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The Pete Plan blog

Scared of intervals?

Posted by thepeteplan on March 20, 2008

As discussed yesterday, because of the heat trial I moved my usual middle distance intervals from Wednesday to Thursday this week so I could have a better go at them. Week 1 of the cycle means 5 x 1500m, and with a target from 3 weeks ago of 1:41.1 average pace.

Training:

5 x 1500m / 5min rest:

5:01.4 / 1:40.4 / 30

5:01.0 / 1:40.3 / 30

5:00.4 / 1:40.1 / 31

4:59.6 / 1:39.8 / 31

4:58.5 / 1:39.5 / 31

Totals = 25:00.8 / 1:40.0 / 30

A pretty solid interval session. Though not my best on this session, with the current training load I think this is pretty good. It can get to a point on most sessions where you see a certain pace as a “barrier” to get past. 1:40 is always there in my mind on these type of sessions, and seeing 1:39’s on the monitor somehow feels a lot faster than 1:40’s, and as such going for sub 1:40 from the start can seem a lot harder than staying just above, and passing it at at the half way point. Next time obviously I will have to get all 5 reps under 1:40, but this was a good step to getting back there.

Scared of Intervals?

Many people seem quite apprehensive of interval training because it is seen as higher intensity than just doing single distance pieces. However there is no reason to make your first move into interval training by doing a series of flat out repetitions leaving you gasping for breath in a heap on the floor – instead you can work up to that.

Interval training is simply a method of letting you row for a certain duration at a faster pace than you can manage in one go, by splitting the distance up with short rest periods. So the obvious way to begin down this path is to row the intervals at a pace you could row the total distance at in one go, and then improve on that each time you attempt the same set of intervals. People in many athletic sports use interval training to great effect, and on the erg it is certainly a way to improve your paces across the range of distances.

You can keep it simple to start with. If you normally do a 30min row every day, try splitting that row into 2 x 15min rows, or 3 x 10min rows, with a 1 to 2min break between. Do the first 15mins, or the first 2 x 10mins, at the same pace you would normally row your 30min. Then for the final repetition row it just a little bit faster than your usual pace. At the end of the session take a note of the average pace for the full 30mins, which should be a little faster than your usual 30min rows, and use that as a pace to shoot for next time you do the same session. Again do the final of your repetitions a little faster.

As these intervals gradually increase in pace week after week, you will find you have the ability to row the 30mins as a single piece a little faster too. If you don’t currently do any interval training, just try this method as an introduction and see how it adds a new element to your training.

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2 Responses to “Scared of intervals?”

  1. FeltonH said

    Last week I tried my first interval training session. I was trying for 8×500 @ 1.50, which is slightly less than 2000pb pace but blew up completely after 4 reps. Just couldn’t get my head round it at all. This week I tried again and managed 6×500 @1.49 and it seemed much more comfortable. I think next week I’ll try for 8 reps at the same pace and hopefully take it from there. I can’t say I’m looking forward to trying longer intervals though!

  2. jamiepfeffer said

    Congratulations, Felton! Well done.

    Very fast, Pete. In college we used to do 5×1500 every Saturday during winter training. Breaking 5:00 was always seen as an almost mythical feat. So you should feel quite pleased with your session.

    Best,
    Jamie

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