Posted: 01/04/2014 at 10:29
Well I'm doing intervals once a week for my HM training (Windsor in May). I have mixed feelings about intervals: they are MEAN and they are NO fun but I can see my speed picking up overall.
I'm only doing them now because I'm already trained for the distance, having done a HM last week. I did not train for distance and speed all at once. (Hurty). With my second HM I am aiming to get under 2hrs (from a pesky 2hrs 2mins). Been running seriously about 5 years, aged 40, want to be running when I'm 70, NEVER doing a marathon...)
Every third week I do hill repeats instead of intervals (yey). I also do a tempo run (4-6 miles), a long run (8-12 miles) and a little recovery run (gossiping with a friend) each week, so I've taken all the advice and I think it's pretty balanced. Apart from the cross-training. Can't be arsed with cross-training (lazy bad girl).
I would advise that you listen to your body. I think experience tells you the difference between "tired because I'm getting fitter" and "tired because I'm wearing my body down too much".
I do find the intervals tire me out for my longer runs but I need to slow them down anyway. So I'll keep going for now. If anything's going to give me injuries though it's the intervals. I tried them in last year's training, found that they wiped me out too much, so I dropped them. Feel better this year, but again, intervals are taking me to the edge of my energy. And I will drop em like hot cakes if I feel it's going too far.
I think there's a halfway house though, (which I might go for if intervals and me don't get on again) - perhaps you could just carry on with your normal runs and add a small speed element to one or two of them. A minute's sprint at the end of a long run. A couple of 5-min blocks of extra effort here and there (fartlekky fun). Hills are also a form of speed work don't forget - your legs won't know the difference.
No matter how fit you are before you start running, it's fitness-for-running you need to build. I have been AMAZED at how my body keeps adapting. Every year I feel better and better and stronger and stronger - and I'm the other side of 40! Running has taught me so many life lessons and taking the 'long view' in life is one of the most important.
Sorry gone all preachy. I'm off for a donut.