/ Interval training
Hi all, having regained some reasonable fitness back lately, I'd like to improve some of my times.
For example, my local parkrun is a tricky little doozy with three laps incorprating an incline through a wooded area and then some steep steps. There is no massive gain in height but they take the wind from your sails and it takes a few hundred mts to get your breath back by which time momentum is lost. Chrismas day I did about 22:32 and yesterday 22:45 although I was not feeling 100%. My best for this parkrun is 22:06 some 5 years ago although its not a huge expectation to get below 22mins. Someone mentioned intervals of some type but the question is, which is best and how to incorporate into a weekly schedule that currently sees me run between 3 and 4 times between 22 and 28 miles.
I dont want to drop distance much as this is helping me keep the weight down and improve endurance. I've never done intervals so no idea what duration would work and whether to use distance or time as the method and over what duration.
Also, I have a Garmin 645 which I think has intervals on it to help time me. Is it easy to program this in?
I'd have thought you'd have joined NotFast in Newark. There was a very impressive group of them at the East Mids. Cross Country today. No fun doing intervals on your own. Actually not much fun in company either.
I know some of the Notfasters. Nice bunch and some fast uns. Newark Striders is my club although I tend to run alone at the moment as I can be more flexible.
Not heard of Newark striders. If you want a good Parkrun time, Long Eaton is the one. I'm rather on my own in not believing in intervals. But I think occasional short sprints are good for speed.
How about this for starters. Alternate each week, just do them once a week:
8 x 400m @ 5K pace - 25s w/60s rests
6 x 800m @ 5K pace - 15s w/90s rests
4 x 1200m @ 5K pace - 10s w/120s rests
3 x 1600m @ 5K pace - 5s w/180s rests
Play with the pace and rest time if some feel too hard at first. I used to program these into my old Garmin and the watch beeps at you as you're coming to the end of an interval or rest. I don't think I can on my new watch, so I just hit the lap button each time and keep an eye on it (e.g. 400m = 0.25 miles). Rest can be light jog or, as I do, bent over heaving and staggering around until the next one!
These days I have to do a 2 mile warm up w/strides beforehand. Can also add 1-2 miles cool down afterwards. Means the sessions end up around 7 miles total.
Hope this helps. Type 2 fun definitely, awful during but glow after
Thanks for this, so...
8 x 400 at 5k pace = 25 second of running and 120 second rest? Not sure I understand what it means.
> Thanks for this, so...
> 8 x 400 at 5k pace = 25 second of running and 120 second rest? Not sure I understand what it means.
No, 400m (0.25 miles) will take you about 90 seconds, depending on how fast you go (and you rest for 60s) after each one. I meant the speed you should do that particular interval at should be 25s faster than your 5K pace (sorry, I can see how you could have read it wrong - I should have used brackets around the "5K pace - 25s" bit).
So, if your 5K pace is 7 min/mile, run the 400 intervals at 6:35 min/mile pace.
If you're going to them on a track, then start with 6*800m at 5k pace with 200 jog. There are lots of possible sessions.
If away from a track, start at 6*2 minutes, one minute recovery, work up to 6*3mins with 1 recovery.
are you primarily aiming to get a good 5K time? that's what you describe but then mention no expectation to get below 22mins.
intervals will undoubtedly help, but how about getting better at inclines if "they take the wind from your sails and it takes a few hundred mts to get your breath back by which time momentum is lost"?
> are you primarily aiming to get a good 5K time? that's what you describe but then mention no expectation to get below 22mins.
> intervals will undoubtedly help, but how about getting better at inclines if "they take the wind from your sails and it takes a few hundred mts to get your breath back by which time momentum is lost"?
Its a good question and thanks wbo too.
Mainly, Im just happy being fit and regularly running. Those who follow the UKCStrava club will see the regular street pounding.
I guess we take things for granted when we become used to them. I can knock out a 5, 10km, half without an issue now which would have been unthinkable a year ago. I suppose my feeling is that I just want to improve in each area, slowly, to ensure that things dont become boring but more importantly, that I dont suffer the injuries Ive had in the past.
Seeing improvements on time and distances are hugely motivating at my age.
> (sorry David, decent is <15 for a senior male).
I take it you can't run a decent 5K then ?
Take a look at this:
And your Garmin also has 5K training programs available through the Garmin connect site/app...
The basic principle is that if you run your max effort over your chosen distance then you will never be training at the pace you want to complete it in because you can't sustain it but if you can do it with breaks you can train at your desired race pace. You just have to experiment a bit to work out what's going to work well for you.
