Tempo Runs vs Cruise Intervals
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Captainblood
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Tempo Runs vs Cruise Intervals

by Captainblood » Sun Nov 30, 2014 10:03 am

I was re-reading Daniels the past week as he helped popularize tempo runs and cruise intervals. Even though he emphasizes the importance of threshold running he seems agnostic on which type of training provides greater benefits.

I was always a tempo guy because you don't get breaks in races. But the amount of volume I can do using cruise intervals is staggering. And it seems like Daniels emphasizes not to speed up the sessions, but instead to shorten the rests or increase the volume.

For the 5k Hudson de-emphasizes the tempo run and says that instead of 20 minutes it is fine to do 2 x 10 minutes with a 2 minute jog recovery. I have worked up in the past year to 4 x 10 minutes at tempo pace (6:00/mi on treadmill) with a 2 minute jog recovery.

If I was training for longer races I would continue to work towards increasing the volume of threshold running.

Is this type of volume beneficial for 5k racing? Or am I better off cutting the volume and speeding up the intervals? Or just turning this into a 4 mile tempo run?

dilluh
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Re: Tempo Runs vs Cruise Intervals

by dilluh » Sun Nov 30, 2014 3:12 pm

I've become a believer that good 5k racing normally requires 5k effort intervals of ~1k length or 5k racing (race yourself into shape). I don't love those sessions and need some good recovery after them, but no amount of high volume LT or tempo (EZ, Tinman or otherwise) running either in intervals or as straight tempos has ever sharpened me enough to run an optimal 5k. I think Tinman has mentioned that 4-6 sessions of something like 5x1000 @ 5k is all you need to get into top form. I've tried to race myself into shape but I find if I only race once per month, that's not enough to stay sharp and I need another session or two in between. Of course there are some exceptions where people can run optimal 5ks off of just straight tempos and strides but I think those people are physiologically rare.

Tinman
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Re: Tempo Runs vs Cruise Intervals

by Tinman » Sun Nov 30, 2014 4:26 pm

As a general rule, any form of stamina training, as I call it, will benefit runners from the 800m to the ultramarathon. A continuous tempo run at 80% of VO2 max, shown in my online calculator, may be equal to a smaller volume threshold workout and equal to an even smaller volume CV workout, in terms of the amount of fitness gained. Hence, all of those workouts are valuable. Therefore, if all workouts in that range have similar benefits - once training volume is adjusted - your personal preference may be the key factor as to which one you choose. Another consideration may be your natural stride. If you are more of a lope - a bounder - you may prefer the faster side of the range, rather than the slower, tempo side of the range. I know a lot of middle distance runners enjoy CV workouts, for example, and struggle to find a relaxed stride at slower tempo runs. The opposite may be true for long distance runners who enjoy the feel of a tempo run and not as much enjoy the feel of a CV workout. Yet, with practice, anything in that range can become second nature, which opens up more options as to what you select for any given workout.

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Captainblood
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Re: Tempo Runs vs Cruise Intervals

by Captainblood » Mon Dec 01, 2014 8:50 am

Tinman, that is interesting. Daniels famously said running faster or slower than tempo pace is not as effective as tempo pace. What you are saying seems to be that if your threshold pace is 6:00 per mile that a workout consisting of 3 miles at 6:00/mi could be as effective as improving stamina as 6 miles at 6:15/mi (the exact distances and paces might be different, but the concept is valid).

I know you compare workouts in terms of which one is harder and by how much. Is there a way we can roughly compare these type of workouts so that we know the stimulus we are receiving?

My guess would be it would be the same as race times. A 3 mile tempo would be equivalent to a 6 mile tempo that is 15 seconds per mile slower. It gets tricky with cruise intervals because of the recoveries.

In terms of stamina, would a 3 x 1 mile @ 5:45/mi with a 1:00 recover be equivalent to 3 x 2 mile @ 6:00/mi with a 2:00 recovery for a runner with a 6:00/mi threshold pace?

dilluh
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Re: Tempo Runs vs Cruise Intervals

by dilluh » Mon Dec 01, 2014 10:30 am

Captainblood wrote:Tinman, that is interesting. Daniels famously said running faster or slower than tempo pace is not as effective as tempo pace. What you are saying seems to be that if your threshold pace is 6:00 per mile that a workout consisting of 3 miles at 6:00/mi could be as effective as improving stamina as 6 miles at 6:15/mi (the exact distances and paces might be different, but the concept is valid).

I know you compare workouts in terms of which one is harder and by how much. Is there a way we can roughly compare these type of workouts so that we know the stimulus we are receiving?

My guess would be it would be the same as race times. A 3 mile tempo would be equivalent to a 6 mile tempo that is 15 seconds per mile slower. It gets tricky with cruise intervals because of the recoveries.

