Help critique my interval workout. (Read 855 times)

      I think it would help--a lot--if you stripped down your electronic aids to a minimum.

     

    This and what Gville Kevin said.

     

    I log a couple runs a week without any timing devices.

     

    Admittedly I could stand to do a little more structured quailty training but the timex will suffice there as well.

      This and what Gville Kevin said.

       

      I log a couple runs a week without any timing devices.

       

      Admittedly I could stand to do a little more structured quailty training but the timex will suffice there as well.

       

      Yep. I like to do many of my runs with no timing. I check the time on the clock at the beginning and end just so that I can log time on my feet, but that's just a rough estimate.

       

      And then occasionally I grab my high-tech timing device -- a $10 stopwatch with a strap that I wrap around my hand. That forces me to think about whether I should run a particular workout based on feel or time.

       

      I ran my half marathon with that cheap-ass stopwatch. Calculating my splits and average pace after 8 or 9 miles was an interesting exercise.

       

      I have no idea whether this is a good idea or a bad one. But if I don't keep my OCD tendencies at bay, I'm sure I'd end up injured and burned out.


      Feeling the growl again

        So back to not over analyzing things.

         

        How do you learn to run a specific pace when interval training by yourself and when you are not on a track?

         

         

        If you have a cheap GPS watch, that is good enough to ballpark a 1/4 mile on a road.  Or go out and pace 440 good steps to approximate.

         

        Getting the EXACT pace is not important.  Don't worry about a few feet difference.  Don't worry about a few sec/mile difference.  This is all over-analyzing.

         

        I use a stretch of road near my house...two in fact, one running N/S and other E/W so I can choose the one less affected by wind.  Both were roughly measured by GPS, I did not use chalk/paint, I picked a landmark tree/post next to the road and said "good enough".  

         

        I used to use my GPS a lot....primarily for measuring routes, keeping an eye on average pace, and guiding tempo runs.  Then I got busier and I felt waiting for it to sync up was costing me running time so I started using it less and less.  Now I use it when I'm traveling (ie new routes I don't know the distance of), long runs, and to guide tempo runs.  Pretty much nothing else, I charge it once a month.

         

        My training has not suffered.  I haven't used a HRM in years.  I know people like the data but getting too wound up on data is of no help.

        "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

         

          Thanks again for the practical input.  On my current setup I also have a north/south road and an east/west road to pick from.

           

          They are gravel/dirt roads so chalk won't do me much good, but I think I will put a stake in the shoulder of the road at the quarter marks and that should help some.  I know the ends of the road are the mile marks so that works and on one of the roads there is already a fence post at the 1/2 mile mark. 

           

          I think it still comes down to having to learn how to pace myself though.  Even with a watch and the course marked, I'll be coming down on the last 40 or 50 meters with the bulk of the interval already behind me before I have any input on my pace up until that point.  Slowing down or speeding up on that last bit won't really change the fact that I ran the bulk of the interval faster or slower than I should have.

           

          I don't know why some of you guys dislike the GPS stuff, to me it is like having a guy out there coaching you, calling out your time and pace for you.  Telling you when to pick up the pace for the next interval, when to slow it down for the recovery, it really is pretty neat.  For someone who didn't run high school track with a coach calling out splits for you, and who doesn't have access to that now, it really is the next best thing IMO.

           

          The audio cues from my phone on 1 minute increments really helps on the longer intervals, one thing I always forget is that if I touch the screen on the phone it will call out my current pace for me whenever I want. If I just leave the audio cues defaulted off and then just touch the screen on my armband maybe halfway through the interval that would help confirm or adjust the pace earlier in the interval instead of just at the end. No matter what method I use, it is going to be up to me to learn to run at the target pace.

           

          I won't sweat over a few seconds here and there either.

