Running Intervals

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Once every other week, I do speedwork. I run 7 miles in total for the workout. 1.5 Warm Up at 6.5, then 11 1/4 miles at 7.8 (7:40 pace) with 1/8 mile recoveries at 5-5.5mph, then 1.5 mile cool down. I want to slowly make this workout harder. What should I start changing? I can run a 10K pacing 8:00, a 5K pacing 7:40-7:45. I'd like to run a 10K eventually at 7:30. My weekly mileage is 40ish over 5 workouts. (7,5,7, fast 6.5, long run of 2-2:30). Thanks.

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  • rybo
    rybo Posts: 5,424 Member
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    Run the intervals faster, or longer distances at the fast pace. Sometimes ladders are a nice change (200, 400, 600, 800 & back down)
    Intervals should serve a particular purpose so the pace & recovery time/distance are important.
  • only6icecubes
    only6icecubes Posts: 20 Member
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    First thing is to get a coach or read Jack Daniel's Running Formula. Book is cheaper.

    40 mile a week is good but you will need to do at least 2 workouts a week. One would be your track workout and the other would be a tempo or longer steady state run. Increasing your interval pace/time to hit a pace/time for a race will only cause you injury.

    Make sure you are getting a quality long run in as well. You should be doing between 9 and 13 at least. This might push your weekly mileage up towards the 50 mile mark. If you really want to get faster, you should be running everyday as well.

    Two days off for cross training only makes you better at cross training, not running. Plus there are no cross training workouts that help you as a runner. Only running helps you as a running.

    Runners only cross train because we are injured. Therefore all runners hate cross training.
  • Charlene_1985
    Charlene_1985 Posts: 122 Member
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    First thing is to get a coach or read Jack Daniel's Running Formula. Book is cheaper.

    40 mile a week is good but you will need to do at least 2 workouts a week. One would be your track workout and the other would be a tempo or longer steady state run. Increasing your interval pace/time to hit a pace/time for a race will only cause you injury.

    Make sure you are getting a quality long run in as well. You should be doing between 9 and 13 at least. This might push your weekly mileage up towards the 50 mile mark. If you really want to get faster, you should be running everyday as well.

    Two days off for cross training only makes you better at cross training, not running. Plus there are no cross training workouts that help you as a runner. Only running helps you as a running.

    Runners only cross train because we are injured. Therefore all runners hate cross training.

    I physically can't run 7 days a week because of my work schedule and have zero desire to not take a day off rom running to enjoy my bicycle each week. I am running around 12-15 miles once a week done around 90 seconds slower than my 5K/10K paces, and my 6.5 run is done at about 20 seconds slower than race pace.

    I will try slowly increasing the length of my intervals. I like the idea of increasing and then decreasing their distances within the workout. I do my speed workouts on Saturdays (my first 7 of the 7,5,7 group) alternating with hills every other Saturday. I will try that in two weeks.
  • spiriteagle99
    spiriteagle99 Posts: 3,696 Member
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    There are a hundreds of different interval workouts. You can get many from books or training plans, or just pay attention to what the more dedicated runners do on Daily Threads on sites like Runners World or Running Ahead. Or ask here for other people's favorite speedwork.

    My understanding is that the short 400 m. intervals should be done between 5k and 3k pace. Longer intervals can be done slower.

    One workout I like is 2 minutes at 5k pace, with 1 minute recovery, then 4 minutes at medium hard pace (between HM and 10k) with 2 minutes recovery. Repeat as time allows. If you don't want to be staring at your watch as you go, just run the first hard, the second moderately hard.

    Another I've done is 1, 2, 3, 2, 1, 2, 3, 2, 1 - in which 1 minute is run at 5k pace, then 2 minutes at 10k, and then 3 minutes at HM - with equal time recovery between each.

    Or 10 minutes at MP w/ 90 seconds recovery, 10 min. HMP + 90 seconds recovery, then 10 minutes 10k pace.


    Another I've done is 4, 3, 2, 1 - with 4 minutes at MP, 4 @ HMP, 4 @ 5k, then 3 at each pace, then 2, then 1. I don't remember whether recovery is equal to the interval or 1/2.
  • robertw486
    robertw486 Posts: 2,392 Member
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    In for the complexities of modern day training methods. :)

    I'm far from an expert on the subject, and the OP is already pretty quick. But back when I was running more (and thinner!) I didn't do a lot of structured insane workout schedules to get quick. I mixed it up a lot, made sure I ate decent, and got proper rest days in.

