No Interval Success
Featuring TheRunZone?s resident coach Tinman. All participants are welcome to post and reply to topics in this section whether you?re looking for advice, or sharing your own coaching experience.

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ATimmins
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No Interval Success

by ATimmins » Wed Jun 16, 2010 5:14 pm

Tinman, (and others),

This thread was very active back in the day, what are your thoughts, and if you were to come up with a schedule what would it look like?

http://www.letsrun.com/forum/flat_read. ... ead=309865
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Re: No Interval Success

by Tinman » Wed Jun 16, 2010 7:32 pm

AT -

I was an active contributor to that thread, so, yes, I think there's value in it. I've discussed elements of that approach here at The Run Zone, and it's my position that one can become very fit without intervals, but one has to do things like race enough or do time-trials or do tempos at close to race-pace in order to develop full fitness. Ultimately, the problem with doing just distance work is not hitting the motor units (fibers are in bundles, and they have a specific nerve that innervates - causes stimulation via chemo-electrical conductance - and controls contraction) used at the power output required for faster racing. Distance work, alone, develops excellent metabolic capacity, but it falls short on the neuro-mechanical side of the performance teeter-totter. Specific coordination, reduction of unnecessary motor units contracting (that is, reduced inhibition)(antagonistic), and improvment of fiber tensile strength are keys to success. You can't get that by doing slow distance work.

So, on balance, easy distance work in high volume works the metabolic side of the teeter-totter. Faster running works the neuro-mechancial side of the teeter-totter. To optimize balance, you need both. How much you need of each side is a personal matter. Integrating the two requires big-picture awareness of what matters and works. Knowing the time-course progression of adaptations for both sides - and what comes between the two, like CV/LT - is fundamental to designing an effective training plan/program.
Last edited by Tinman on Wed Jun 16, 2010 7:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: No Interval Success

by ATimmins » Wed Jun 16, 2010 9:29 pm

Without taking recover ability into account, what is the difference between 6 x 1 mile at 10k pace and 4 Miles straight at 10k pace? When Goal pace is 10k pace? All other things being equal.
Last edited by ATimmins on Wed Jun 16, 2010 9:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Forced into running and loving every minute
1.5 Mile:
First = 13:38
Current = 7:10
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Re: No Interval Success

by ap4305 » Thu Jun 17, 2010 1:31 am

[quote="ATimmins"]
Without taking recover ability into account, what is the difference between 6 x 1 mile at 10k pace and 4 Miles straight at 10k pace? When Goal pace is 10k pace? All other things being equal.
[/quote]

The neuroendocrine system is highly sensitive to changes in rest periods both in a micro setting (within a workout) and in a macro setting (scheduling of rest/easy days).  Most runners will observe that a CV or tempo intervals feel easier than continuous runs at a similar pace even if the interval workout covers more distance.  However, we know from the lab that blood lactate levels will not return to resting levels during the rest periods of such interval workouts, indicating that the lactate profile of the two types of workouts will be relatively similar.  What gives?  A major difference between the two types of workouts comes from the impact on the body's "fight-or-flight" mechanisms, which are regulated hormonally.  A continuous run at a fast pace has the "fight" mechanism turned on close to full-bore during the session, whereas the hormonal stress is moderated during the interval version of the workout.  When runners get that "stale" feeling, it is often because the body's "fight" mechanism has been overworked and the system loses the ability to regulate itself.  The interval run gives us that aerobic benefit without the same neuroendocrine risk. 

Note, this doesn't mean that we need to avoid stressing the hormonal system altogether.  We simply need to control the stress wisely.  Most of us know intuitively that 50 x 200m at 10k pace probably wouldn't provide enough 10k specific stress, whereas repeated sessions of 4 miles at 10k pace would wear us down.  There is a time and place for such continuous runs, but we all know that 4 miles at 10k pace as a default CV workout would be too much.  Smart coaches over the years have figured out that mile repeats and 1k reps strike a good balance between all the relevant factors.  The best (Tinman, Daniels) can even confirm their field observations in the lab (as Daniels has said before, "Coaches figure something out, and then the scientists come along 25 years later to tell us why it worked"). 

