As of yesterday, I finished the part of my marathon training program that includes 400 meter repeats every Wednesday, starting with 6 and peaking (twice) at 16. With 16 intervals, that's like 4 miles of running pretty darn fast. I was running mine from 7:48-8:00 min/mi pace (about 1:55-2:00 per lap).
You might remember that I spent two years in high school competing in Track and Field, and "my" event was the 400 meter dash. Of course, I always felt that 400 meters is WAY too far for a dash, but I pretty much tapered off at a 1:10-1:11 pace per lap (that's a 4:40-4:44 mile for those who are keeping track). When we practiced, we did 10-12 repeats, and I would run them at about 1:20 per lap (about 5:20 per mile).
There is pretty much a snowball's chance in Hades that I could run those sort of paces again, and these days, it seems even tougher to get to an actual track to run these. My high school got a nice rubber track over the years, upgraded from sand, yet with one exception**, it is locked each time I go there. I even asked my best bud, who also happens to be the city mayor, to work it out, but after a month after his e-mail commands to some staff, I have yet to see it open when I need it.
**(The one exception was once this past winter when it was 34 degrees outside, and sprinting just froze my face. I quickly decided to take my workout elsewhere.)
So... instead of gambling with the (hot) elements, concrete sidewalks, and too much elevation variation for effective intervals, I did all of these interval workouts on the treadmill.
It went something like this:
- Start up treadmill, incline at 0.5, speed 3.7 mph (<-- click HERE for a treadmill pace conversion chart)
- Walk for .1 mi (I realize this is little rest, but I am usually crunched for time)
- Run from .1 mi to .35 mi
- Run your interval: Start vamping up to desired speed at .09 mi and start turning it down at .34
- Keep track of your completed interval!
- Walk for .1 mi
- Run from .45 mi to .70... (yes, this process requires doing math in your head while running, but it's a welcome distraction)
... continue until you reach the number of intervals needed and cool down by walking and stretching (OFF the treadmill, of course!)
Notes about keeping track of intervals:
- Be creative! I am a minimalist and don't like to bring too much with me to the treadmill, so I use the little TV audio receiver that is strapped onto some treadmills to keep track of my intervals. It goes from Ch 1-9, so if I do 16, I just keep flipping through the channels each time I finish a lap until it hits 7 for the second time.
- I have also tried bringing a throwaway paper and making a tear in it each time I completed a lap, or I guess you could even use your cell phone if you bring that with you (I don't)
Have you tried doing intervals indoors? Any little tricks that make this easier?