Running Intervals Training to Increase Speed & Max VO2

Posted on Apr 08, 2008 under Training | 5 Comments

Max VO2 is how much oxygen you use when exercising or running. Increasing your max VO2 lets you to run faster and longer at the same level of effort. This next workout was our first intervals for the training season, but since they were the first ones, we started off ‘easy’.

Wednesday, January 2, 2002
Work-out: 2 Perimeter warm-up, 4 1200 meter intervals @ 6 Min/Mile Pace with 3 Min recovery
Time: 4:30 on all 4, 69 second last lap, Weather: Sunny, little warm

The Workout – Running Intervals
On the warm-up run, I felt pretty good and I finished first and still felt good to have a great workout. I guess when the coaches told us what the workout was, I felt kind of relieved because it wasn’t as hard as I expected. Running the first 1200 meters of the workout, I felt alright but by the end of it I felt kind of tired (which is expected I suppose). I was happy that we hit the mark for the first interval run, but I didn’t like the way everyone was saying how easy it was and how good they felt. If it is easy, just keep it up, no need to tell everybody how great you feel. We finished running another two 1200 meters, feeling the same thing. However, after the third one, Frank asked the coach if we could do the first two laps normal and all out the last lap of the run. Even though I usually do have a kick at the end of runs and races, I was kind of tired and didn’t really want to. He said that I would beat him anyways, but I was tired and didn’t want to go all out. Well we did the first two laps of the interval at 3 minutes and went all out for the last lap of the interval run. On the final lap, Frank took the lead and I was right behind him. But at about 150/100 meter mark, I took off. The main reason why was because I heard the Coach yelling and cheering for me first and then at Frank when I passed him. I finished dying of course, but the last lap of that interval was about 69 seconds. Overall I guess this workout was pretty good and successful.

Running Tips I Learned
The length of time between running each interval should be long enough to let your heart rate drop down to about 65%. This number seems arbitrary, but if you do not get enough rest in between the intervals, you may have to cut your workout short. But if your recovery is too long, it is also not optimal.

Since workouts vary according to runners, the recovery time depends, but a good rule of thumb is rest 50% to 90% of the time it takes to actually run the interval. For example, in my 1200 meter repeats, our goal time was 4:30, so the recovery jog should have lasted 50% to 90% of this time or between 2:15 to 4:00, which is what we did.

Our coach always told us not to stand bent over with your hands on your knees after a running an interval or while resting. Research has shown that you recover the quickest when you jog during your recovery, because doing so helps to clear lactic acid from your blood. If you’d rather not do more running during your recovery, you can always just put your hands behind your head and just walk slowly.

Why Do Running Interval Workouts?
Intervals are one of the best ways to help increase your max VO2, and give you more speed that is needed during a race, or improve the speed that you already have. On the flip side, it may also be the hardest workout you’ll do because as you improve, the workouts will just get harder and harder, with shorter and shorter recovery times. But in the end (your next race or competition), it’ll all pay off and will show in your improved times.

5 Responses to “Running Intervals Training to Increase Speed & Max VO2”

  1. Brandon Hensinger Says:

    I have found intervals to be extremely effective not only in improving my aerobic endurance, but since it increases capillary size and increases the body’s ability to remove lactic acid, it has helped me to increase my rock climbing performance drastically!

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