Formally regulating hormone levels is still a mainly untapped frontier in the endurance sport world, in part because it is much more cumbersome than sticking a heart rate monitor around someone's chest or pricking their finger to note lactate levels.  Most of the research literature deals with the general effects of exercise on the neuroendocine system and usually compares an exercising population to a non-exercising population.  I'm sure there are many bright minds in ex phys land working hard to break new ground in high performance endurance sports, but it could be a few years before this neuroendocrine research comes to fruition.  However, the sprint/power communities are more in touch with these nuances simply because it relates so much to optimal drug supplementation.  Sad but true! 

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Re: No Interval Success

by Tinman » Fri Jun 18, 2010 8:58 am

AT -

You asked about a schedule, and what would it look like. Of course, the mileage and density of training would have to be individualized, but a general outline might look like this:

Mon - 1 hour EZ
Tue - 1.5 hours split: half EZ, half Tempo
Wed - 1 hour EZ
Thu - same as Tuesday
Fri - 1 hour EZ, but include 8-12 x 20 seconds striders (jog 40 seconds rec.)
Sat - 2 hours aerobic fartlek; including 4-6 x 3-5 minutes at half-marathon to marathon race speed with 1/2 jog recoveries
Sun - 1 hour Ez

Take care,

Tinman
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Re: No Interval Success

by ATimmins » Fri Jun 18, 2010 4:46 pm

Mon - 40 Min EZ AM - 1 hour EZ PM - Strides
Tue - 40 Min EZ AM - 1 Hour w/ 20 mins "Hard"
Wed - Same as Mon - Strides
Thu - Same as Tuesday
Fri - Same as Mon - Strides
Sat - Same as Mon
Sun - 90 Mins w/ 45 Mins "Moderate" AM - 40 Min EZ PM

Hard being Half marathon/10k
Moderate being Marathon/Half Marathon

Hows that sound?
Forced into running and loving every minute
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First = 13:38
Current = 7:10
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Re: No Interval Success

by Tinman » Fri Jun 18, 2010 9:22 pm

Comments:

The schedule you provided may be a bit too hard, if you intend to run that schedule week after week!

Tuesday and Thursday are redundant.

You don't have to run continuous tempo on Saturday, by the way: you can run "broken-tempo." Example: 4 x 10 minutes at MP with 5 minutes EZ between.

Regards,

Tinman
Last edited by Tinman on Fri Jun 18, 2010 9:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: No Interval Success

by ATimmins » Fri Jun 18, 2010 10:28 pm

Instead of tuesday and thursday, what about just wed then?

As for intervals or broken tempos, i've learned i respond much better to cut downs.  Meaning Starting at Marathon pace and ending at 5k is probably my favorite run.

Marathon Mile
30k Mile
Half Marathon Mile
10k Mile
5k 800

or for an 8~ mile, it would look like  2 Marathon Miles, 2 30k Miles, 2 Half Marathon Miles, 1 Mile 10k, 800 5k
Forced into running and loving every minute
1.5 Mile:
First = 13:38
Current = 7:10
Powered by Powerbar - www.powerbar.com
Dressed for Success in Brooks - www.brooksrunning.com
Running log - http://www.logarun.com/calendars/atimmins/
Running Blog - http://www.powerbar.com/blog/atimmins.aspx

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Re: No Interval Success

by ap4305 » Sat Jun 19, 2010 1:44 am

[quote="ATimmins"]

As for intervals or broken tempos, i've learned i respond much better to cut downs.  Meaning Starting at Marathon pace and ending at 5k is probably my favorite run.

Marathon Mile
30k Mile
Half Marathon Mile
10k Mile
5k 800

or for an 8~ mile, it would look like  2 Marathon Miles, 2 30k Miles, 2 Half Marathon Miles, 1 Mile 10k, 800 5k
[/quote]

If it is continuous, then that 8 mile workout is even harder than the original proposed workouts.  Seems like a great workout in a "normal" schedule, but if we are still talking about the "no interval" schedule, it may still be too hard.  Let's remember "Mike" the consumate no-interval runner.  Basically every day was a moderate ten mile run, with an occasional foray into marathon pace. 