There are lots of variations along the same theme but one way to do it would be to pick a time you'd like to achieve over your 5k then break it down into shorter sections and start learning how to run at that pace. Running 5km in 22 mins equates to 4 minutes 24 seconds per km (4.4 minutes). half a km should take 2m12 and so on. Perhaps find a half km stretch and try to do it in 2 minutes and see how you get on, if you can do 10 repetitions of that distance then you've reached 5km and you can work out how short of a break you can manage in between them. If you're feeling a bit broken by the end and like the last interval is almost too much for you manage then that's about right.
The only real way to get a plan is to go out with a stop watch somewhere you can measure distance and have a play around till you've found a pace your body can sustain for your goal times - it will take you a little while to start leaning what pace you're running at but that is one of the benefits of running intervals it just takes a bit of time. You can set your intervals up for speed or endurance, if you're more focussed on increasing your endurance then up the length of your intervals and decrease the rest time. If you want speed and power then decrease the interval and increase the rest time. You're just training your body at the level you want it to operate at but it isn't able to yet, the rests are just there to facilitate a level of training that your body can't cope with flat out yet.
Hill sprints are my favourite for getting an increase in my times over mid distance. A good hill for hill sprints is as steep as you can find but still able to sprint it all the way to the top, 50m or so but it doesn't matter too much as long as it makes you want to die by the time you're done. I do something along the lines of: start with a 10 minute fastish warm up, then do 5-10 sets of sprints, and then do 3 miles best effort on the flat. It's a killer but it makes a difference pretty quickly.
You only want to be doing those kind of routines once a week really and having a rest day afterwards with plenty sleep and food and water. They take a lot out of your body and if you're carrying niggles or imbalances then high intensity training is more likely to bring an injury out of the woodwork. If you find yourself doing similar runs every week then anything you do to shake it up will probably help speed up your normal runs, fartlek; just going up and down those steps 3-5 times as part of your normal runs once or twice a week; doing explosive strength training lunges/box jumps/split squat jumps; steep walks with a heavy bag etc. There's no substitute for specificity but if you get into a habit of doing the same kind of runs over the same distances at the same speeds and in the same kind of places then mixing things up can break through a plateu and be an enjoyable change to keep you motivated through the grim winter months.
Most clubs will do at least one session a week based on intervals. Most people get much more out of them if they do them as part of a group. Unlike David, I think they are hugely beneficial.
He means the pace should be faster than your 5k pace. So if doing 400m efforts, should be 25 seconds a mile faster than your 5k mile pace. I’d say faster than that for 400m.
Ive programmed a 400mtr option into the watch so I'll see about bringing it into my weekly routine.
your situation parallels mine quite a bit in terms of distances, amount run and hilly parkrun. only difference is within the half a dozen parkruns i have done i was able to go from 23mins to sub 20, which is why i was wondering about the sub 22 mins as being unachievable. i managed this by doing a bit less distance per week and replacing that with higher intensity short runs (so a couple of 5k runs earlier in the week at my maximum to try and get used to sustaining the pain), as well as using a route with similar hills to the parkrun course.
never felt the need to do intervals. might do when i have the time as feel my 10k times have plateaued and possibly considering a marathon this year for the first time if i can get rid of a niggle or two.
I don't really train for speed as such as my main goals are ultra distance (I run one local 10km a year which I actually race, but more out of curiosity) but I actually incorporate speed work and intervals into my training because it quite simply makes you a stronger overall runner.
The body easily gets comfortable with cruising long distances at a moderate pace, but will only adapt to handle what you throw at it so your overall threshold doesn't increase much. I find that if I do speedwork, my overall performance ceiling increases, so my easy efforts are even easier, and I've always got more in the tank on longer runs.
That's the theory anyway. I tend to do hills as they're more fun (less hell) - usually a 300m stretch which I run full out, turn around and then the only recovery is a slow job back down to the bottom - repeat immediately 6-8 times.
Otherwise I find the Steady State Run helps - 10 mins warm up, then 10-20 minutes at 10k-marathon race pace, 3 times separated by a 5 minute recovery jog. It's a beast of a session I find and they scare me but I'm positive they make a difference.
Best of luck.
I agree with everything you say. But since you are training your body to be able to run at a faster pace by doing so for an interval, why does it make sense to start that interval stressed and out of breath ? I am sure whatever you do will be good stamina training and possibly 'improves recovery'. But recovery is not obviously helpful for speeding up a one off 5K. For best speed improvement it makes sense to achieve a large difference between the interval pace and your normal 5K pace and to maintain that as long as possible. To begin each interval less than fully recovered , seems counterproductive to the stated objective ?
