Runners Specific Phase Training
Faith Running

Runner’s Specific Phase – Running Intervals

For the past two months, we have talked about the first two phases in a periodization training cycle for runners; the base training phase and the strength training phase.

The next phase within the runner’s training cycle focuses on specific workouts tailored to mimic your goal race. As you get closer to your race day, long intervals and short intervals will become an important component.

Long Intervals and Short Intervals:

The next two phases consist of long-interval training followed by short-interval training, but in this article, we will discuss them both.

Intervals can be extremely challenging if you do not like to push beyond your comfort zone. I tend to lean onto God more during these workouts, and start reciting Bible verses or turn to naming blessings that come to mind when I want to quit. I NEED God’s strength to help me overcome these workouts.

What are Intervals?

They’re specific bouts of speed at a specific distance, with a recovery time between each bout of speed.

Benefits of Intervals:

  • Promotes a more efficient running form
  • Increases strength
  • Teaches patience to endure high-grade physical discomfort
  • Strengthens mental toughness
  • Improves fast twitch muscles

Who should do intervals?

  • Runners that have completed the Base Training Phase of 500 miles or more
  • Athletes who have completed the Strength Training Phase
  • Runners who are not injured
  • Athletes who can comfortably run 20 miles or more per week

Long Intervals versus Short Intervals – What’s the difference?

Long Intervals

  • 800m-2000m or 2:30-10:00 minutes long
  • Grows the threshold
  • They’re the middle ground for aerobic and anaerobic effort
  • Used for marathoners, early season training for road racers, and a good way to test an athlete’s current pace

Short Intervals

  • 800m or shorter, time-wise; 2:30 minutes or less
  • Good for athletes doing shorter road races such as 5ks
  • Good to use late in the season for sharpening and improving fast-twitch muscles
  • Have fun with these!!! There are so many types of workouts to be done to make these fun!

When working with a run coach, they should know when and what types of intervals work best in your training and according to your body. A track is a great place to run intervals, but access is not always easily available, which is where time can be useful for intervals.

If you are using a track, make sure to switch up running directions. If you run clockwise one session, during the next session change to counterclockwise. This will help not just put stress on one side of the body which can cause injury over time if you continue to repeat the same direction each time.

Intervals help zone in on your race pace and increase your threshold to help achieve peak performance before race day! That’s why these two cycles are right before the peak phase, which is when you’re race-ready!

Coach’s Tip: Try one of these things when you push beyond your comfort zone:

  1. Choose scripture you can write on your hand or recite when you need to push through
  2. Start thanking God and count your blessings out loud
  3. Pray, tell God you need His strength to get you through, and ask Him to help you endure

Happy Training!
Running His Race,
Coach Elizabeth

This article was originally posted on Active for Christ – Coach’s Corner

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