triathlon and family can mix

Run Intervals

HIIT, my favorite buzzword of the week.


Call it what you want, ‘Intervals’, ‘Fartlek’, or good old ‘Pain’, high intensity training is a great way to increase speed and aerobic capacity. I have explored this idea in a past post, High Intensity Training.

I like intervals. Really. You may think I am crazy for saying it, but I like intervals. Notice I didn’t say love……

My least favorite, and the ones I have been hammering all spring, are run intervals. I am not the best runner, but I am getting better. In my last race, I finished the 5k run in 21:52 (4:23/km). This is my fastest run split to date. At least all the effort is paying off; combining the base fitness I worked on over the winter and speed work in the spring, I am feeling as fast as I ever had on the run.

If you have read my past posts, I am a huge fan of ‘Time Crunched Triathlete’. Not only does that fact you can train for and race a triathlon, up to a Half Ironman, in around 8 hours per week speak to me, the shorter, higher intensity workouts are great. My body reacts well to this type of training.

Using the intensity levels defined by Chris Carmichael, my run intervals look like this.

Workout Name Primary Goal Percentage of CTS Field Test Pace Your CTS Running Pace Ranges Percentage of CTS Field Test Heart Rate Your CTS Running Heart Rate Ranges
EnduranceRun Basic aerobic development 97 0 4:31 0 97 0 168
SteadyStateRun Improved aerobic development 98 92 4:22 4:40 92 98 159 170
TempoRun Increased pace at lactae threshold 102 98 4:12 4:22 98 102 170 176
Fartlek Intervals Increased speed at V02 Max 108 102 3:58 4:12 102 108 176 187

Of course, to be able to complete this chart, you need to perform a “CTS Field Test’. I won’t bore you in this post, as I explored it here. It sucks, just in case you were wondering.

Here is what my ‘Steady State (SS)’ intervals looked like back in April. My workout called for a 45 Min SSR (4×4 Minutes (4RBI)). Broken down, it reads like this; 45 minute run, with 4 minutes in the SSR range (4:22-4:40/km), 4 minutes rest in between, repeat a total of 4 times. I did take a longer rest between the 3rd and 4th intervals, but it wasn’t by design. It can tough to keep perfect time and pace when running outside, especially when your mind wanders like mine does. One of the only benefits of running on a treadmill.


A fringe benefit of intervals? They make any workout go by faster.

Question: Do you include intervals in your training on a regular basis? What type of results have you seen?


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