    I don't see a lot of solid rest and recovery in the plan, nor quicker than race pace short distance work. I personally think sprints at above your steady state goals are a factor for many people, and if nothing else help with the cardio base and reserve. You might be able to take part of your bike day and put it into your plan as well, maybe making time for more real "rest" days.
  • MeanderingMammal
    MeanderingMammal Posts: 7,866 Member
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    Once every other week, I do speedwork. I run 7 miles in total for the workout. 1.5 Warm Up at 6.5, then 11 1/4 miles at 7.8 (7:40 pace) with 1/8 mile recoveries at 5-5.5mph, then 1.5 mile cool down. I want to slowly make this workout harder. What should I start changing? I can run a 10K pacing 8:00, a 5K pacing 7:40-7:45. I'd like to run a 10K eventually at 7:30. My weekly mileage is 40ish over 5 workouts. (7,5,7, fast 6.5, long run of 2-2:30). Thanks.

    Given that your objective is improving your 10K pace I'd suggest structuring around that rather than making one session harder.

    For a 10K plan I'd suggest at least one speed session per week, rather than fortnightly. I'd also perhaps redistribute some of your mileage, your long just be in the realms of 15 miles, which seems a bit much unless you're also doing the odd marathon. 10 miles is plenty for a 10K plan. That would allow you to increase your midweek volume a little.

    In terms of said sessions, as Rybo mentions a ladder set is good, equally cruise intervals or mile repeats are also good. At the other end of the scale, 100m intervals will also stress your system far more than 400m.
  • MeanderingMammal
    MeanderingMammal Posts: 7,866 Member
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    Two days off for cross training only makes you better at cross training, not running. Plus there are no cross training workouts that help you as a runner. Only running helps you as a running.

    Runners only cross train because we are injured. Therefore all runners hate cross training.

    That'll be why all the successful athletes spend time doing resistance training...

    Triathletes tend to be pretty capable as well.
  • deannalfisher
    deannalfisher Posts: 5,600 Member
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    i found this book to be helpful for some structured treadmill workouts (since it sounds like you are doing your intervals work on the treadmill)

    https://www.amazon.com/Treadmill-Workouts-90-Every-Runner-ebook/dp/B072BS62Y3/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1500295231&sr=8-1&keywords=Treadmill+Workouts:+90+Treadmill+Workouts+for+Every+Runner+[Book]
  • Charlene_1985
    Charlene_1985 Posts: 122 Member
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    i found this book to be helpful for some structured treadmill workouts (since it sounds like you are doing your intervals work on the treadmill)

    https://www.amazon.com/Treadmill-Workouts-90-Every-Runner-ebook/dp/B072BS62Y3/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1500295231&sr=8-1&keywords=Treadmill+Workouts:+90+Treadmill+Workouts+for+Every+Runner+[Book]

    Thank you. I should have said my intervals on the treadmill. I don't have a track I can use with regularity.
  • MobyCarp
    MobyCarp Posts: 2,927 Member
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    i found this book to be helpful for some structured treadmill workouts (since it sounds like you are doing your intervals work on the treadmill)

    https://www.amazon.com/Treadmill-Workouts-90-Every-Runner-ebook/dp/B072BS62Y3/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1500295231&sr=8-1&keywords=Treadmill+Workouts:+90+Treadmill+Workouts+for+Every+Runner+[Book]

    Thank you. I should have said my intervals on the treadmill. I don't have a track I can use with regularity.

    If at all possible, get off the treadmill for intervals. You want to target a pace for the speed intervals, but pace is irrelevant for the recovery intervals. You run or walk the recovery at whatever pace you need to recover.

    Given that you can't use a track regularly, I'd gravitate more towards intervals defined by time or longer intervals. Examples: 4 x 4 minutes hard with 2 minutes recovery, or 4 x 0.5 miles at target pace of your choice, with 2 minutes recovery between. A GPS watch is better for managing stuff like this than a phone app is.

    If the goal is to increase 10K race pace, you ultimately want to work up to doing something like 2 to 4 x 1 mile at goal race pace with 2 or 3 minutes recovery between. That would get awfully long for a treadmill, and there's the problem that the treadmill forces you to a consistent pace during recovery when you should be recovering at whatever pace feels natural for recovery, even if that recovery pace is just standing around because the speed interval was so hard.

