The most dreaded word in the runners dictionary... Intervals! While the reason most of us got into trail running varies from one dirt junkie to the next I can assure you that SPEED was never one reason to join this crazy club of coo coos! With that said speed/intervals do have a place in every trail runners repertoire. Intervals help us run at a much faster speed than we typically would hold for a certain distance like a 50k but it helps us in several ways.
- Recruiting more moscule fibers
- Trains the Anaerobic Threshold
- Increases Vo2max (oxygen effeciency)
- Increases energy system usage
(Oxidative vs Glycolysis)
- Taps into the Neurological system
firing synapsis at a higher frequency.
Example Interval Workout (Advanced):
8 x 3:00 @ Goal 10k Pace with 2:00 of AR
After performing a 10 minute warm up, find a flat open area that is safe from obstacles and traffic. This can be done on a trail which will help recovery with softer surface running. As the workout states we are going to run a 5 minute interval broken up into 3 minutes at 10k goal pace and 2 minutes of AR or Active Recovery pace. You will repeat this interval 8 times. There should be no stopping in this workout.
Example Interval Workout (Beginner):
8 x 2:00 @ Goal 5k Pace with 1:00 of SR
After performing a 10 minute warm up, find a flat open area that is safe from obstacles and traffic. This can be done on a trail which will help recovery with softer surface running. As the workout states we are going to run 3:00 minute intervals broken up into 2 minutes at 5k pace and 1 minute of SR or Standing Rest. You will repeat this interval 8 times for a total workout time of 24 minutes. Now 5k pace is a great effort that places most of us in the red zone but after doing this a few times you will find that you are able to control the effort while maintaining the same pace.
2. Progression Runs
This type of workout really taxes you at the end of the session when you are running your fastest. In general, I see several runners finishing workouts where they are running slower than they were at the beginning and that just teaches our bodies to slow down when they become fatgiued, but this workout teaches our bodies to recruit different/more muscle fibers, tap into alternative energy systems, and become moreeffecient.