Your body will be “stressed and out of breath” in the last third of a race, when you need to be trying to hold form and pace. Intervals progressively stress and exhaust your body, the recovery between intervals is so that you can actually do them, the training gain is from the recovery from the completed session.
> I take it you can't run a decent 5K then ?
Based on what wbo has stated previously, I suspect he has. I don’t know if he still can, but I also suspect he is no longer a senior.
> Your body will be “stressed and out of breath” in the last third of a race, when you need to be trying to hold form and pace. Intervals progressively stress and exhaust your body, the recovery between intervals is so that you can actually do them, the training gain is from the recovery from the completed session.
My proposal is that you start each interval fully recovered , and then run as fast as you can until unable to continue. "Your body will be stressed and out of breath." You will have been able to train at a faster pace.
You misunderstand. I consider the op's current pace to be "decent". Whereas I suspect wbo would become the world record holder for his age if he could achieve his own definition of "decent".
If we're specifically talking about park run times, I suspect that not very many people turn up at 9am on a Saturday morning totally destressed and in absolutely peak physical readiness
Not wrong. Mornings don't suit me.
> You misunderstand. I consider the op's current pace to be "decent". Whereas I suspect wbo would become the world record holder for his age if he could achieve his own definition of "decent".
Except that he said for a “senior male” 15:00 is 2:33 slower than the WR and hundreds of British men and a few British women ran faster than 15:00 last year.
> So ?
Could you be a little less obtuse? You suggested that wbo’s idea of a decent 5k time is WR material, I showed you it isn’t.
I suspect wbo’s point is that all those athletes running sub 15 are good athletes getting generally getting their training right, the point is they all do interval work.
I imagine you consider that you can achieve a decent 5K ? So do I. But not close to all time world record.
> they all do interval work.
I have not suggested they don't or that it's not a good idea. I just made a very specific proposal, with clear reasoning for it. Why do you not address that , instead of trying to find something to disagree with ?
Thanks for all the replies.
I think I get the gist now so will include some intervals when I have time and see if they work for me. I will run 3-4 time per week and include an interval plus I play badminton on Wed nights which means I wont run then (this is my cross train night) with one rest day or possibly two. I always try and squeeze in a parkrun.
> I imagine you consider that you can achieve a decent 5K ? So do I. But not close to all time world record.
Its relative I don’t consider myself a decent runner, at least not in the context of guys finishing in the top couple of hundred at the National XC say, as already demonstrated, 15 minutes is no where near the WR.
> I have not suggested they don't or that it's not a good idea. I just made a very specific proposal, with clear reasoning for it. Why do you not address that , instead of trying to find something to disagree with ?
Your proposal isn’t interval training and I don’t find your reasoning very clear. I’m really not looking for an argument, just trying to clarify a point made by another poster.
The point raised that you will not be well recovered in the last intervals is that this condition will simulate the situation you'll be in the last part of your race, and that your body (and mind) will learn, adapt, how to run fast while being very tired.
Thanks for your reply.
> The point raised that you will not be well recovered in the last intervals is that this condition will simulate the situation you'll be in the last part of your race, and that your body (and mind) will learn, adapt, how to run fast while being very tired.
Ben Sharp posted :
"The basic principle is that if you run your max effort over your chosen distance then you will never be training at the pace you want to complete it in because you can't sustain it but if you can do it with breaks you can train at your desired race pace."
I was asking what advantage anyone could see that would result from reducing the break time , rather than increase the duration , or pace , of the interval ? Given that the intervals are run until the pace cannot be sustained in either case.
If you conclude that a different kind of "tired" is produced. I suggest that this is endurance training done at the expense of speed training. I don't feel the need for mind training as I get that in races , which give better motivation for doing so.
If you rest too long, it takes too long to get your heart rate back up to VO2max levels. If you don’t rest long enough your lactate will build up too much and you won’t be able to hit the speed.
The idea is that you run slightly faster than your VO2max point which is about the speed you could maintain for about 12mins.
For maximum benefit from the session you want to do about 30mins of total effort.
Hence run short intervals quickly with the right amount of breaks.
It’s a well tested training method.
The jagged coastline of south Pembrokeshire is undeniably home to some of the best sea-cliff climbing in the UK, perhaps in the... Read more
The 2019 Women in Adventure Film Competition - organised by BMC TV and Womenclimb - has attracted a record number of female-led... Read more
Save up to 30% on Mountain Equipment including Gore-Tex winter clothing. Save 24% on Fjallraven Abisko Trail... Read more
Looking for some office space in North Wales? We now have various options available to rent on a medium to long term... Read more