Full recovery between intervals to build speed and strength

Is  a good way to improve your running speed  to run  with a full recovery in between intervals ? Iv been reading up on this and this is the suggested training idea:

4 x 400 meters with full recovery in between each 400 meters. 4 x 300 meters with full recovery in between each 300 meters. 4 x 200 meters with full recovery in between each 200 meters. 4 x 100 meters with full recovery in between each 100 meters.

With stretching inbetween to keep loose and so on. So if you do your warm up run, stretching, then go onto the above are you building up strength rather than muscle endurance. Also if you worked by time rather than distance, say after your warm up and stretching doing 4 x 5 mins at a faster speed and totally stopping inbetween (but keeping loose). Would that have the same effect? Any help in this area would be appreciated. Thanks. Sonia

Sonia001 Sonia001

Sign in or Join to reply

  1. Martin_M62

    Martin_M62 As has been mentioned, intervals are a great way of avoiding 'one-paced' training.  To get the read moremost from speed sessions you should vary the type of intervals you run and not just do the same session each week.

    Obviously shorter intervals are better for 5/10k runners, while longer intervals are more relevant to half- and marathon runners.  Even so, I still do sessions that vary from 400m up to 1 mile, so that I'm training over a whole range of different speeds.  I've been taking a 3-minute rest between intervals, but I'm pretty sure 2 mins would have been enough for a decent recovery when I did 1/4-mile intervals last week.  Will still use 3 mins for 800 m and up.

    Normal advice is for no more than one speed session per week, so don't forget tempo runs, which will exercise you in a slightly different way again, if you want another quality session in the weekly training programme.

    Oh, one other thing that might be worth mentioning - I read it a few years ago in an article on intervals for sprint speed.  In a training session you should stop if your speed starts to drop after a few intervals; if you carry on with the planned number of reps when you're slowing down you're just training to run slow.

    0 3 Jun 12
  2. Sonia001

    Sonia001 Iv just found it really amazing that just putting in two speed training sessions a week has made read moresuch a big difference to my pace, speed on my 5k's.

    Im just finding its easy to run at a faster pace for my first ten mins and hopefully this will make a difference in my next event.

    Also reading up on here about stride and so on has been of good use. Im 5,4 and I think Iv possibly shortened my stride whilst doing the speed training and its just brilliant. Cheers Runny bug people!

    0 2 Jun 12
  3. KandiKane

    KandiKane I too am a post marathoner hoping to improve on speed! Have come across this


    by a guy who in 2011 ran a marathon EVERY week to raise money for a mental health charity in memory of his father who commit suicide. He is a fast runner so am hoping for good things!

    As well as speed am hoping to establish a better/more regular running routine, getting there slowly! I agree it seems impossible the idea of running at speed for long distance, but its something I also crave! I feel great when doing some fast sprints etc just sustainng it is the problem, and avoiding injury! Heres to intervals and fartlek! : D

    0 24 May 12
  4. GO

    GorillaMan Yes - good point about using a Garmin for intervals CB - I have actually got a Garmin 305 read moreForerunner. Gyms and treadmills are not for everyone. Thanks for the link.

    0 23 May 12
  5. Chubby Bloke

    Chubby Bloke My Garmin Forerunner was £100, much cheaper than a treadmill or gym membership!

    I agree that increasing pace over shorter distances is the way to go to increase pace over longer races. I'm currently working on 5k pace, with a long term goal of faster 10k and HM.

    The first three posts of this thread are useful (Moraghan is a qualified coach and UK 1500m runner in his age category)


    0 23 May 12
  6. GO

    GorillaMan I know what you mean SJD - after struggling to complete a 1.5 hour run last weekend, I can't believe read moreI ran a marathon 3 weeks ago (but luckily there is now a 'marathon shrine' in my living room so I know I did :-)!).

    Here's a positive thought to take away from this discussion. If you push yourself to go a bit faster for short parts of your normal runs and/or by doing interval or hill training sessions, your body WILL adapt and the speed at which you can run comfortably will increase over time. I know this for a fact because I have personally done it in the past (and so have many others). You will then be able to train for and run your next marathon a bit faster (as well as improve your 10k time).

    The really good news is that you don't have to improve your marathon pace by  much to make a big difference to your marathon time. E.g. if you currently run a marathon in 5 and a half hours and can raise your marathon pace by 10% will knock over half an hour off your time. That is a doable goal and you may even be able to do better.   Obviously it get a bit harder to improve once your breaking 3 hours (but I don't think we need to worry about for a few years yet)

    I'll be honest with you - I find speed training much easier to do on a treadmill because it enables you to precisely control how fast you run and for how long. But the way you are doing it should still work OK, it's just a bit more effort to make sure you are sustaining a pace  increase over a measured distance.

