High intensity interval training

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High intensity interval training

Postby veganjoggler » Sat Nov 23, 2013 8:59 pm

I have some questions about interval training for improving running speed.

1) Generally speaking, how long should each full session of interval training be? 10 minutes? 40 minutes?

2) Can I do interval training the same day as a regular, steady paced run? And if so, before or after the steady run?

3) How many times a week should I do interval training?

4) For someone who already does 40 to 60 miles per week of running, which means about 5 to 6 days of running and one day of rest, and completed marathons, how long should the speed interval be? 1 minute? 3 minutes? And the resting/walk interval?

5) Is it a good idea to do interval training the same day as I do strength training?

6) Are there any Android smart-phone apps I can use to help time my intervals? Since I am a joggler, I need it to make sounds or beeps, since I can't always be looking at it. I already use Runkeeper, but I don't think it has this feature(I use the free service). It should be able to run while Runkeeper is running, without interference.

7) Is it a good idea to get anaerobic threshold testing from a lab or club to help me structure interval training sessions?

Thanks for your help!
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Re: High intensity interval training

Postby DC Runner » Tue Nov 26, 2013 8:30 pm

veganjoggler, see my responses in italics below:

1) Generally speaking, how long should each full session of interval training be? 10 minutes? 40 minutes?
I think this depends on where you are in the cycle and also which race distance you're aiming for. My guess is that you want to know what your marathon training intervals should be. For marathon training, I like to do between 2 miles and 10 miles, not including jog rests. So early in the cycle (12-16 weeks) I might do 8 x 400 meters with 1 minute jog recovery and late in the cycle, I might do 4 x 2.5 miles with 0.5 mile jog recovery.

2) Can I do interval training the same day as a regular, steady paced run? And if so, before or after the steady run?
Yes, but I don't think it's necessary. I think you should go into a workout feeling fresh. Remember, workouts are also good for developing mental toughness. If you had a really difficult workout but you managed to hit all of your target times, you'll be able to reflect back on that when times are tough during the marathon. And it's much easier to hit the target times if you go into your workout feeling relatively fresh.

3) How many times a week should I do interval training?
One or two, but I don't think you need to do more than one.

4) For someone who already does 40 to 60 miles per week of running, which means about 5 to 6 days of running and one day of rest, and completed marathons, how long should the speed interval be? 1 minute? 3 minutes? And the resting/walk interval?
See 1 above

5) Is it a good idea to do interval training the same day as I do strength training?
See 2 above. Although, you could do strength training after the intervals.

6) Are there any Android smart-phone apps I can use to help time my intervals? Since I am a joggler, I need it to make sounds or beeps, since I can't always be looking at it. I already use Runkeeper, but I don't think it has this feature(I use the free service). It should be able to run while Runkeeper is running, without interference.
No clue on this one

7) Is it a good idea to get anaerobic threshold testing from a lab or club to help me structure interval training sessions?
I wouldn't bother going to a lab. A club would be very beneficial for this. You could also go to this link (http://www.mcmillanrunning.com/index.php/calcUsage/calculate) to figure out what your times for each interval should be. You put in a recent time and a goal time, so you'll know where to start, and what to aim for.

Good luck!
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Re: High intensity interval training

Postby hakko » Tue Nov 26, 2013 8:53 pm

I've read some scientific studies on this.. but I've forgotten most of it. So I'll just tell you what I've done at my club sessions.

My shortest (and rarest) intervals are "Norwegian intervals". 4x4 min at absolute max intensity, with three minutes of rest in between, very slow jog. This is what Norwegian skiers have developed and it only works if your body is already used to intervals and you can force yourself to go really, really hard for four minutes.

My longest intervals are almost 40 minutes, "Olga Bondarenko intervals". I think we usually do around 30 minutes though. If you do longer sessions than that, you cannot really go hard enough.

As a rule of thumb, I never do two interval sessions closer than 48 hours, so normally two or three per week. But as DC Runner mentions, you want to feel fresh for your interval training, or it's not of much use. You could do five or ten super slow kilometers on the same day if you want to increase mileage, but again.. only if you're still fresh afterwards. And your whole training cannot be intervals, it's too hard on your body and you're likely to get injured. So two sessions per week makes sense. I guess a hard gym session for your legs could count as one day of interval training.

I haven't done a lab test and I'd say that I benefit most from just doing intervals together with other dedicated runners. It adds a bit of randomness and surprise as we do everything from 100m intervals to 1 or even 2 mile intervals (one of our workouts is 1+1+2+1 miles). It makes it easier to keep pushing my limits, and it's a lot of fun.

Running with other people helps me run my intervals faster, and my long runs slower, which is exactly what I need. So I'd recommend that over a lab test, just based on my own experiences.

Android app: no idea!
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Re: High intensity interval training

Postby veganjoggler » Tue Nov 26, 2013 11:39 pm

DC Runner, Hakko, thanks for your help!

I did some timed intervals this morning, 30 seconds at maximum pace, alternating with 60 minute rests/slow runs for 15 minutes and a slow 9 mile(14.5 km) run afterwards using a timer app. The intervals covered about 2.5 miles. By the afternoon, I felt so tired I had to take a nap, which is rare for me. It really took a lot out of me, more than even my long runs. Thanks for your help, I think I will do this once a week, and shorten the rest period eventually. Happy running and happy holidays!
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Re: High intensity interval training

Postby hakko » Wed Nov 27, 2013 9:44 am

Sounds like you're doing it right! One more thing: the recommendation I've read is to eat at least 10g of protein within 30 minutes after a hard workout, to help muscle recovery. And sleep a lot, for the same reason.
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Re: High intensity interval training

Postby veganjoggler » Thu Nov 28, 2013 1:59 pm

[quote="hakko"]Sounds like you're doing it right! One more thing: the recommendation I've read is to eat at least 10g of protein within 30 minutes after a hard workout, to help muscle recovery. And sleep a lot, for the same reason.


Good advice, though this is something I have been doing for years occasionally I may forget. Just another question: Do you do strength train(for legs) before or after a run? I hear that to really get the benefits, I should strength train first. I usually do strength training first, though some runners tell me they do it after.
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Re: High intensity interval training

Postby hakko » Thu Nov 28, 2013 9:37 pm

I prefer trail running over strength training, but I'm not really a good example. I just do what I enjoy the most.
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Re: High intensity interval training

Postby ninearms » Thu Nov 28, 2013 9:58 pm

Strength train on a different day, otherwise you'll just end up half-arsing both.
“Begin at the beginning,” the King said gravely, “and go on till you come to the end. Then stop.”
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Re: High intensity interval training

Postby veganjoggler » Sat Nov 30, 2013 2:17 pm

There's so much debate and controversy when it comes to strength-training for runners! Here is a recent study that attempts to show how strength training can affect runners - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23287831
I'm a little confused by some of the findings, but it seems to help. I mean, there are few details about the kind of strength training they did. And while it is already known that strength training of the legs helps runners, what about upper body strength training? Whatever the case may be, I think I will do push-ups a lot more often to see what happens.
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