Running/intervals

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EvanED
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Running/intervals

Postby EvanED » Fri Feb 24, 2012 10:23 pm UTC

So I've started doing some running interval training, but I have some questions about whether I'm doing it "right".

Here's the deal. I'm a pretty reasonable weight (160-165 lb at 6'), so I'm not primarily interested in either slimming down or bulking up. (I wouldn't mind losing a little fat, I'm actually sort of anti-interested in bulking up even if its muscle -- I rock climb and heavier me means more weight to pull up the wall. :-))

However, you know how people describe those who are really in shape as having the aerobic capacity of a horse? Well, I have the aerobic capacity of... whatever a not-horse is. I'd like to improve that.

I've gone a few times, mostly doing intervals. So far, I've been doing 30 sec. work periods and 1:30 or 2 minute recovery periods, with 4 work periods in a trip to the track. (I run at an indoor track, though I've thought about doing a stationary bike too.) My work periods are going near all-out, and my recovery periods are at a fast walk. (That's probably ~12-13 mph work, at least for the first couple, and down to ~3 mph recovery.) My hrm watch is kind of obnoxious to use so these numbers aren't perfect, but I usually end the work period with a heart rate of around 175-180 bpm and start back up around 150 bpm. Finally, I notice myself going noticeably slower in the 4th interval than the 1st and second, and my heart rate seems to drop noticeably slower in the later rest periods. I'm also pretty darn happy when my watch finally beeps on the last work period. :-)


So here are my questions:

1. Is interval training a good way to work towards my goal, or should I be doing something else?
2. Am I making the difference between work & recovery too extreme (and should back off on the work periods so I can go faster during recovery)? (This site seems to suggest so.)
3. As I improve, what balance should I strike between adding more intervals and decreasing the rest periods?

Edit: Oh yeah, right now I'm doing this twice a week, Mon and Wed. My general schedule has me doing that on Mon and Wed, some climbing some Tuesdays but primarily Saturday (and some Sundays). My climbing is primarily anaerobic; it doesn't get my heart rate or breathing up too much at all. I also juggle Thurs and Sun., which is actually a low-level exercise.
Last edited by EvanED on Fri Feb 24, 2012 11:07 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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philsov
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Re: Running/intervals

Postby philsov » Fri Feb 24, 2012 10:41 pm UTC

Eeewww... indoor track.

This article has suggestions for pacing and duration, but also suggests only doing this once a week (otherwise doing... steady state, I guess?)

What you seem to be doing is not only interval training but specifically high intensity interval training, which to my understanding is more touted well as a fat burner as opposed to a cardiovascular capacity booster.

1. Is interval training a good way to work towards my goal, or should I be doing something else?
2. Am I making the difference between work & recovery too extreme (and should back off on the work periods so I can go faster during recovery)? (This site seems to suggest so.)
3. As I improve, what balance should I strike between adding more intervals and decreasing the rest periods?


1) It's great, but I'd recommend against doing it on a daily basis. I'd alternate heavy/light days at least and stick to lower paced steady state for the "light" days.
2) I think so, yes. A recovery pace of a 20 minute mile is pretty damn slow (read: walking pace)
3) You'll rarely want to decrease period length. You may want to aim towards increasing your resting pace, though. I'd focus on that first and once you've hit some benchmark on resting pace then see if you can drag yourself through another interval imo.

source: high school cross country/track experience
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EvanED
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Re: Running/intervals

Postby EvanED » Fri Feb 24, 2012 11:00 pm UTC

philsov wrote:Eeewww... indoor track.

I might move outdoors at some point, but it's winter. :-) (I also don't like doing aerobic stuff even in moderately cool air... I'd like at least mid-50s.) I also don't like the sound of interval training on a treadmill.

This article has suggestions for pacing and duration, but also suggests only doing this once a week (otherwise doing... steady state, I guess?)

Sorry, I forgot to mention that I'm doing this twice a week. (Mon & Wed, so not optimally-spaced, but whatever.) That's pretty vital information; I'll edit the original post with my typical schedule.

It also sounds like part of the reason that site recommends it once a week is so you aren't fatigued for real races, but of course that's something that doesn't really apply to me.

2) I think so, yes. A recovery pace of a 20 minute mile is pretty damn slow (read: walking pace)

I'm not quite sure how accurate that measure is; I am usually walking, but it is pretty brisk. (I generally walk fast, and I try to keep the pace even above that.)

3) You'll rarely want to decrease period length. You may want to aim towards increasing your resting pace, though. I'd focus on that first and once you've hit some benchmark on resting pace then see if you can drag yourself through another interval imo.

Oh, right, that was another option that had occurred to me in the past as for what I could do, so thanks for the reminder. (And the reply in general.)

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Mighty Jalapeno
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Re: Running/intervals

Postby Mighty Jalapeno » Fri Feb 24, 2012 11:59 pm UTC

I have done HIIT on a treadmill, and it's murder on the legs. Doing it outside, even just running endlessly around my house, is a hell of a lot easier.

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Evengeduld
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Re: Running/intervals

Postby Evengeduld » Mon Feb 27, 2012 10:51 am UTC

EvanED wrote:I might move outdoors at some point, but it's winter. :-)

Weak excuse to not go and run outside; Unless offcourse there is a few feet of snow blocking your path or ice on which you can slip and fall; but if you go running outside you will always have some distraction. (keeping your mind away from the fact you are suffering). :)

It also sounds like part of the reason that site recommends it once a week is so you aren't fatigued for real races, but of course that's something that doesn't really apply to me.

True if you don't do any races you can go for 2 times a week. BUT you should keep in mind that sometimes skipping a training when you feel tired won't hurt your progress. Because REST is the most important part of training.
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