In terms of stamina, would a 3 x 1 mile @ 5:45/mi with a 1:00 recover be equivalent to 3 x 2 mile @ 6:00/mi with a 2:00 recovery for a runner with a 6:00/mi threshold pace?


This is an interesting question as you get to faster than CV type workouts. I'm guessing the line is a bit blurry, but where does a workout stop looking so much like a stamina workout and start to look like something else (more like a VO2max, maybe)? I'm assuming the rules change a bit when you switch energy systems even though there appears to be a continuum, i.e., the systems seem to overlap a lot in particular workouts.

Schebo
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Re: Tempo Runs vs Cruise Intervals

by Schebo » Mon Dec 01, 2014 12:40 pm

I think you should look more on what you´re going to do in a race and where you are in your training cycle. A fairly standard stamina workout for an 800 runner early in the track season would be 3000+2000+1000 at a fast pace with fairly long recoveries. For a 10000 runner that would be a peaking workout.

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Re: Tempo Runs vs Cruise Intervals

by joshmreesjones » Thu Dec 28, 2017 11:08 pm

I am curious to know why a long tempo has the same benefit as a relatively shorter threshold run and a relatively even shorter CV intervals workout. Maybe it has to do with muscle fiber recruitment. How about this: "Type IIa muscle fibers are recruited rather quickly at CV pace, somewhat quickly at tempo pace, and only after a while in tempo running, so shorter/medium/longer workouts, respectively, are required at each pace to have the same training effect." Does this sound right?

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Re: Tempo Runs vs Cruise Intervals

by JimM » Mon Mar 26, 2018 10:35 am

Your tempo workout depends on the race you’re training for does it not? I remember back in the day I’d do these longer 8mile efforts at a hard pace that got harder, so marathon pace down to HM pace and even 10km pace for the last 1000m-mile. They were refreshingly hard and I responded well to them. I also find I respond well to mile repeats @ 10mile race pace - HM pace with 2min rests. But shorter faster tempos, like 4miles @ 15km-10km pace wear me out, and CV intervals maybe are a tad easy for me (could do them in my sleep it seems). I know we have to move outside our comfort zone on these types of workouts but I’ve alwats treated them as medium-hard workouts, the type of thing you can do a couple or few times a week quite easily.
But in the end they all accomplish the same thing although I recall Tinman saying that you get a little more VO2Max stimulus with CV repeats.
Hi Tom, am back running after a three year hiatus. Give you a call soon.

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Re: Tempo Runs vs Cruise Intervals

by dkggpeters » Wed Apr 25, 2018 4:24 pm

JimM wrote:Your tempo workout depends on the race you’re training for does it not? I remember back in the day I’d do these longer 8mile efforts at a hard pace that got harder, so marathon pace down to HM pace and even 10km pace for the last 1000m-mile. They were refreshingly hard and I responded well to them. I also find I respond well to mile repeats @ 10mile race pace - HM pace with 2min rests. But shorter faster tempos, like 4miles @ 15km-10km pace wear me out, and CV intervals maybe are a tad easy for me (could do them in my sleep it seems). I know we have to move outside our comfort zone on these types of workouts but I’ve alwats treated them as medium-hard workouts, the type of thing you can do a couple or few times a week quite easily.
But in the end they all accomplish the same thing although I recall Tinman saying that you get a little more VO2Max stimulus with CV repeats.
Hi Tom, am back running after a three year hiatus. Give you a call soon.


Jim hit the nail on the head. You also need to find out what works for you and what works against you. For me, 5K pace repeats kill me and I am wiped out for days even off of lower volume. I can do 10 x 1 minute on/off ok but something like 4 or 5 minutes per rep, no way. I can do a 20+ with 12 or more MP miles and feel great the next day and I have to make sure I hold myself back.

I love CV based reps but you do need to make sure you run them at the right intensity. You should always feel like you could do more and not just trying to survive the last couple of reps.

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Re: Tempo Runs vs Cruise Intervals

by JimM » Wed May 09, 2018 12:47 pm

I hear ya! I like mile reps at 10km pace but think that mile reps at 5km pace would kill me. I almost never train at 5km pace in fact. I do like 400s at 3km pace, and 1500m pace I can run all day. And even though I’m more of a speed demon, I do like long progression runs and find them beneficial although I usually need two days to recover.

Funny, when Tom was coaching me a few years ago he had to often hold me back especially on my easy days. I’m coaching someone now myself, and have to constantly tell her to stop cranking out too many miles on her easy and recovery days. And she has to slow her LT and tempo paces down a bit, she turns them into races. I am finding coaching a bit is making me a better runner cause I’m rethinking my own training and trying to be smart about it instead of just going balls to the wall all the time!
But once I get modestly fit I’m calling Tinman if he’s not too busy coaching Olympians! :D

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