hard". You are glad to finish the last one but could do 1 or 2 more if you had to. Make sure you do a good warmup before you start too--a minimum of 2 miles. This is a great thread--if I could add one thing it would about training differenes for older runners. Not that you are old (like me Cry ), but at 45 you are older than most of these guys. The older you get the less bang for the buck there is in doing a lot of v02 max, but we can keep improving lactic threshold indefinitely. This is not to say that we should never do any hard intervals, it's just that it is probably not the best place to put most of our energy.
                              I agree with all of this. I'm only 38 but I alreay notice the difference in what I get out of workouts now versus 5 years ago and by far the biggest bang for the buck are the types of workouts above. I can get ready to race pretty well at just about any distance from 5K to marathon with with "moderate" mileage and workouts like 6 x 1000m, 5 x mile, 3 x 2 mile etc at somewhere between 10k and HM pace. Since I began training again after a haitus about two and a half years ago, these have been my staple workouts. I have probably done the 6 x 1000 workout more than any other. If I'm doing it on the track, I do 6 x 1000 with a 200 jog.

                              Runners run.


                              Prince of Fatness

                                I agree with all of this. I'm only 38 but I alreay notice the difference in what I get out of workouts now versus 5 years ago and by far the biggest bang for the buck are the types of workouts above. I can get ready to race pretty well at just about any distance from 5K to marathon with with "moderate" mileage and workouts like 6 x 1000m, 5 x mile, 3 x 2 mile etc at somewhere between 10k and HM pace. Since I began training again after a haitus about two and a half years ago, these have been my staple workouts. I have probably done the 6 x 1000 workout more than any other. If I'm doing it on the track, I do 6 x 1000 with a 200 jog.
                                This is great stuff, thanks, but one more question. When training for my HM this spring I was doing long (~40-45 minute) tempos at what turned out to be a hair under HM pace. So I'm thinking that I eventually want to be running these intervals closer to 10K pace to see any difference between them and the long tempos. Initially I'll run them closer to HM pace just to get my feet wet. Sound reasonable? Also, from what I'm reading here, is this the order of priority when adjusting (for #3)? Decrease recovery time Increase speed Increase reps OK, that was 2 more questions.

                                Semi-retired.