12345

Interval purposes (side topic from pg3 of "other than experience" thread) (Read 7450 times)


Fat butt on couch

    Going off-topic in the other thread, so I'm bringning it here.

     

    I was relating the concept of using relatively short recoveries between intervals when trying to achieve high-end aerobic development. The questions were asked why, what I was trying to acheive, etc etc. So here it goes. 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. Say you run a 5K in 16:00. While races are always good for development, you will rely heavily on the anaerobic component in the end stages of the race so you expose your body to high-end aerobic effort less than that 17:00. However, say you do 8X800 in 2:30 avg with 90sec recoveries. That workout will take you 32 minutes to complete, and the only time you tap anaerobic is if you try to blow out the last interval fast. You've just gotten yourself nearly twice the amount of time at sustained high-end aerobic effort! Think what that does for your development and the ability to hold high-end aerobic paces in your next race. The bulk of my speed workouts are #3. I will use #2 as a sharpening tool 2-3 times going into a key race under 10K.

     

    The only time I have used #1 post-college was when I was picked to run an 800m leg at the USATF Indoor Championships on a distance medley relay team. It only took 3 weeks of doing two #1 workouts per week to find speed I hadn't known I had since high school. #1 gives up its gains in just a few weeks. #2 takes a bit longer. I've successfully continued to gain by #3 for up to 4 months. But they should be ideally applied in the reverse order (#3 followed by #2 then #1 time-wise). When using #3, I suggest those newer to intervals start out at 2 miles of total intervals and work their way up. A well-conditioned and relatively quick runner should be able to get in 4 miles of these intervals in a session (not counting recoveries). When I was peaking out I could get 5 miles of intervals in a workout but I would not recommend that unless you are winning races and runnin 90+ mpw. I have experimented with longer intervals, all the way up to 3200m. 3X3200m with 5min recovery is a great workout but the pace is getting too slow to consider it in any of the groupings above. The two last interval workouts I ran before my 10K PR were 4X2000m then 3X3000m workouts at 10K goal pace. I always dreamed of running 3X5000m with 7min recovery in 16:00 or faster but it never worked out.

    "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

     

      The above post tells you all you need to know about interval running.
        Thanks. I just printed that out. That's exactly the stuff I was looking for with my question in the other thread.
        E-mail: JakeKnight2002@aol.com
        -----------------------------


        Fat butt on couch

          Let me add that I think people use #2 (the interval workout type, that is!) too often. They enjoy the rush of running fast, but do not want to take on the associated discomfort of doing #3. What results is a hybrid where they do the recoveries of #2 with the pace of #3, which sub-optimizes the benefits. If you recover too long, HR drops, lactic acid clears, and you're not getting all the benefits you could. There is nothing wrong with it if your primary goal is to have fun or get some experience with speed. But if you are really trying to wring the most benefit out of the workout, you have to decide what the goal is.

          "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

           


          I've got a fever...

            Other than the incorrect lactic acid stuff, this post is fantastic. Lactic acid build-up as the source of "the burn" or a source of fatigue is a myth. Lactic acid (or more properly, lactate) in the bloodstream is actually feed back into your body's energy producing cycles as a source of energy. http://www.runningahead.com/forums/post/06f09a8e70584820ba3a033592b4874e#focus http://www.runningahead.com/forums/post/2f607a3c402146dfaaf5bb28082a85f9#focus I say this not to be snarky or pick on your thread, but merely wanted to help avoid continuing to propagate an old running myth. Seriously, though, fantastic stuff on the intervals.

            On your deathbed, you won't wish that you'd spent more time at the office.  But you will wish that you'd spent more time running.  Because if you had, you wouldn't be on your deathbed.

