Run Training…Intervals

In the previous Run Training posts, I described the tools which runners typically use to improve their running performance. Whether elite or recreational, all runners bodies respond to the training effects of Base Training, Hill Training, Strides, and Intervals. In regards to interval training, many folks just beginning their exercise journey may engage in interval training to increase calorie burn. And almost all sports use some form of interval drills to improve athletes’ aerobic and anaerobic exercise thresholds. So what does interval training involve? Basically, interval training uses measured bouts of hard-easy repetitions to help athletes adapt to higher levels of aerobic and/or anaerobic exercise. For runners, interval training is meting out hard-easy running in bouts measured by time or distance (minutes or meters). Unlike tempo training (comfortably hard effort) interval training involves running at a high level (near red-line) of exertion for a short amount of time, followed by a recovery interval equal to or greater than the work interval. Novice and recreational runners should begin interval training only after they have laid down their base training. While extremely effective to improve a runner’s running form, economy, endurance, and fat-burning, interval training need only be included once a week if the runner also performs other training methods (strides, hills, tempo) in their weekly runs. Read this article from Active.com about interval training. This is an excellent resource which describes the science of intervals together with interval training plans for runners who want to improve their 5K or 10K race times.

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Run Training…Strides

It’s time to mix things up a bit in your running workouts as you near the end of your 500 mile base training. In a previous post, I discussed the value of tempo training for runners of every fitness level. In today’s post, I would like to introduce you to another tool for your running toolbox: strides. By definition, strides are short bursts of swift running usually held for 60 to 100 meters. Strides are valuable for runners who want to improve or promote better running form while also engaging fast twitch muscle fibers. Also known as pick-ups, strides can be interspersed into any of your conversational pace training runs. Perform 3-5 strides after your initial warm-up; divide your each stride into thirds (first 10-20 meters at conversational pace; increase speed and intensity over the next 20-60 meters; slowly decelerate to conversational pace for the last 10-20 meters). If you are not sure what 100 meters looks or feels like, go to the nearest running track a jog the straight sections. These sections are roughly 100 meters long. So one stride (divided into three parts) would last as long as that straight section of track (give or take several meters). Once you have a feeling for how long 100 meters is, you can add strides to your next easy run. Practice these once or twice a week and you will surely build your strength, stamina and speed! Want to read more about strides? Go to this article from Runner’s World.