    0 23 May 12
  7. SJD

    SJD Ha ha yeah you are right GorrillaMan.  I think I slowed it down to concentrate on distance and read moreendurance and got a bit of a shock when I realised I couldn't run fast anymore.  Now I am already starting to wonder how I ever ran so far.  Is it possible to train to be both a fast runner and a long distance runner at the same time?  I find it hard to judge my pace when I only have one!

    0 22 May 12
  8. GO

    GorillaMan It's interesting how all the people who have just completed marathons are now into speed training. read moreJust last week I started on a new training plan which consists of:

    1 interval session (4-6 x half miles with 2 min walk recoveries)

    1 tempo run

    1 longish run (7-10 miles) or 6 miles X-country on alternate weeks

    I also do one or 2 very slow 2-3  mile recovery runs or some x-training in between and walk 3 miles on days when not doing any training.

    My goal is to lose weight, increase my comfortable long distance pace and ultimately take a chunk out of my marathon time in a year's time. Must admit  admit it's a relief to leave marathion training behind for a while - my legs are feeling much better!!  

    0 22 May 12
  9. SJD

    SJD Cheers guys.  I think I set myself a goal that is achievable, but maybe not in the time I have read moreleft for this 10k race in 2 weeks.  We are doing this race whilst away on holiday so maybe I should just lighten up and treat it as a fun run.

    I'm gonna keep up with the intervals though as there will always be other races and I am actually starting to enjoy them.

    0 22 May 12
  10. Chubby Bloke

    Chubby Bloke Hi SJD -Gorillaman offers some good advice.

    Short, fast intervals with long stationary / walked recovery fall into the domain of sprint / shorter middle distance running.

    For 10k I would suggest a mixture of 1k reps with up to 2 min jog recovery, at a pace slightly faster than race pace, and a longer tempo run of around 2-3 miles at target race pace. (Both should include at least a 1.5 mile warm up and 0.5 mile cool down)

    0 22 May 12
  11. GO

    GorillaMan Hi SJD - I think the intervals will eventually pay off, but rather than keep trying to improve your read moreinterval times, it might be a better strategy to try and hold the same interval pace but increase the number of reps, so that you build your speed endurance.

    About 10 years ago, in a previous running lifetime, I started doing 4 min intervals at 12 kmh on a treadmill with 2 min walking recovery. At the time my comfortable pace was about 10kmh. At first I could only do 4 reps and by the end of each rep I was desperate for the rep to end, but after about 6-8 weeks I could do 6 comfortably and it had become almost easy. I then found that I could run a whole 5k at 12kmh, i.e. running continuously (though it nearkly killed me doing it).

    You should also take into account that an interval session is considered a very 'hard' session, similar to a long run, so don't do one too close to running a race as it would probably impair your performance.

    0 22 May 12
  12. Sonia001

    Sonia001 I dont think Im qualified to answer that.Well done by the way SJD, thats an amazing time:).

    I can only say that I did my Sunday 5k run in a much faster pace and even found my hills easier.I was slightly in shock last Sunday to be honest. So for me Im going to carry on with it. I forgot my watch so although I know I was quicker Im not sure by how much.

    Its a very interesting subject.


    0 21 May 12
  13. SJD

    SJD I did a 10k race pace run on Sunday and was hoping to see some improvement in my pace, or at least read morefeel that I was running a bit faster without it feeling so hard.  I've only done 3 intervals sessions, (an hour per week in addition to my other training).  While my 1k interval times are improving, it didn't seem to make much difference to my 10k fast pace run.

    Last year before my marathon training I could do it comfortably under the hour (PB 58mins), now I am struggling and frustrated that I keep coming in at 1 hour and 1 min.  I know is only 3 minutes but I’m busting a gut to do that.

    Long intervals (1k) with a slow jog recovery (which I am doing) or short flat out intervals with a stop for complete recovery (which I haven’t tried yet) ..... which would you recommend for upping my 10k race time?  I only have 2 weeks left till race day.

    0 21 May 12
  14. Doubledot

    Doubledot I like what the Chubby Bloke said on this, it makes sense to me. If you were doing short intervals, read moresay 200metres at 100% or so then you would probably have to stop for recovery anyway. I went for 5 miles today and incorporated some longer intervals, around 1k, at 85%.  I then jogged around 400 metres, lightly for recovery. It was tough but if I stopped completely I wouldn't want to go again for the next interval.