    The longer intervals build endurance at speed, which is what you need for 10K races and longer. For marathon training, some of my quality workouts have intervals that are 2 to 4 miles long; that would be overkill for 10K training.
  • Vladimirnapkin
    Vladimirnapkin Posts: 299 Member
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    I've had good success with intervals on the treadmill. If that's what you have, it will work. Intervals outside can be more pleasurable. For 10k, I'd work up to a set of 1/2 mile intervals with 1/4 mile recovery. Do the 1/2s at 5k pace, build up to 10x 1/2 mile and you will nail your race. (Once per week for this.)

    On another day, try a 20 + minutes at just slower than 10k pace, and follow with some short strides.

    Or, try some cruise intervals with recovery pace around MP (10k pace plus 20 to 30 second per mile). Format could be 3 minutes on/2 minutes recovery. Focus on keeping pace up during the recovery. The overall pace should end up about the same as your tempo pace. Glory will follow.

    These are great because you can do them by time, without needing a track or mile marks.
  • heybales
    heybales Posts: 18,842 Member
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    Depending on what you hope to gain from the intervals, here are some links that show in studies what is improved.

    http://www.exrx.net/Aerobic/IntervalTraining.html

    And then 2 links in there for SIT and HIIT specific type.

    And ditto's to daily not being needed unless you are beyond personal improvement and looking to win races.
    Even then though...
  • jjpptt2
    jjpptt2 Posts: 5,650 Member
    edited July 2017
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    If your goal is centered on your 10k time, I'd push your speed intervals a bit longer while keeping your rest intervals the same.

    I might also push one of your non-long runs out a bit to get in a little more mileage, but that really depends on how you're feeling/recovering on your current program. I'm a big believer in volume for your base, then adding in limited, specific workouts based on goals.
  • dmkoenig
    dmkoenig Posts: 299 Member
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    I agree with others that longer (800M) intervals are more in order for 10K-oriented training. Treadmills are nice to precisely control your pace but it's also good to experience changing conditions (temp, wind, humidity, etc.) by taking it outdoors especially when you do longer intervals. If you have some hills in your area you can integrate hill repeats into your interval training. I have a school and sport fields near my house that has exactly a 1 mile circumference making for a perfect place to run repeats. The first half is mostly uphill and the second half is downhill or flat so I work hard going out and then recover on the back half.
  • Charlene_1985
    Charlene_1985 Posts: 122 Member
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    Thanks for all the comments. I'm going to try to run my interval workout every Saturday going forward and use time instead of distance so I can do them outside. My running app has an "interval creator" I've used before and can be set up with both time or distance. I think I need to push myself harder with speed. I'll try increasing my interval lengths to 800m from the 400m I've been doing.
  • Vladimirnapkin
    Vladimirnapkin Posts: 299 Member
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    Be sure to report back and let us know how it works out for you!
  • GiddyupTim
    GiddyupTim Posts: 2,819 Member
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    Hey Charlene,
    I have two that I do, course they are outside runs and require a track.
    One is an intervals routine I got from Crossfit. It is a routine designed by Chris Hinshaw, a former Ironman competitor who is now training many of the top Crossfit people in their running.
    It is a series of 200 meter sprint intervals, with a 100 meter jog back after each interval. Of course, you have to have a watch to set a time you have to beat on the intervals.
    Essentially, what you do is: You hit the track and do your 200-meters, then you jog back 100 meters (a quarter of the track). Then you do 200 meters again and jog back 100 meters. You do this until you have gone around the track four times. It equals 16 intervals and 3,200 meters of interval sprinting with 1,600 meters of jog back.
    You can just time your first 200 meters, and then continue to try to match that time, as you get more and more fatigued.
    The other I got from Carrie Tollefson, a former Olympic miler. It is a workout she used to do.
    She would go to a track and run four times around at about a 10k pace. Rest two minutes. Then three times around. Rest two minutes. Then twice around. Rest one minute. Once around. Rest one minute. And, when the minute is up, you run 200 meter sprints, with one minute rests.
    I cannot remember how many sprints she did -- maybe 8? -- but I usually do six.
    I like this one because I don't even need a watch, since I know my running pace and I just sprint almost all out on the 200s. If it is a good day, I go faster. If it is not, I am sometimes a bit slower. But it is always a sprint.
  • oo7nrw
    oo7nrw Posts: 2 Member
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    One of the exercises we did in high school cross country was called "telephone polls", where we'd sprint to a poll, run to the next and repeat for a few miles. Doesn't require a track.

    Also, depending on where you live, a city block is approximately 1/4 mile. Check on Google maps/earth and you can measure your intervals that way.