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Understanding the "recovery" part of intervals

I did a reasonably good interval session on the track this morning, doing 6 x 800m, each at 3:05, give or take a second or two.

There's a fence 100m from my start / finish point and at the end of each set I walk to the fence, sometimes stretch, and walk back. This takes about 90 seconds and my HR drops quite a bit before I start off again. Regardless of whether I do work efforts of 800m or 1600m I always do the recovery the same way.

The book & programmes I've read usually prescribe a 400m jog in between work efforts. Am I not getting the full benefit by doing the recovery intervals my own way, or does it really make a difference? I personally think it's probably a bit easier than a 400m jog but I guess a jog could be at any pace really.


  • BritspinBritspin Posts: 1,655
    That depends on the purpose of your interval...& thus whether you are striving for full recovery..in which case take longer until your HR is at 'resting', or partial when you go again when you feel able, or after a specific time rather than HR.
  • PC_67PC_67 Posts: 196
    I'm incorporating these once-a-week sessions to help me reach my goal of reducing my 10k time. My HRM is broken but, based on memory from last year, at the end of the work session my HR is usually quite high - 180ish - and my HR drops to about 120 before I resume. So, no, I'm not waiting to get back to resting.

    What I don't really understand is how settled my HR should be before I resume. My instinct is that what I'm doing is probably right, but I'm fearful that maybe I'm making it a little easy for myself and hence not getting the benefit. That said, I find the session hard, but not impiossibly hard. I reckon I have a little left to give and, if I really pushed I could squeeze in one or two more repeats - but I'd prefer not to!
  • MartinHMartinH Posts: 11
    It does depend on what you are trying to achieve, but try the following as a way to improve your time (not depending on knowing your HR, but it would be usefull to see how you are recovering as the sessions progress. If you want to improve your 10k time then the interval set total needs to be 10k - 6x800m is not enough to get you used to running the full distance of 10k as fast as you can 4.8k (6x800m).

    Split the distance you are running into three to four periods (so if you are trying to improve your 10k time, you could do 4x2.5k):

    Run the first 2.5k as hard as possible (obviously as a TT so not too hard to start and no fading at the end)
    Rest for at least 50% of the time it took you to run the 2.5k (should be almost full recovery).
    Repeat for three more sets (so you've covered the 10k in total).
    Try doing twice a week (but depends on what other training you are doing - if its for a 10k road race then this should be ok, if for a olympic tri then may be too much); reduce the rest interval by 30 seconds each week (or 2 weeks if only doing one session/week) so by week four two minutes have been cut from the rest time.

    This should work - but its hard work!
  • PC_67PC_67 Posts: 196
    Thanks - I'll try that. Hard work doesn't worry me!
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