          Age: 46 Weight: 200 Height: 6'2" (Goal weight 195)

          Current PR's:  Mara 3:48:09; HM 1:43:26; 10K 43:59; 5K 21:27

             I think it still comes down to having to learn how to pace myself though.  Even with a watch and the course marked, I'll be coming down on the last 40 or 50 meters with the bulk of the interval already behind me before I have any input on my pace up until that point.  Slowing down or speeding up on that last bit won't really change the fact that I ran the bulk of the interval faster or slower than I should have.

             

            I don't know why some of you guys dislike the GPS stuff, to me it is like having a guy out there coaching you, calling out your time and pace for you.  Telling you when to pick up the pace for the next interval, when to slow it down for the recovery, it really is pretty neat.  For someone who didn't run high school track with a coach calling out splits for you, and who doesn't have access to that now, it really is the next best thing IMO.

             

            [...]

             

            I won't sweat over a few seconds here and there either.

             

            Eventually, I think is the point we're all making, it'll be much sooner in the interval that you know your pace.  Eventually, that feeling will creep on you sooner and sooner--until it's just there.  

             

            I don't dislike GPS.  I dislike my former reliance on it.  I usually run with mine (though I turn the screens so it's a glorified stop watch only most time), in fact.  My problem with it is that it's like having someone there, calling out what pace to go all the time. Smile   I think it can risk taking away from the primary experience of running by giving too much feedback.  I burned myself out last spring by getting too caught up with it, and I fear that happening to others.

             

            For me, it took divorcing myself from constant feedback to get away from sweating a few seconds.  

            "When a person trains once, nothing happens. When a person forces himself to do a thing a hundred or a thousand times, then he certainly has developed in more ways than physical. Is it raining? That doesn't matter. Am I tired? That doesn't matter, either. Then willpower will be no problem." 
            Emil Zatopek

              I quite like using a gps for interval pace. I find going by feel tricky - both in terms of judging the pace at the beginning of the interval, and also keeping a consistent pace across each repeat. Also a gps means that you can do intervals pretty much anywhere. I just set my watch to show lap distance and average lap pace. Then hit the lap button and set off. Keep the average lap pace on your target pace, stop when you reach the distance. Lather, rinse, repeat. 

                 

                I don't know why some of you guys dislike the GPS stuff,

                 

                It's not a dislike. I had one and used it for about 2 years before the battery failed. I could barely leave the house without it.

                 

                I'm 47, I will never be 1st. Just not in my genes. Wether I run a 20:30 5k or a 19:55 it likely means a 2nd place AG finish at best. I go out to run a 19:55 everytime.

                 

                I pick a couple of goal races each year of various distances. Sometimes the schedule allows for a really good training cycle, sometimes not. I rarely look back on my training to adjust my paces or efforts. I do it by feel and I don't let a clock tell me how fast I should go. Sometimes it's the mental battle that you have to win or lose. Sometimes the body is in perfect harmony and you are pleasantly suprsed when you read back your splits.

                 

                After having a GPS, HRM and a WATTS meter on one of my bikes I know one thing...They are not going to raise my fitness level much beyond what I'm already doing and 1st place just isn't in the cards.

                 

                My favorite runs today are the non-bridaled ones. Especially the unexpected tempo runs where it just feels good to run fast. Yeah, it kinda sucks not knowing for sure but it beats being dissapointed by something less than what you thought. I learned how to do this from a sub 2:20 marathoner and Sub 9 hr Kona Ironman finisher. If he can train without  them and a coach calling out splits, so can I.

                 

                Sorry, I have no idea how to critique your intervals. I have no idea what I'm looking at.


                RunsWithDog

                  On pacing intervals . . .

                   

                  1) That is one benefit from testing out these workouts now. You (and I) are getting the hang of what our 5k pace feels like. I think we'll get better with practice. Take heart from that! Smile These are freebie workouts, so you can't do them wrong! (Unless you hurt yourself, obviously)

                   

                  2) I use my Garmin watch. I set it to display current lap-pace, and I adjust upwards or downwards based on that. It is also displaying how far I am in to the interval in time and distance, so I know how much further I have to go. I looove my watch. Love, love, love.

