Canadian Running

One Work­out

Aer­o­bic In­ter­vals

- By Charles Philib­ert-Thi­boutot Sports · Running · Lifestyle · Healthy Living · Fitness · Athletics · Onitsuka Tiger

Are you hop­ing to per­form well in your next 5k or 10k race? There are many ways to in­crease aer­o­bic ca­pac­ity, but I have found that high-vol­ume, con­trolled, sub-max­i­mal aer­o­bic in­ter­vals have greatly in­creased my en­durance in the last few months, lead­ing to new PBs in both the 10,000m and the 5,000m. I be­lieve they can ben­e­fit any­one look­ing to PB at any dis­tance from the 1,500m to the half-marathon.

The goal is to run a high vol­ume of fast run­ning by split­ting that dis­tance i nto short-to-medium in­ter­vals with very lit­tle rest. For a be­gin­ner, it might mean 3 km to 6 km of vol­ume; for an in­ter­me­di­ate or ad­vanced run­ner, aim for 8–12 km. You should aim for a rhythm some­where be­tween your half-marathon and 10k race pace. In­ter­vals should be be­tween 400 m and 3 km, with no more than one minute’s rest be­tween in­ter­vals – enough that the heart rate re­mains high, while re­set­ting the body me­chan­i­cally with each new in­ter­val. The work­out rep­re­sents an hon­est and con­stant aer­o­bic ef­fort.

Try to run as smoothly as pos­si­ble through­out the ses­sion by fo­cus­ing on your me­chan­ics, and try to main­tain that form as long as pos­si­ble. If you start to fa­tigue and feel your­self tight­en­ing up, use that minute’s rest to re­set your body. Don’t run each in­ter­val full-out. If, af­ter one or two rep­e­ti­tions, you are al­ready strug­gling and tight­en­ing up, slow down un­til you are more com­fort­able. At the end of th­ese ses­sions, you don’t want to be com­pletely spent, and you should be able to say that you could have com­pleted more in­ter­vals.

The fol­low­ing are ex­am­ples from my last buildup, span­ning sev­eral months. Go slower or use shorter dis­tances in the early ses­sions. As your fit­ness in­creases, you can use in­ter­val length, rest, speed and over­all vol­ume to make the ses­sion more chal­leng­ing, but you should al­ways feel in con­trol of every work­out.

Charles Philib­ert-Thi­boutot is an Asics ath­lete, 2016 Rio Olympian and three-time Cana­dian na­tional cham­pion in the 1,500m.

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