As my training has progressed I have learned that each and every workout needs to be planned in order to maximize the efficiency of the workout. As my workload increases so does the time commitment and since we only have so many hours in the day/week/month the ability to maximize the positive effects of each workout becomes increasingly important.
With that in mind, I am going to begin a new feature that explains the Triathlon specific workouts I am doing and why I am doing them. The first installment is going to be on Running Speed Intervals.
Speed Intervals are short (30-second to 1-minute) bursts of speed-intensity running (10 RPE) seperated by long active recoveries (4-5 RPE). They increase stride power and efficiency. Speed intervals are not full sprints; rather, they should be performed at the fastest pace you can maintain through the end of the last prescribed interval without slowing down.
The reason I decided to start with Speed Intervals is that I did this workout this morning. The workout required a 10-12 minute warm up run, followed by 6x1min of Speed Intervals with a 3min active recovery period, and then a 10-12 minute cool down. Sounds pretty simple right? Well it is, except for the actual interval part - this is hard!
I have been doing a Speed Interval workout at least once a week for the last 6 weeks with the interval increasing in time each week. I try and maintain a 5min/mi pace during the length of the interval and then hold around an 8:45ish pace in the active recovery period.
Speed Intervals have become a key component of my training and I have noticed and increase in both my anaerobic threshold and aerobic conditioning. Now Speed Intervals have their place in every training plan and, IMO, they are most effective when used after a running base has been established. This means the most effective time to implement Speed Intervals into your own training would be during the Build and Peak phases of your training plan.