              I read the whole thing 3X and section 3 five or six times. Aerobic intervals are a new concept for me. One would have to be in phenomenal aerobic condition to run the last few intervals of an 8X800 while not going into an anaerobic state. In terms of planning, would you run a recovery run following a type 3 interval? Do you treat it like a long tempo run or the traditional anaerobic interval? You mention "newer to intervals"...is the 25 mpw runner going to benefit from this or should the focus be on increasing mileage? Is there room for both? You mentioned 2 miles...better to do 8X400 or 4X800? Which is more important, frequency or distance? I'm guessing the first. Great post, it's always nice to have information even when it's calculus and I'm still learning algebra.
              2008 Goals Don't attack the guy that passes me like I'm standing still when I think I'm running fast...I can't catch him anyway and I'd just look silly
                Excellent post...Was curious if you have any kind of formula for rest/recovery times for each interval type? I recently started shortening my recovery times and it seems to have really helped in my last 5k.


                I've got a fever...

                  You mention "newer to intervals"...is the 25 mpw runner going to benefit from this or should the focus be on increasing mileage? Is there room for both?
                  My old XC coach told me not to do any intervals until I was at least 40~45 miles per week. Now, it can vary for everyone, but I think at 25 mpw, you're much better off increasing mileage before adding lots of speed. Intervals gove you the most bang for your buck short term, but they are hard on your body, and require truly easy runs on easy days to avoid overtraining. Higher mileage will toughen your body up for those intervals. I think at the 25mpw, it's ok to sprinkle in some tempo runs and hills, both of which are less stressful than intervals.

                  On your deathbed, you won't wish that you'd spent more time at the office.  But you will wish that you'd spent more time running.  Because if you had, you wouldn't be on your deathbed.


                  I've got a fever...

                    Excellent post...Was curious if you have any kind of formula for rest/recovery times for each interval type? I recently started shortening my recovery times and it seems to have really helped in my last 5k.
                    Except for type 1 intervals in spaniel's great post, I think it's good to start with recoveries equal in duration to the hard part, and shrink the recovery times as you get better. (i.e. if you do 6x800m in 3:00 each, start with a 3-minute recovery). Spaniel also makes a good point in that it's usually better to reduce recovery times as you advance, rather than pile on more reps.

                    On your deathbed, you won't wish that you'd spent more time at the office.  But you will wish that you'd spent more time running.  Because if you had, you wouldn't be on your deathbed.


                    Fat butt on couch

                      Other than the incorrect lactic acid stuff, this post is fantastic. Lactic acid build-up as the source of "the burn" or a source of fatigue is a myth. Lactic acid (or more properly, lactate) in the bloodstream is actually feed back into your body's energy producing cycles as a source of energy. http://www.runningahead.com/forums/post/06f09a8e70584820ba3a033592b4874e#focus http://www.runningahead.com/forums/post/2f607a3c402146dfaaf5bb28082a85f9#focus I say this not to be snarky or pick on your thread, but merely wanted to help avoid continuing to propagate an old running myth. Seriously, though, fantastic stuff on the intervals.
                      Half agree, half disagree. Lactic acid as a DIRECT source of "the burn" or fatigue is more or less a myth. The part where I disagree is the INDIRECT association. Lactic acid is a reporter on the balance between aerobic and anaerobic metabolism in your muscles. If oxygen is available, and the output of your mitochondria can keep up with the energy demands of your pace, the muscle will burn pyruvate via the oxidative pathway in the mitochondria preferentially as it is FAR more efficient use of resources. However, as the demand for ATP (energy) outstrips this capacity anaerobic metabolism via glycolysis in the cytoplasm makes up the difference but is very inefficient and of very limited capacity. Most byproducts in the body are recycled as human biochemistry is a marvel of efficiency. It is no surprise that lactate can be recycled to form energy. However, do not confuse the ability of this to happen with it being some sort of valuable part of what is going on during exercise. Remember, the creation of lactate is very inefficient and would not happen if aerobic metabolism could keep up. Therefore, lactate accumulation reports the balance between aerobic and anaerobic in the muscle. It is not an on/off switch but a gradual process between aerobic and anaerobic metabolism. If lactate is clearing between repeats, it means you are going further from the "edge" of high-end aerobic work and are not getting the accumulated time there that you are striving for from the workout. You back way off, then go too fast on the next repeat and overshoot. You want to stay on the edge and utilize the full aerobic value, not toggle between very aerobic and very anaerobic. I wish I could find old threads in other forums where I went into this in very great and not so watered down detail, as a molecular and cellular biologist I've done this discussion more times than I care to count... Edited to summarize: What #3 is trying to accomplish, if you graphed time vs level of aerobic energy output, is a line with very small bumps with each peak representing max output towards the end of each inteval. Ideally your max aerobic energy output would be a line right at the average between the peaks and valleys....you are prolonging the time you can average very close to this range, with each interval pushing you a little over but then the recovery short enough that you only briefly dip down below. If you take too long of rests, and then go faster on the reps, you yo-yo way above that line and then dip way below it. You don't ride that line. I was simply using lactate as a reporter...it you do it right it'll gradually accumulate during the workout as you're always pushing that anaerobic line.

