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Threshold Intervals for Improved Performance

Posted by Heather J.

Revered professor/coach and two-time Olympian Jack Daniels developed the threshold running technique as an alternative to the standard tempo run. Both are great tools for middle and long distance runners, and can add a little pep into anyone's running routine. I won?t go into the science behind it (you can read the excellent book Daniels? Running Formula for the most thorough explanation), but I will give you the basics on this beneficial training component. First, make sure you?ve established a solid base. If you're new to running, that means at least six to 24 weeks of regular, easy runs. If you?ve got your routine established, it's safe to add either a tempo run or threshold workout. The tempo and threshold runs are both performed at a ?comfortably hard? pace, which generally means slightly slower than 10K race pace. But while tempo runs entail a steady run of at least 20 minutes (with about ten minutes of easy running before and after), a threshold workout breaks the ?comfortably hard? running into long intervals. After a ten-minute warm-up, try running for three minutes at ?threshold pace? followed by a one-minute rest of easy running. Repeat five to six times. If that feels easy, up the interval to four- to five-minute intervals, or a mile to 2000 meters. For intervals longer than a mile, extend the recovery time to two minutes. Conclude with ten-minute cool down. Perform these runs on a track, a flat road or path, or a treadmill so that an accurate, even pace can be maintained and injury avoided. Run strong!
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