The Role of Intervals in Marathon Training Continued

Thought I would provide a real time example of a solid interval workout from February 11. This runner, based upon his fitness level when he started his 2nd Lydiard cycle in early December, is capable of a sub 3-hour marathon come April 7. He has executed the Aerobic Base Building and Hill Strength phases quite well and is now ready for the Anaerobic phase of his program. Yesterday was his first interval session as a part of this phase.

For most marathoners/half marathoners doing intervals at above anaerobic threshold with enough recovery to repeat allowing the body to get used to high levels of acidosis is recommended. They should be prolonged harder work, not shorter durations. This means at least 1000 meters and should be more like 1200m, 1600m and longer.

In this example from yesterday the workout started with a 1.5-mile warmup then 1000m, 1200m, 1600m, 1600m and 1600m segments, followed by a 1.5-mile cooldown. At 1/4 effort his target pace was 6:30 per mile with a recovery in between that allowed his heartrate to lower to 120-130. Then he started his next interval. As you can see by the below two graphics below his pace range was 6:32 to 6:19, very consistent. The report back was that the fast-paced segments were handled well and he could have gone faster. These intervals are getting him used to running harder, faster paces in a sustained effort and training himself both physically and mentally to get used to this level of being uncomfortable.

As we plan for his second interval workout the pace will quicken as well as the duration of each segment. Each of these workouts will build on the one prior.  The Anaerobic phase of the Lydiard Method usually lasts 4 weeks.

If you want to achieve your long race goals in the half or full marathon you need to work on your endurance, after all these long distances are 98%+ aerobic!

Remember, all workouts on the Lydiard Method have a specific purpose and are sequenced accordingly to maximize the “training effect”. If you would like to learn more about the science and performance-based Lydiard Method, stop by the store. We are always happy to talk about your running!

Bob Dyer (Co-owner, Running Niche)
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