The Secret to Successful Interval Training
Lifted from an article from Runner’s World.
I’m training for a 15K and using a Runner’s World Smart Coach plan. One workout has me running 2x1600m@8:33 pace, with 800-meter recovery jogs. At what pace should I run the 800m recoveries? I think 10:00 or 11:00 pace may be too slow. – Eric
Eric, the important thing to remember when running intervals is that the secret to success is in the recovery process — not the speed. We exist in an interval world, where we live, and then sleep to recover for the next day. Without sleep, the quality of our life declines rapidly. And the same holds true while interval training.
The goal of those 800-meter recovery jogs is to allow your heart rate, circulation, and breathing time to recover (like when you sleep) so you can run the next interval just as strong. Knowing this, it might be helpful to think of the 800 meters as a “recovery” rather than a slow-down. Early in the season, this may mean you need to run at 11:00 pace or even walk a little to recover before the next interval. Keep in mind that the payoff comes when you invest in a proper recovery and run at the target fast pace (and not any faster), your body will adapt and you’ll soon be capable of not only running faster with less effort, but the time it takes to recover will decrease as well. (By the way, a heart rate monitor is a great way to watch your effort, fast and slow, and track your progress on recovery time.) This means you may start the season running the recovery at 11:00 pace, but end up around 10:00 to 10:30 pace as your body adapts to the training.
Another important thing to remember: The goal is to run the last (second) interval just as hard as the first. This takes discipline to stay on pace early on and stick with that target pace throughout the workout. This is especially true with interval workouts that include more reps at a harder effort.
Every workout in the Smart Coach Program has a specific purpose and although it’s a challenge to slow down while running intervals, once you do, you’ll find it’s an investment that will pay off down the road.
Coach Jenny Hadfield
Many thanks, Coach Jenny. I will surely keep this in mind whenever I have training sessions that require speedwork. =)