Designing interval sets require some thought about the following factors:
- How fast
- How far
- How long before my next one
Running fast is pretty simple. How far each interval is dictates the pace you will be able to hold for that distance. Choosing the right amount of recovery between each set is based on a couple of factors:
- Too little recovery will cause the muscles to give inadequate energy supply.
- Too much recovery(sometimes a bad thing) does not tax the target energy system enough so adaptations do not take place.
- What point in the season is this happening.
To help design efficient interval workouts, here is a guideline to help maximize each effort:
- Faster than goal pace require more rest.
- If the target pacing is suffering, 10% drop or more, more rest is required.
- If the target pace is achieved, then rest is prescribed based on the seasons’ goals. There many thoughts on this, some experts recommend less rest closer to the goal event (an example is 0.5:1 or 1:1 rest to interval). Some coaches recommend more rest to allow for faster times over shorter distances (4:1 or even 8:1 rest to interval). Ideally a mix of these recommendations are needed to achieve fast times in your event.
One thought that is supported by most is, adding more rest especially if one is new to a sport, is preferred instead of cutting it short. This will allow the individual to achieve higher speeds (the goal) but maybe sacrifice some of the metabolic and muscular adaptations. Better to do this than end a session do to an injury.