An experienced athlete (5 years) is training for their goal event. The athlete is performing intervals and wants to know how much rest should be given between sets.
Q: How much rest should I get between intervals?
More rest is required between intervals as speed is the priority this close to the event. Rest will allow the aerobic system to fully recharge the muscles so the athlete can perform each interval at a high velocity. Rest times will be 1-2 times the length of the interval.
Race pace conditioning is the key step in this phase and rest intervals will be short with 5-60s between each interval. This trains the lactate and anaerobic system to provide energy for each working set which will make adaptations in the enzymes that control a quicker energy transfer.
Medium to long rest times are required to help train the aerobic and anaerobic system for each speed session. Common rest times are half the time of the interval which allows the anaerobic system to partially recover and work in conjunction with the aerobic system. A common problem in this state is the athlete stopping because of muscle soreness and not getting the full benefit of the workout. A recommendation is to look at the previous days training and make sure that intervals are done feeling fresh.
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