                   

                  3) If you want to try marking the gravel road, we have done that in our neighborhood sometimes with a baggie of flour -- just dust out a line. It'll be gone in the next rain fall and won't hurt a thing.Very visible, too. (My kids to it to mark out starting lines for their mile races.)

                   

                  4) Can you set your app to spit out your "lap pace" every 0.1 mile or, better yet, 0.1 km? If it will do every 0.1 km, that'd likely be plenty of opportunities to adjust your pace. I probably glance at my watch about that often - every 100-150 m - and that seems to give me plenty of feedback. You said there was some interference with your lap tracking if your other app was announcing things at the same point? If that is the case, can you just  make your total distance a slightly odd number -- say 20 m longer than called for, just to separate things? I haven't used phone apps extensively for training, so I really have no idea what I am talking about. Just brainstorming.

                   

                  Hope some of these ideas help.

                  PRs: 10k 57:30, HM 2:11:12, Full 5:02:57

                  Next Up: HM 1/6/13 & Marathon #3 3/24/13

                  Training Plan Right Now: Hansons Brothers Beginner Marathon Plan

                     I set it to display current lap-pace...

                     

                    Current lap pace moves around too much in my experience. I find average lap pace works better for intervals - it soon settles to a sensible value and if it's at the correct thing at the end then you know you've run the pace you intended.

                      ...

                      I don't know why some of you guys dislike the GPS stuff, to me it is like having a guy out there coaching you, calling out your time and pace for you.  ..

                      Your intervals may be long enough for it to not be that big a deal, but I've found even the distance measurements aren't that close for detailed pace work.

                       

                      I usually pick some landmarks to go back and forth between, and just time each work part. I focus on breathing to keep the right pace or effort. Or if I use the soccer field complex, I use the long side for the "work" and recover on the short side. The distance as logged on my GPS will vary sometimes, which means the alleged pace also varies.

                       

                      Since I'm usually racing on hilly trails, I don't worry about exact paces.

                      "So many people get stuck in the routine of life that their dreams waste away. This is about living the dream." - Cave Dog

                        Far from disliking a GPS, I use it plenty. Mostly to look at the data after the workout and for planning future workouts.  But if you "need" the GPS for a workout or a race, what if the battery dies, or otherwise malfunctions during your goal race that you've put so much time, effort and money towards? Would it throw a serious wrench into how you planned to run the race?

                         

                        Would you rather acquire the skill of pacing or rely on external feedback when the former is likely to be more precise anyway?  Analyzing your breathing pattern, figuring out how hard you are working or even how your stride is different at different paces, maybe transitioning from one pace to another faster gear sometimes makes the run a bit more effortless etc. may all make a better runner won't you agree?

                          I don't know why some of you guys dislike the GPS stuff, to me it is like having a guy out there coaching you, calling out your time and pace for you.  Telling you when to pick up the pace for the next interval, when to slow it down for the recovery, it really is pretty neat.  For someone who didn't run high school track with a coach calling out splits for you, and who doesn't have access to that now, it really is the next best thing IMO.

                          FWIW, my approach kind of mimics your virtual coach.  I set my GPS display to lap pace and elapsed time.  I run my intervals -- say, 800m repeats -- and look at the display at about the halfway mark.  That's where the coach would be standing with the stopwatch in real-life.

                           

                          What I'm trying to do is find the perceived effort fairly quickly in the rep and lock on.  I get the split for feedback, but honestly, I'm not going to ease up/hammer the second half even if my midway split is off-target.  That's just not the right way to run intervals, IMO.  You'd be surprised at how quickly you learn to feel the pace really well, without the need to check the GPS.

                          “Everything you need is already inside.” -- Bill Bowerman


                          RunsWithDog

                            Current lap pace moves around too much in my experience. I find average lap pace works better for intervals - it soon settles to a sensible value and if it's at the correct thing at the end then you know you've run the pace you intended.

                             

                            I think we are talking about the same thing.