                      "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

                       


                      The Greatest of All Time

                        If lactate is clearing between repeats, it means you are going further from the "edge" of high-end aerobic work and are not getting the accumulated time there that you are striving for from the workout. You back way off, then go too fast on the next repeat and overshoot. You want to stay on the edge and utilize the full aerobic value, not toggle between very aerobic and very anaerobic....
                        Ah...biochemistry. A degree I have wasted. This is spot on accurate. Good post. MTA: In regards to you #3 intervals, those are the type I run the most. I haven't been to a real track in years so I run these on the road, etc. What pace do you normally run those at? I don't want a specific number, but just in relation to 5 or 10k pace. Personally I run some at 5k pace and some at 10k pace. It just depends on how my legs feel on a given day. Do you vary the pace at all? Good post by the way.
                        all you touch and all you see, is all your life will ever be

                        Obesity is a disease. Yes, a disease where nothing tastes bad...except salads.


                        I've got a fever...

                          I was simply using lactate as a reporter...it you do it right it'll gradually accumulate during the workout as you're always pushing that anaerobic line.
                          I'll buy that. And to be fair, I don't think you said anything about lactic acid burn. I guess I didn't like the sentence:
                          Moderate recoveries...are used to allow time to clear the lactic acid from your system
                          because that indirectly feeds the myth. The lactate clears, but you're not really waiting for that, per se, during the recovery.

                          On your deathbed, you won't wish that you'd spent more time at the office.  But you will wish that you'd spent more time running.  Because if you had, you wouldn't be on your deathbed.


                          Fat butt on couch

                            Man, I keep thinking "be more clear"... Smile So glucose is broken into 2 pyruvate molecules that can go two ways -- straight into the mitochondria to be metabolized into energy by the use of oxygen, or into lactate. Now, the conversion in the mitochondria is much more efficient but A) requires oxygen, and B) takes longer. The conversion to lactate gives off a small amount of energy much quicker but leaves the bulk of the potential energy from the molecule locked up in the lactate. People who say "but lactate is a fuel!" miss the point of its production. Lactate is not produced in great amounts when oxygen is available -- the body wants to be as efficient as possible. Therefore, if lactate is flooding into the bloodstream then oyxgen is relatively low. True, lactate can be used as a fuel. It is imported back into the cells, lactate dehydrogenase enzyme then converts the lactate back to pyruvate...which is then metabolized using oxygen. The important note here is that, if lactate is only produced in low oxygen environment, it cannot be a substantial fuel source until oxygen levels increase as it requires oxygen to break it down!! However once oxygen levels rise it is easily recycled. This is why I say you are trying to ride that edge and don't want lactate falling too much...If it does, oxygen is going way up, and you aren't riding the line as closely.

                            "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

                             


                            Fat butt on couch

                              I'll buy that. And to be fair, I don't think you said anything about lactic acid burn. I guess I didn't like the sentence: because that indirectly feeds the myth. The lactate clears, but you're not really waiting for that, per se, during the recovery.
                              Yes, I was not clear and I can see that. Sorry. Hope my biochemical ramblings have cleared that one up!

                              "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

                               


                              I've got a fever...

                                Yes, I was not clear and I can see that. Sorry. Hope my biochemical ramblings have cleared that one up!
                                I appreciate your biochemical ramblings, and between you and Marcus, I now know where to turn when I have questions in that arena.

                                On your deathbed, you won't wish that you'd spent more time at the office.  But you will wish that you'd spent more time running.  Because if you had, you wouldn't be on your deathbed.

                                12345