Intervals = complicatables

I posted a question on my linkedin site about intervals and I got some really hard core answers that were too much for this little panther.

Has anyone out there something simple this simple runner can understand?

I have No Garmin, or fancy technical wizardry.. However I've read in my RW that they help improve PB's and I WANT THAT... BADLY

Please help C25kBErs

Thankyou, yours. Mrs juicy panther

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27 Replies

  • You're right to wish to keep it simple. That's what I do.

    You have several options:

    If you like running to music try:

    1. NHS Speed podcast - this has Laura's coaching and music. It's 5 mins warm up at 155bpm, followed by 60 seconds at 165bpm and 60 secs at 150bpm - repeated x5. So 6 times in total

    2. Buy music/coaching mp3 from Audiofuel with intervals training

    Without music:

    3.If you run on town/city streets, you could run between lamp-posts. Run fast (~80% effort) between 2 posts, then slow jog between 2 posts.Repeat about 5 or 6 times initially, but the trick is to try to keep a steady pace, so the last couple of 'sprints' are as fast as the first few.

    4. Run by distance, if you have some means of measuring 100m or 200m (It doesn't need to be very accurate). My current training plan (sub 2-hr HM) calls for 6x200m in 1 min (1 min slow jog in between). You could use a stopwatch or your phone to bleep at each minute.

    When doing intervals sessions you should start with at least 5 mins warm up slow jog (I find I need at least 10 mins) and 5 mins slow jog before cool down walk.

  • of couse...speed..I only did it once after graduating but I will dig it out and say hello to Laura again...good plan thanks!!

  • There is a free e book at

    It is an interesting read and this chapter

    Is all about training. He talks about speed play (fartlek) and intervals and how they are different. Now, it prob depends on what you want to do. You can use landmarks to change how fast you are going like lamp posts and it strikes me you need an HRM and someone holding a whistle and a stopwatch yelling at you to do it properly!

    I think intervals like the speed podcast and also hills are making a difference to me. But it is all a bit touch and go with this weather!

  • Thanks that looks really interesting :)

  • My son is a keen exercise person and he reads up on it all. He is also a technophobe! He uses intervals for one run a week and I think he does 60 secs fast, 60 secs recovery for about a mile. He's asleep at the moment but when I wakes up I'll ask him about it and post it. Other than that I use Laura and the speed podcast; I have heard of people repeating it as it is only 18 minutes or so long and you can download it without the big introduction from itunes.

  • My dad's army buddies swear by the lamp post method. Sprint for one, run for one, repeat 8 times. Not to sound daft but can't you just use the W1 podcasts and sprint the run bits? :)

  • now thats perfectly simple, I will try that one!!!

  • My son said he just looked up fartlek and went from there. He doesn't measure his intervals exactly but he can do 3 miles in about 18 mins so he is quite speedy. I like the idea that P1glet1 suggested.

  • wow, he is fast!! I like his idea, that sounds great, thankyou!

  • Woops forgot the link I copied

  • The runbritain seems to have lots of useful advice on speeding up. I'm reading my way through it as I am so slow it is depressing. One thing they suggest is running up hills (not huge ones) and you certainly have some of those where you live!

  • ...thankyou so much, really helpful!!!

  • I can't add anything I'm just here along for the ride there are some great links to read.

  • Thanks Realfoodieclub...

  • If you have no specific land markers round you can always pick the pace up till you are breathing heavy then drop the pace down to jog/walk till breathing back to normal then go again with increasing the efforts.

    Some other info can be found here

  • sounds good..thankyou!!

  • I've looked for some basic interval training, but the best I've got is doing the early weeks of the C25k, but run normal pace instead of walk and sprint when she says run.

    Otherwise when I'm running naked I warm up for 5 min alternate between running and sprinting using lamp posts as distance markers, until I need to walk and then run at a slow pace to recover. I have just downloaded a free stopwatch app (Android) that has training modes including Fartlek, so I'm going to try it out on my next run.

  • good plan, thankyou!!

  • Setting up intervals on Runkeeper (free) is very easy. You decide time or distance and pace and Annabel talks you through it. I started with 20 second intervals every five minutes, now increased to thirty seconds, and soon to become forty seconds. It works just like the run/walk intervals of C25k.....your recovery time slowly reduces and your ability to maintain the higher pace increases. Simples

  • ...that does sound simple I could cope with that, I did running because its simple and the whole interval thing got me all confused!!! Thanks!

  • If you have an iPhone, iPod touch or android device with GPS you could try Zombies, Run!

    It's a GPS based running game where each run is a 20 - 30 minute mission. A story unfolds while you run so it keeps things interesting.

    Each run is mostly at a steady pace but, with zombie attacks enabled, you'll be chased by zombies and have to up your pace for a couple of minutes 2 or 3 times per mission.

    It's like interval training, but fun!

  • That sounds great fun, I will look for it in the APP store...thankyou!

  • You're welcome! I have found that few things motivate me to increase my pace quite like being periodically chased by zombies.

  • Best of luck on that training. It does work, its hard, it's like being kicked repeatedly in the stomach. It never gets easier but you do get fitter. It's something i can no longer do. You have all the replies on what interval training is. In its simplest state if you were running on a 400 metre track you would sprint 200 metres as fast as you could, then recover by jogging the next 200 metres. This would be repeated at least 10 times. Well done if you don't throw up.

    I remember Steve Cram saying that he used to do 400 metre intervals in his training.

  • Thankyou, yes it does look hard but clearly it works!!!!

  • Lampposts for me every time Juju, you don't need to check your time then you just map out an overall distance route, warm up and then speed run for 1/2 posts then recovery for 1/2 and repeat until route completed. Check your total time. Repeat weekly and see how you reduce your time, it really works. Its short and sweet too so if you are strapped for time its a good workout.

  • you make it sound fun, I like that, lamposts here I come!!

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