Make Short Work Of Re­cov­ery

Lim­it­ing your rest pe­ri­ods may help you reap more ben­e­fits from some work­outs

Runner's World (UK) - - In This Issue -

Limit your rest pe­ri­ods to get more from your work­outs

FOL­LOW ENOUGH TRAIN­ING PLANS over the years and you’ll no­tice that some work­outs ap­pear far more of­ten than oth­ers. These clas­sics – 1200m re­peats at 5K pace with 400m re­cov­ery jogs, for ex­am­ple, or tempo runs of three or four miles – are struc­tured to pro­vide a cer­tain stim­u­lus to your body and mind. In the case of the reps, the goal is to boost your VO2 max (how much oxy­gen you can de­liver to mus­cles dur­ing fast run­ning). Con­tin­u­ous tempo runs im­prove your phys­i­cal and men­tal abil­ity to sus­tain a ‘com­fort­ably hard’ pace.

Tweak­ing these ses­sions usu­ally re­sults in a less ef­fec­tive work­out. For ex­am­ple, you might think shorter rest between reps bet­ter sim­u­lates how you’ll feel in a 5K. That’s ‘a faulty premise, be­cause too lit­tle re­cov­ery means you wind up us­ing the wrong en­ergy sys­tems and mus­cle-fi­bre types’, says run­ning coach and mas­ters ath­lete Pete Mag­ill. With in­ad­e­quate re­cov­ery between reps, the work­out will do less to im­prove your rac­ereadi­ness, and you will end up more fa­tigued.

There are, how­ever, some short­rest work­outs that are highly ef­fec­tive. Some of these al­low you to ac­cu­mu­late more work at the cor­rect in­ten­sity. Oth­ers can pro­vide the same stim­u­lus as a harder work­out with less wear and tear. Which kind of short-rest work­out is best for you de­pends on which dis­tance you’re tar­get­ing.

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