The longer title for our subject is of course maximum oxygen uptake capacity.
This is a sample from Running Dialogue by David Holt...copyright 1997. Material may be used without first gaining my permission, but please give credit to the source.
You continue to improve speed, endurance and running form by changing your intervals:
* Run faster in the effort...up to 2 mile race pace. * Take a shorter distance recovery * Put more effort into the recovery (jogging for a minute instead of walking) * Or, increasing the number of efforts. He continued. “The prudent runner will only change one of these factors at a time. “A runner specializing in the shorter distances will generally aim for a lowish number of quite fast repetitions--thus ensuring part of each effort puts him well into oxygen debt. He will increase the speed of the efforts until he is running faster than race pace...then steadily decrease the recovery period session by session. He may also reduce the number of repetitions to enable him to achieve the extra speed.” “What about the 10 k or 10 mile racer?” “Upon achieving the required speed, they will decrease the re¬ covery period, and then increase the number of repetitions.” “So he’ll run the repeats at the same pace,” I said. “Yes. Once target pace is attained, aim to run more repetitions at that pace. “You see David, one of the aims of interval training is to get the body used to running fast for a long (overall) period of time. Inter¬ val work allows you to do huge amounts of mileage at fast training pace--yet without wearing yourself out. Achieve the target speed, then emphasize improving endurance at that speed.” Both specialists could progress along the following lines at first. Week 1 8 x 400 in 72 secs 400 jog Week 3 10 x 400 in 72 secs 400 jog Week 5 12 x 400 in 72 secs 400 jog Week 7 10 x 400 in 72 secs 300 jog Week 9 12 x 400 in 72 secs 300 jog Week 11 8 x 400 in 72 secs 200 jog Week 13 10 x 400 in 72 secs 200 jog Week 15 12 x 400 in 72 secs 200 jog “For the next two sessions of 400s, it would be a good idea to consolidate your gains. Weeks 17 and 19 could be the same as week 15. Then move on to 8 x 400 in 70 secs with 400 jog ( if re¬ quiring more speed); or increase the number of efforts if looking for greater endurance...only you can set the limit on the number. Each time you increase the speed of your reps, a greater proportion of the repetition is anaerobic. As you get stronger; as your muscles get used to the new speed; as your body learns to process more oxygen, (with a nudge from your steady runs), it becomes more aerobic. Over a period of months, the anaerobic training changes to aerobic training: You will be able to race faster. “You’ll find that while aiming for the 72s, some of your efforts will be closer to 70. If you make a conscious effort to run every fourth rep faster--that is, to intentionally run a 70--moving to regular 70s will come easier. The occasional faster rep also helps to break up the session.” “Avoid doing any session more than once every two weeks,” he said. “But you have me doing 200s on consecutive weeks.” “True. But that was to prepare you for the 300s; which them¬ selves got you ready for the 400s. There is often an exception to a general rule. “You need to avoid doing 400s or 200s week in, week out. Doing the same session will only make you good at running that session. The 200s and 300s do something for you which the 400s won’t. Don’t miss out on their benefits. “In practice, you may run 400s every three weeks. The 17 ses¬ sions will give you a full year of progression. Progress along similar lines for the other track sessions. Week two could be 12 x 300 meters with 300 jog; week four 12 x 300 with 200 jog and week ten 10 x 300 with 100 jog. The 300s will be run at perhaps the equivalent of a 70 second lap....When you move on to 400s in 70 seconds, it’s a natural progression in terms of increasing the speed of the 400s because you run the extra 100 meters at the speed you had been running 300s. “By the time you reach that level, you will be running your 300s comfortably at sixty-eight second 400 pace.” “Use the speed of your current 300s as your target for next year’s 400s. Like in Part Three, your progress will be phenomenal for a while, but be prepared for it to slow as you get close to your potential--the potential at your current level of training. Keep the speed of reps in a proper relationship to your race pace. There’s little point in running excessively faster than racing speed. “Try running 200s at your best 1500 or mile speed; the 300s at 3,000 meters (or two mile) pace; with the 400s being at 5,000 me¬ ters pace. Gradually increase the speed so that 2, 3 and 400s are run at 800, 1500 and 3000 meter pace. Aim to run two or more times the distance of the race during these sessions. If you’re running at 3,000 pace, aim for 6,000 in the interval session.
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