Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Intervals for Endurance


Winter has firmly taken a hold of Boston with temperatures sub freezing point. But as you know from my running streak earlier this year I can’t be deterred by a bit of cold or snow. In fact, I’ve been ramping up my run training since October, now running every other day with the pattern speed run, long run, recovery run. wp_ss_20141208_0001

To mix it up a bit for my speed run workout I built my own interval training to improve my VO₂max, or maximal aerobic capacity. Most of you will be familiar with the term and the reason behind wanting to increase the amount of oxygen (used to produce energy aerobically) transported to the muscles. If I have lost you, check out this short explanation. As I want to get more into longer distance/endurance running, I use my speed sessions mostly to try to improve my anaerobic threshold. My VO₂max interval training can be used for training the anaerobic threshold as well. Just make sure you set up your resting and maximum heart rate in Track Runner and use a heart rate monitor to control the heart rate zone you are training in (aim for hard heart rate zone).

You can have your VO₂max tested in a physiology lab for best results but as a handy shortcut, use a pace a bit faster than your 3k – 5k pace for short bursts followed by recovery intervals. Having recently run our Remote Turkey Trot 5k flat out, I know that my current max 5k pace is around the 5:50 min/km mark. So, I settled on 4 intervals of 1200 meters length at a 5:45 min/km pace for the hard intervals and a leisurely 7:45 min/km pace for the recovery intervals (3 minutes in length with a 2 minute warm-up).

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So, how did I do? First of all, it was agonizing like all good interval trainings ought to be. But I was pretty happy with the result of my hard work:

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As you can see I managed to finish the first two hard intervals at a higher pace than anticipated but slacked a bit in the last two. On my next attempt, I will be aiming for more consistency (listening more to that lady in my ear telling me to slow down) and keeping to hard heart rate zone. My current cut-off of hard heart rate zone is 175 bpm so on average, I have not exceeded the zone I wanted to train in. Still, the CardioMap shows quite a bit of speed heart rate zone (on the map in red) which I would like to bring down to hard heart rate zone. I’m also considering to increase the recovery periods to 4 minutes to give the heart rate more chance to drop.

I hope my training has inspired you to try and set up your own custom interval training. If you have a great training to share please do so in the comments or email us at workouts@theappcauldron.com with screenshots and we’ll feature it here.


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