Running-Wizard

1

Interval Question (Read 36 times)

JML


    So I am working my way through the RW plan for a 5K and have a question about intervals.  When I used RW before to train for a half, I kept my intervals on the longer side (1600s, 800s etc) with the occasional ladder (1200-1000-800-600-400-200) thrown in for variety.    Under my current 5K plan, last week called for 4K worth of intervals so I ran a 10x400 workout with good results.

     

    The question:  What is the optimal mix of interval distances for a 5K?

    My intuition tells me that I should keep the intervals on the shorter side when training for a 5K, but I am wondering if I should do what I did before and also mix it up with a ladder workout from time to time.  I also wonder if there is training value in longer intervals (1600, 2000 etc) when preparing for the 5K distance.

     

    Thoughts on this from the 5K runners out there?  Which intervals do you feel work best for you when training for this distance?

     

    Thanks

     2014 goals: run a bunch....race some.....repeat...

    zonykel


      Im doing the HM training. For the first interval set in the week, I ran 4x1600 (Max 6K). For the second interval in the week, I'm running 25x200 (max 5K). I did that based on my interpretation of the instructions. Not sure if training for a 5K would make a difference on how you structure your intervals.

        JML I'm no 5k expert, but the plans I've done in the past (like way past...) have always had speedwork of 200-400m intervals and 20-30min tempo runs. I would think there's a place for any speed work, but especially for 800's-1200's, in a 5k plan, but I can't really back that up with science. It's just my feeling about what I would do. The ladder idea sounds good. Have you ever done the ladder workout where you go down and then back up (e.g. 1200-800-600-400-600-800-1200)? Your total km's are the same but it is mentally SO much harder than doing the same distance for each interval...and also much harder than just doing the ladder downwards.

         

        Actually, I have the same question as you in reverse, namely: Does 15x400 really have a place in HM training?

         

        Zonykel 25x200? Ouch Shocked

        JML


          I ran a 5x800 last night that was a nice change from the 10x400 workout last week.  I was able to keep the paces comfortably between the ‘fastest’ and ‘recommended’ times without straining.  I think that 800s might be the sweet spot for me with 5K training but I definitely think that there is training value in varying the distances.  I dug out an old email that I received from Nobby last year when I asked him a similar question about interval distance when training for a 1/2.

           

          Nobby’s response:

          In terms of intervals, we suggest you do one long-reps (800m, 1k, 1200m, mile, etc.)  and one short-reps (400s...even 200s for some events).  I usually define them as "intervals to work on your breathing" and "intervals to work on your leg-speed".  In theory, it shouldn't matter--all you're doing is to stimulate your lactate tolerating ability but, naturally, what event you're training for does matter a bit.  I still believe that, for those who are training for a marathon even gets benefit from 200s; and likewise those who are training for a mile/1500m can still benefit from long reps of even up to a mile.

           

          This seems to confirm my approach of varying the interval distances.  As to the reverse ladder…..I had a coach in high school who referred to it as the ‘Valley of Death” workout.    This was one of the workouts that he would sometimes pull out to attempt to teach us the value of pacing.  Everyone on my team at the time had a habit of racing in practice that he steadfastly tried to beat out of us.  He used to have us go 1200-800-400-200-400-800-1200.  There is no uglier feeling than finding yourself gasping after the 200 knowing that you over-committed on the paces coming down the ladder.  The trip back up the ladder would sometimes find me promising myself to never ‘race’ a workout again.    I still do this workout periodically and I swear I can hear him cackling if I push it too hard.

           2014 goals: run a bunch....race some.....repeat...

            JML:

             

            I'm glad I waited till you posted that so I wouldn't conflict myself!! ;o)  Seriously, though, I was going to say exactly what I said to you; I like to think of intervals as "one to work on your breaking (long reps)" and "one to work on your leg speed (shorter reps)".  I usually don't care too much for speed/pace.  I know some people LOVE to get into the pace and all that (LT, AT, whatever) but, as far as I'm concerned, it's a bunch of crap--as Arthur used to say, "eye-wash".  First of all, your speed would shift sooooooo much once you start to work on intervals.  The "pace" is just not the still number.  One week of work will develop into the next week.  This, Arthur showed it as..."first week, at 1/4 effort, then 1/2 effort..."  You may do your 400s in, say, 110-seconds this week; but you should be able to do them in 97 seconds next week AT THE SAME EFFORT.  But if you set the speed from the get-go, most likely it's too fast/hard for you on the first day of intervals; invariably you'd either over-do them or get discouraged.  It is sooooooo much better, with interval training, to finish it with the feeling of success than failure.

