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Interval Advice (running)

I am going to start interval training on the treadmill tonight and was wondering if I should do distance intervals or time intervals. Maybe just fill me in on what specifically you like to do for intervals if you use them in your training.
I am working towards my first 10K - this week I am running 3 days, 4-5 miles each day (I do other cardio activities 2-3 days a week). I am not very fast - a 8:30-10 min mile depending on how hard I am pushing myself.

Mon. Apr 21, 5:21pm

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My husband and I each have a different approach. I do time intervals and he does distance intervals.

I did intervals during my short and long runs when training for a marathon. I ususally didn't do them on the treadmill, but I don't see why you can't. I ran for 8 minutes, walked for 1 and did this throughout my 4 mile short runs during the week as well as my ever increasing long runs on the weekends. It really helped! I ran my fastest 4 miles ever doing the intervals and it kept me energized throughout the long runs.

Have fun training!

Monday, April 21, 2008, 7:38 PM

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I been doing 3 1/2 miles at my standard pace and then intervals - 1 min walk, 1 1/2 minute run

- and then I increase the pace of the run interval and drop the run interval time by 15 seconds as I go until I am sprinting at 6 min mile pace for 30 sec. Then I cool down...

Fun !

Monday, April 21, 2008, 9:22 PM

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I personally like doing time intervals. When i first started running I did 5 minutes of walking, then of running. I have worked up and can now just run. Good luck on your 5K!

Monday, April 21, 2008, 9:24 PM

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I guess it's considered distance, but I run a certain number of steps and then jog or walk a certain number. (Like run fast for 200 steps, jog for 100 steps).

Tuesday, April 22, 2008, 8:25 AM

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I think that time and distance intervals are basically the same thing, and you should do whichever is easier for you to measure.

Personally, I do time intervals, because I do them on the treadmill at the gym, and it's easier for me to change my speed every however many minutes rather than try to keep track of distance.

Recently, I've been doing 5 minute sets:
5 min warm-up
2.5 mins fast (at approx 9-minute mile)
2.5 mins recovery (at a 10-minute mile)
5 minute cool-down

Or I do 3 mins fast and 2 mins recovery speed...a 5 minute repeat is just so easy to keep track of that it's my default.

When I used to play on a soccer team, we did distance intervals on a track - sprinted the straight parts, jogged the curved parts of the track; or fast pace for a whole lap, slow pace for a whole lap, depending on the day.

Another really useful interval for improving strength and speed is hills - easy to do on the treadmill...and as long as you don't mind looking sort of weird as you run up and down the same hill 10 times, easy to do outside if you can find an appropriate-length and grade hill.

Good luck in your race!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008, 10:42 AM

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I do al ot of interval training and I mix it up all the time depending on my energy for the day. Typically warm up for one minute at 3.0, then 4 mins at 4.3 then 4 at 6 or 6.5 then back down to 3.0 for one minute and repeat cycle through the first mile. Then I will add incline but lower the speeds to 3, 4 and 5.5 etc. for next mile and come repeat 1st miles variation for 3rd mile etc etc....
There are so many ways to mix it up and it has really worked well for me.
Now I am working on running endurance for a specific number of miles for a race I have coming up as well. Don't forget, if you typically run on a treadmill and your race is outside, get some training done outside, it is so much different than running on the treadmill. I've learned that the hard way.
Good luck!!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008, 10:59 AM

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OP here

Thanks everyone! I played around with it a bit yesterday and I will be playing around with it a lot more I have a feeling. The initial plan was .2 job .8 as hard as i could go for 4 miles - well either I got bored or I lost momentum because I didn't keep up with that. Here is what I did:
4.5 miles total

Distance - Speed Setting
.2 mi - 5.5
.8 mi - 6.5-7.0
.2 - 5.5
.8 - 6.5-7.0
.5 - 5.8
.5 - 6.0-7.0
.5 - 4.1-5.8
.25 - 6.5-7.5
.25 - 6.0
.25 - 3.1

I like suggestion to do 2.5 min intervals because that is usually how long I last before I start getting antsy.
I will be heading outside as well to train. I learned that lesson w/ my 5K. I am in the gym a lot right now because I am also lifting but for the three weeks prior to my race I plan on focusing on running outside.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008, 11:17 AM

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