                             

                            My watch calls "Pace" my CURRENT instantaneous pace, and I've found that useless as it is so variable. I agree that it is ridiculous to try to use that metric. I never display it.

                             

                            It calls "Pace - lap" (or LapPace) the running average of your current (in progress) lap/interval. This is what I display and use. I think that is what you are talking about, too.

                             

                            I referenced it current lap because I often have "Pace - last lap" (LLPace) displayed as well so I can glance and see what my LAST completed lap/interval pace was. This helps me know if I am increasing or decreasing pace over the last mile or so (generally use 1 mile laps) compared to my last lap -- which I use a lot when I am on steady state runs.

                             

                            Sorry for my confusing terminology!

                            PRs: 10k 57:30, HM 2:11:12, Full 5:02:57

                            Next Up: HM 1/6/13 & Marathon #3 3/24/13

                            Training Plan Right Now: Hansons Brothers Beginner Marathon Plan

                            vegefrog


                               

                              Buy a watch.

                               

                              A regular watch.  Like, no GPS, no HR monitor, Timex sort of thing.

                               

                              Buy some chalk.

                               

                              Regular chalk. 

                               

                              Use your GPS or MapMyRun or whatever and mark off 400m and 800m as a replacement for a track.

                               

                              Take the GPS home.  Leave it there.

                               

                              Use the lap function on this regular watch.  Run from chalk line to chalk line until you can hit your target paces by feel.  If you don't run by feel, you'll never learn to run by feel.  I'm a fairly new runner, myself, but it really seems like you're too hung up on external feedback (HR, pace, forum comments).  I think it would help--a lot--if you stripped down your electronic aids to a minimum.

                               

                              This thread is GREAT! Ha, I just happen to be doing exactly the same interval workouts as npaden, so I get to just lurk and read along. This wealth of advice is greatly appreciated and I do not take it for granted for one second! 

                               

                              I left my GPS @ home and used my plain ole Timex. Did my intervals on a packed gravel 400m loop. Was a good strong workout and just focused on my breathing, form and stride. I did mine @ my current 5K pace and it wasn't EASY, but I had no trouble hitting the pace for each of the 12 400's. I only did a 200m recovery in between each because there was a giant storm on it's way and i was trying to finish my workout before it hit Smile

                               

                              Thanks npaden for putting yourself out there and asking these questions! I'm learning so much from the responses you received! 

                                "The only way I can think of to really nail a pace would be to pull my phone out of the armstrap and hold it in my hand and watch the pace on a regular basis while I am running the interval.  That seems like a pain to me.  Do I need to buy a GPS watch so I can wear it on my wrist and watch that?  That would be a little less of a pain.  I did buy a cheap GPS watch, but I don't trust it enough to give me an accurate split pace so I would need to buy another one if I did that."

                                 

                                Buy a watch.

                                 

                                A regular watch.  Like, no GPS, no HR monitor, Timex sort of thing.

                                 

                                Buy some chalk.

                                 

                                Regular chalk. 

                                 

                                Use your GPS or MapMyRun or whatever and mark off 400m and 800m as a replacement for a track.

                                 

                                Take the GPS home.  Leave it there.

                                 

                                Use the lap function on this regular watch.  Run from chalk line to chalk line until you can hit your target paces by feel.  If you don't run by feel, you'll never learn to run by feel.  I'm a fairly new runner, myself, but it really seems like you're too hung up on external feedback (HR, pace, forum comments).  I think it would help--a lot--if you stripped down your electronic aids to a minimum.

                                 

                                I'll take it a step further. Take your regular old timex ironman stopwatch with no GPS and no HRM and go out on one of your 8 or 10 mile loops and run the first 25 minutes or so nice and easy, then do 10 x 1:45 at 5k effort with 2:30 easy in between, then run the rest of the way home at an easy pace. You'll accomplish the exact same thing as the interval workout in the original post in this thread, and you'll start to learn effort, which is way more important than pace. Do 75% of your interval workouts like this.

                                 

                                My two cents.

                                Runners run.