             

            In terms of ladder, it's interesting because I personally prefer the other way around--start with 200, top with 800 or 1200, then come down to 200.  My rationale is this; to me, the first set is always hard and, with my male hormone, I tend to start out too fast.  So after 200, I'm done.  I'd do a few 200s and, by then, I'll be ready for 400...so on and so forth.  I may do a couple of 800s or even go as long as 1200 and start to come down.  By then, I'm all warmed-up and ready to go fast.  And, as the distance gets shorter, I CAN go faster.  So I'd finish the workout with a couple of pretty fast 200s and feeling pretty good.  Again, you always want to finish the workout feeling good.  For a marathon, I've done a workout like 3k + 2k + 1k.  Of course, the last one, 1k, can be pretty fast; because it's shorter and because I'm all warmed-up.  To me, that's the way to go about.

            JML


              JML:

               

              I'm glad I waited till you posted that so I wouldn't conflict myself!! ;o)  Seriously, though, I was going to say exactly what I said to you; I like to think of intervals as "one to work on your breaking (long reps)" and "one to work on your leg speed (shorter reps)".  I usually don't care too much for speed/pace.  I know some people LOVE to get into the pace and all that (LT, AT, whatever) but, as far as I'm concerned, it's a bunch of crap--as Arthur used to say, "eye-wash".  First of all, your speed would shift sooooooo much once you start to work on intervals.  The "pace" is just not the still number.  One week of work will develop into the next week.  This, Arthur showed it as..."first week, at 1/4 effort, then 1/2 effort..."  You may do your 400s in, say, 110-seconds this week; but you should be able to do them in 97 seconds next week AT THE SAME EFFORT.  But if you set the speed from the get-go, most likely it's too fast/hard for you on the first day of intervals; invariably you'd either over-do them or get discouraged.  It is sooooooo much better, with interval training, to finish it with the feeling of success than failure.

               

              In terms of ladder, it's interesting because I personally prefer the other way around--start with 200, top with 800 or 1200, then come down to 200.  My rationale is this; to me, the first set is always hard and, with my male hormone, I tend to start out too fast.  So after 200, I'm done.  I'd do a few 200s and, by then, I'll be ready for 400...so on and so forth.  I may do a couple of 800s or even go as long as 1200 and start to come down.  By then, I'm all warmed-up and ready to go fast.  And, as the distance gets shorter, I CAN go faster.  So I'd finish the workout with a couple of pretty fast 200s and feeling pretty good.  Again, you always want to finish the workout feeling good.  For a marathon, I've done a workout like 3k + 2k + 1k.  Of course, the last one, 1k, can be pretty fast; because it's shorter and because I'm all warmed-up.  To me, that's the way to go about.

               

              Nobby:

               

              Good point on pacing for intervals.  I typically use the pace in RW as a rough guide, but generally run them at what feels ‘comfortably fast’.  For me , this is the speed where my turnover feels fluid, my form is good and I am not consciously forcing the pace.  I like to think of it as running fast…..but also relaxed.   As it so happens, this pace typically falls within the range in the RW plan.  After the first repeat,  I just try to stay consistent and not let the splits vary too much.

               

              On the reverse ladder…..it is not my favorite workout.  It was a great tool used by my high school running coach to teach us the lesson of intelligent pacing.  We ended up racing a lot of workouts and he understood better than we did that racing a 4 mile easy jog was a bad idea.

               

              He had another workout that he would use as an object lesson on pacing.  He would send us out on a ¾ mile loop course that we would have to run four times.  The only rule was that each loop had to be slightly faster than the previous one (similar to an out-and-back or PCR).  If you ran the first loop at a reasonable pace, this was an easy workout.  Unfortunately for my teenage brain, this was a hard concept to grasp.  Our group would start off easy, and inevitably  someone would pick up the pace during the first loop.  If you failed to progress, coach would turn you around and you would have to run the loop in the opposite direction……to the jeers of your more intelligent teammates.   This lesson sticks with me to this day which is why I have negative split my last two half marathons.  It is always better to be patient and let the pace come to you than it is to force it.

               2014 goals: run a bunch....race some.....repeat...


              Bacon Party!