I think when Tinman says "race enough" or "do time trials," the intention is for those to be roughly once per week with the rest of the week being moderate.  The purpose of the non-interval schedule isn't to make the entire regime harder by taking out the recoveries from interval workouts.  Instead of imposing stress by modulating hard days with easy days, you just run most days closer to moderate.  The load comes from the lack of any real recovery.  The tradeoff is that you can't do nearly as many hard days and the overall stress of the workouts can't be too demanding.  They can be fast (5-10k races or TTs) but the overall stress (15k and beyond) can't be too high, at least not with any frequency.   

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Re: No Interval Success

by rxb » Sat Jun 19, 2010 4:37 am

I like Tinman's CV/TT/LR rotation, and I think that it would work better for the large majority of people.  Tailor some quicker reps to suit the needs of the specific goal distance(s) to add in AFTER DOING THE STRENGTH WORK FOR SEVERAL MONTHS, AND NEVER ABANDON THE STRENGTH STUFF ENTIRELY and anybody should be ready to roll at everything from 800m - 10,000m.  (Slow-twitchers who run marathons should instead follow Tinman's Big Workout method after doing the strength rotation, instead of following up with faster reps/sharpening stuff.)

If that doesn't work, then try something else.  But I don't know why it wouldn't work.  It's a great, balanced program.  I'm 44, still a relative newbie to running, nothing special or unusual about me from a talent or physiology perspective, so I think I'm a reasonable example.  I just took my 5k road PB down tonight to 16:56 from 17:20, following up seven months (Oct - Apr) of pretty much nothing but weekly TT/CV/LR except for a handful of races and time trials, and then stacking some faster rep workouts plus a 600m time trial and a mile race on top in May and early June (but still maintaining some CV and TT within my schedule).  A very simple weekly routine from Oct to Apr, yet very effective.  A little more thought required in the past six weeks.  Now I'm in great shape heading into my summer 800/1500 all-comers track season.  Plenty of strength built up and still some room to sharpen anaerobic fitness and improve flat-out sprint speed for my middle-distance races. 

Of course, you have to know your body.  With the strength conditioning under my belt, I can do the fast stuff fairly regularly and in decent volume without falling apart.  Maybe some people can't, but I don't think there are many people who won't benefit from some faster workouts as long as they are done appropriately.  Reps work great as long as you fit them into the schedule at the right time and do the appropriate number at the appropriate length and pace given your level of fitness and your ultimate goal distance(s).  They worked for me. 

Anybody who follows the basis of Tinman's philosophy-- build aerobic strength, run almost every day, vary the pace, don't overdo the amount of non-easy running, then stack on the quick stuff after the prerequisite strength requirement is achieved-- is on the right path. 

rxb
 

Re: No Interval Success

by rxb » Sat Jun 19, 2010 4:58 am

I should add one thing:  in March and April, as a precursor to faster reps, within the 2nd half of my weekly longer run (roughly 1:50 in duration), I did a series of Tinman's hill charges.  Started with five charges, which wasn't too taxing, and added one each week until I hit twelve.  At which point, it was about time to switch over to the quick reps. 

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Re: No Interval Success

by KTJ » Sat Jun 19, 2010 12:46 pm

RXB -- do you have a sample week or two of your CV/TT/LR training geared for 5K-10K types like myself?  I've seen other sample weeks, but they're geared more towards half/full marathon training.  I know you like the 10K tempos, but how far are your CV reps? 

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Re: No Interval Success

by rxb » Sat Jun 19, 2010 1:57 pm

I pretty much standardize the CV reps at 1k, based on Tinman's advice that it is the ideal distance for CV reps for most people.  Typically I do 7x1k with one minute (200 metres) of light running for recovery; if I keep getting fitter I might try 8x1k next year to see how that goes.  If it doesn't feel comfortable I'll stay with 7x1k.  I will probably be upping my TT run from 10k to 11k starting in the fall.