    0 19 May 12
  15. Doubledot

    Doubledot Good question. I could be completely wrong but I've always assumed that any kind of interval read moretraining required that you don't completely stop in the "easy" phase. The object is to add pace to the runner by taking you out of a comfort zone. The recovery is usually an easing down rather than a halt. I've always thought that if you need to completely stop after an interval then that was a signal that you were running too quickly in that phase and to ease down by 10% or so. Interesting question, looking forward to readng the replies.

    0 18 May 12
  16. Sonia001

    Sonia001 Its a v interesting way to do things and im finding its quickening up my pace without thinking about read moreit.. I read up about this on some sports sites  bacause a friend suggested it.

    Its so true that most people aim for a lot of miles as Martin says. Im happy with sticking to my 5k's at present and improving time, tech and so on. So far Iv been doing 100,200m lengths and the resting, keeping warm, loose inbetween.

    Good luck for the 10k. race SJD. Be good to see if what youve been doing has an effect on the overall speed of your race.

    Chubby B - there was a docu on tv regarding all of this. Basically it was all about losing weight. .They sound that short intervals of high speed output worked better than say just jogging a long distance.By the way theres a brill book about Oliver Postgate:Seeing things, if thats your bag.Luv Baggersand make puppets and so on but  Snoopy's my thing.(sorry to sidetrack)

    The other thing Iv been working on is a cardiovascular workout for 45 mins three times a week. Iv noticed my form feels better and I feel like I have better control over my whole body whilst.

    Also personally I think too much of any exercise is bad for you if your not a pro with a coach. Once Iv rested for two days I always feel stronger when I get back out there.


    0 19 May 12
  17. Chubby Bloke

    Chubby Bloke Hi Sonia.

    Here's how I understand it (and plan my training!)

    Short intervals (up to 400m) are for power, speed and form, and require long recovery (relative to the rep time) so something like 15 x 200m at just under 3k pace, with 200m jog recovery.

    Slightly longer intervals are for speed and boosting the level at which you "top out" aerobically (known as your v02 max). Recovery should be timewise between 50 and 100% of interval time. So my 2 sessions at the moment are:

    5 x 2:30 at 8 min pace* ; 2:30 rest

    4 x 5:00 at 15 min pace* ; 3:00 rest

    I'm finding them tough. Rest is enough to give a good breather, but also short enough to make sure the reps get harder.

    (* - 8 min pace is the pace at which you could run for 8 minutes before collapsing. Imagine a race that was 8 minutes long and the aim was to get as far as possible - what pace could you do. Likewise for 15 min pace)

    Long intervals are for boosting your lactic threshold (essentially increase the body's performance aerobically, so you can cope with higher speeds before lactic acid build up) These would require relatively short recovery time. Examples include:

    5 x 1 mile at 10k pace ; 90 sec recovery

    3 x 2 mile at 10 mile pace ; 1 min recovery

    These are useful alternatives to longer (no rest) tempo runs, which aim to hit the same energy systems.

    0 19 May 12
  18. SJD

    SJD This is really interesting.  I've just started doing some interval training in an attempt to up read moremy pace.  I slowed things down to do long runs for my marathon in April but my next race is a 10k in June and I was shocked at how much slower I am than last year.

    As I am pressed for time and childcare I have been adding an hour of intervals to my training once per week when I drop the kids off at their club.

    I have mapped out a 1k route near their club which I run at top speed. It is a loop and a half, so I can slow jog/walk back to the start.  I was wondering if allowing myself to completely recover would be better than slow jogging till my heart rate goes down?

    The first week I did walk as I was so knackered after each 1k, but this week I felt I could jog back.  My 1k interval times are definatley improving......will have to let you know if it helps with my 10k race pace run on Sunday.

    0 19 May 12
  19. Martin_M62

    Martin_M62 Funnily enough, I was talking about this with my Pilates instructor yesterday - he's also a running read morecoach.  When talking of intervals he said to give it a 3-minute recovery so you're properly rested for each rep - only he said it in more scientific terms which made sense at the time, but which I can't remember now!

    We were talking of marathon training in particular - I ran one a couple weeks ago - and he was saying intervals (and tempo and long runs) are the best way to train, as you need to train to run fast, not simply do a lot of miles.  He mentioned that too many people go for the 'easy' option of simply doing a lot of miles.

    0 18 May 12