                Glad to be reading these posts on intervals ... I'm not there yet, but will likely be back to reference this thread when the time comes. Thanks for providing your input, Nobby!

                Liz

                pace sera, sera

                  Glad to be reading these posts on intervals ... I'm not there yet, but will likely be back to reference this thread when the time comes. Thanks for providing your input, Nobby!

                   

                  +1 Smile

                   

                  I would really like to know what 1/4 and 1/2 effort means. 1/4 or 1/2 of what?? I can't make anything of it (of course the pace chart tells me how fast to run - but the range of paces is very wide, e.g. between 7:15 and 8:19 for 1600m).


                  Hungry

                     

                    I would really like to know what 1/4 and 1/2 effort means. 1/4 or 1/2 of what?? I can't make anything of it (of course the pace chart tells me how fast to run - but the range of paces is very wide, e.g. between 7:15 and 8:19 for 1600m).

                    I have the same question. I looked at the pace charts for both 1/4 and 1/2 effort, and the times were only slightly different between the charts for a given interval distance (maybe about 5 seconds difference for me between the 800m runs at the 1/4 and 1/2 efforts levels -- I can't remember which was faster).

                      Oh, geez, guys; I can't move forward with other threads!! ;o)

                       

                      I know, nobody likes it--even Bill Bowerman said he didn't like it!! ;o)  But, actually when you think about it, it's quite logical (but not mathematical).  Basically, 1/4 effort is easy; 1/2 effort is medium effort; 3/4 effort is pretty hard but still manageable.  When it gets up to, say, tempo runs, etc., then it MIGHT even go as high as 7/8 effort but rarely.

                       

                      I know it's rather wide range; I actually left it rather wide (so I can cover my a$$!! ;o)).  But seriously, depending on the type of a runner (fast guy vs. stamina guy) and background of training (hardy experienced runner vs. beginner), a minute for a mile repeat can be pretty normal.  I just wanted to make enough room for the error so the faster guys CAN run a bit faster if they wanted to within the reasonable range; and not-so-experienced guys CAN stay relatively slow without feeling bad about it.  Of course, because we used a certain factor, a long rep (mile) would have a wider range.  Basically, I was looking at 400-800m range and then it would probably be more reasonable.  That is not to say 400-800 is the best interval distance.  In fact, for a marathon training, you COULD, if you want, do something like 3 X 2-mile (a bit longer end because the schedule, I think, would call for 8k max total which is 5 miles).  But you will notice that the pace is quite forgiving.  It's because we don't necessarily believe super fast intervals.  In fact, I don't think you'll even get up to 3/4 effort if you're training for a marathon (but the total volume is higher).  This is because I really don't think you'll need to sharpen your speed that much if you're training for a marathon (of course, we still include sprinting fast speed when you get it down to Coordination Phase; it's not just during the Interval Phase).

                       

                      The effort chart was developed to (1) slow you down, and (2) make you understand that, for the first week of Interval, all you need is 1/4 effort (easy).  Over time, it'll get it down to 1/2 effort where you're expected to run a bit faster but, by then, you SHOULD BE ready to run faster.  This is actually something no other text book or training program had done--incorporate the rate of improvement within the program.  With RW, we basically laid out the whole entire FLOW.  To me, that's what it's all about--FLOW of improvement.  One single impressive workout, even if it's a long run, doesn't mean a thing to me.  It's the FLOW of one workout to the next, one week to the next, one Phase to the next that really matters.  In fact, I know a lot of people get hang up with THE long run for the marathon but, to me, the most important workout for a marathon preparation is, 4-6 weeks out, you should have a very long Out & Back run (if you're a 2-hour runner, it should be 1:45 in duration) at pretty good clip (still not quite a marathon pace).  To me, THIS is the dress rehearsal.  I don' t really care if you do 3-hour run or 3:30 run; but this one, a long run at a good clip--and followed by a long jog--is what really prepares you for a marathon.  If you want to run a half marathon race somewhere, this would be a good time.  Use it as a DRESS REHEARSAL (but still not quite all-out; should be in control).  Try GU if you want for this one.  Wear what you expect to wear for the actual marathon (shoes and shorts and whole shebang).

                      I would really like to know what 1/4 and 1/2 effort means. 1/4 or 1/2 of what?? I can't make anything of it (of course the pace chart tells me how fast to run - but the range of paces is very wide, e.g. between 7:15 and 8:19 for 1600m).