Note:  I don't do 1k reps throughout the full year, again as per Tinman's advice.  I start at about half that distance/time in early-mid base and then increase slowly each week until I hit 1k reps at the very end of my 13-week base period.  And I don't do any CV after track season ends and I'm in slack mode (about 6-7 weeks of just easy runs and some shorter TT runs, with a day or two off every week, which is refreshing after I've ran every day for 7-8 months). 

I should add one more clarification to my initial post.  I also do 4-6 quick strides after each of the three key weekly workouts in the base/strength months.  Typically at about 800-1500 effort and never further than 100 metres (usually more like 60 metres), but occasionally a bit faster and once a week I will change my last stride to a near fullout sprint of 40-50 metres.  That way, my muscles have some reminder of what middle-distance effort is throughout the year, so it's not a shock to them when it comes time to do speed endurance reps and middle-distance races.  Plus, the fast strides improve your finishing kick. 

So my standard week in the base/strength period was essentially:

One TT run
One CV workout
One longer run (about 1:50, usually over a good rolling moderate hill area of local streets that works nicely)
Strides tacked onto each of those runs
Easy/light all other days
Proper warm-ups and cooldowns (at least 15 mins of each)

That should set you up to run quite well at 5k-10k.  (I think people could run a great half-marathon just off of that basic weekly schedule.)  Blend in some hill work and then some faster reps as your 5k/10k goal races approach and you should be ready to fire.  If you're unsure about how to go about it, Tinman's monthly coaching might be of help to you. 

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Re: No Interval Success

by Physeder » Sat Jun 19, 2010 6:39 pm

:) :) I've been really busy these last few weeks so have not been observing what is happening here. I too, was on that thread but really only contributed stories. Some interesting people came out and made some really good contributions.
Just yesterday my guys ran a "Tempo' or effort over 3 km  .. None slower than 9:35 ( That was 16 yr old *) and none are doing anymore more than one "interval" session a week right now (Either mile reps @ 5k pace or 1km CV'c reps on Trails) all depending on what is happening. We are in the depths of a VERY wet Winter right now in Kiwiland.
One of the guys has a 1/2 marathon next week and another a 1/2 the week after. I will let you know how they get on.
* The 16 yr old was entered for a National Secondary School Cross Country which was held yesterday .. but unfortunately he could not travel .. various reasons .. but the kid is very bright and has a huge Academic load.
Looking at the  results of that meet I feel he possibly could  have placed top 10 . The kid who was 15th has never finished within 15 seconds of Liam in any race over 6km.
The 9:35 today was easy .. he looked as though he would trip over himself he was runing so easily. We are aiming for the National Schools Track Champs at the end of the year., Looking at the steeplechase where he is already National Champion for 16 yr olds.

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Re: No Interval Success

by KTJ » Thu Jun 24, 2010 1:30 pm

You could try the Norm Green approach:

mon -10 miles 58.09.
tue -10 miles 58.31.
wed -7 miles 41.28.
thu -10 miles 59.29.
fri -10 miles 59.44.
sat -8 miles 45.04.
sun -17 miles 1h.41.26.

mon -7 miles 39.56.
tue -travel.
wed -10 miles 55.47.
thu -7 miles 39.12.
fri -7 miles 40.46.
sat -5 miles 29.41.
sun - 10km race 32.09

He was 52 at the time, 50+ bests were 32.09 10k, 52.53 10ml, 1.05.50 20k, 1.21.44 25k, 1.46.42 30k, 2.29.53 mar.

His training was done at mostly marathon-pace, to a little slower than marathon pace, every day.  So, for an average 10 mile run, he'd do it at roughly 5:45 pace.  My guess is that he would start out at 6:00-6:30 pace, and work his way down to marathon pace for the last few miles.  I can't fathom how someone can walk out the door and start running at marathon pace.  I'm out the door at 5AM everyday, and it takes me at least two mile before I can get up to speed. 

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