It is all relative depending on what distance you're racing. If you're focusing on your first marathon or ultra, I'd leave the speedwork focus in favour of increasing your aerobic endurance, maybe incorporating some marathon pace tempo within long runs.
For half marathon/10milers however - tempo runs are great. 25-40mins at race pace - hard, but you need to be able to sustain it for the length of time without breaks. Faster than steady running but not so fast you get lactate buildup and hav e to stop after 10mins. You can also incorporate blocks of tempo into longer steady runs.
10k, 5k, cross country - intervals will make all the difference. Repetitions ranging between 2-5mins generally with short recoveries of 30secs-1min. The recovery should never be quite enough and these are to be run at a hard pace. For 5k and cross country in particular the total reps time will be longer than your race, but you won't have the recoveries in between.
Hi, read Steve Smythe's feedback to a reader in this month's RW to achieve a sub-3hr marathon and one of the days was Interval training of 6 miles maxing out at 5:30miles for the last mile. I tried this on a treadmill at the gym (don't have a gps watch to monitor my pace in the real world) but it wasn't clear to me whether I should have been taking breaks between mile intervals or whether the 7:40miles were the rests.....I didn't stop at all for the 6 miles so went with the latter but I certainly felt the burning closing in on my final mile and I struggled with stiffness for 2 days after taking out my planned long run Sunday. Maybe its just my first interval session that hurts the most after? Anyone able to read into what was expected by Steve's suggestions? thanks Jon
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