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Antonio Cabral
RE: 2 kinds of runners. Which are you?
RE: Is aerobic base training dead??? 10/30/2008 9:21AM - in reply to rickb

rickb wrote:

6. For myself, I got my best results from running 10-milers at an effort where I never got into heavy breathing (2-3x per week) - so you could say they were primarily aerobic with little lactate accumulation. I also would run my recovery days (maybe still 10 miles) but at as easy a pace as possible. The test in them being easy enough was being able to repeat the fast aerobic run the following day.

7. That being said, I also benefited (half-marathon PR 74:02) by running 10x400 (ave. 68 secs - fast for me!) with a very easy 3 minute jog recovery rather than 12x400 @ 72 sec with a short (100-200m) recovery.

8. So it's all intriguing.


RE: Is aerobic base training dead??? 10/30/2008 9:21AM - in reply to rickb


With all due respect, this is not so "intriguing" as you think. It is more likely just a misunderstanding about interval training.

You say that running 10 x 400m in 68 secs average with a very easy 3 min jog recovery is fast for you. But do you know that 12 x 400 in 72 secs average with a short (100-200m) jog recovery is slower pace but harder and tougher than the 10 x 400 in 68s (3 mins rec) workout.

I would imagine that with your 1:14:02 HM and 2:37 marathon PBs you never achieved 15:00 for 5k. Your 12 x 400 in 72s average with the short recovery would therefore be faster than your 5k PB pace (which would be wrong). That type of interval training design with short/active recovery should only be done at 10k pace or slower if you want it to correctly complement your other workout of 10 x 400 in 68s with 3 mins jog rec.

What you did was replace/confuse the target(s) of different workouts. If you want to progress the 10 x 400 in 68s with 3 mins jog to a higher quality plateau, you might shorten the recovery to 2 mins jog, at the same time slowing the 400s to 72 secs. If you want to shorten the recovery to 60 secs, you might even slow the 400s to 78-80 secs each.

If you want to run 10-15 x 400 (perhaps even 20 x 400 if in really good shape) to prepare for your next goal 10k or HM, and you want to run this session with short duration active interval recovery (eg: 100m in 40-45s) then the 400m pace you select should be very close to your 10k performance pace, and not at all similar to your 5k, or 3k, or 1500 pace, or any other pace, as you have tried to do here. If you are FT, you can benefit from this workout and even ST's can do it sometimes.

Of course this workout I have just described does not negate the value of running the original 10 x 400m in 68s with 3:00 mins easy jog. Simply note that both workouts have different training targets and are not either similar nor interchangeable.

Your 10 x 400 in 68s is repetition training and not interval training (and the difference is not merely semantics). With 3 mins jog, you have quite complete recovery. You have some anaerobic pace here because 68s per 400 is related to your 1500-3k paces.

If you completed the type of training of running 10-milers at an effort where you never got into heavy breathing (2-3 times per week), which we can agree means they were primarily aerobic with little lactate accumulation, then you got your aerobic condition primarily from this type of threshold workout. The training effect of such runs is similar to what you could achieve from short intervals at 10k pace with short active recovery.

That's why, in what is considered training balance, you got best results from your 10 x 400 in 68s (fast for you) with an easy 3 mins jog recovery, rather than with the short active recovery like you tried. Anyway, the 12 x 400 in 72s that you tried (with short 100-200 active recovery) was faster than you should have attempted, hence (as you note) you did not get major benefits from them.

In proper training progress and proper training periodisation, you should replace one of your weekly 10-mile threshold runs for 400s in approx 78-80s with short active recovery. What you should NOT do is replace the 10 x 400 in 68s and 3 mins recovery with 12 x 400 in 72s with 100-200 jog recovery. What you would be doing there is create a training unbalance, rather than a good training balance.

In my opinion, some people read what Robert Schul wrote about a workout that he did, but absorb and retain only one part and forget the rest. Schul wrote, "“....When I ran 20 x 400 meters with three in 60 seconds and each fourth one in 58s on a cinder track with 60 yards walk and 60 yards jog back to the start, I believed no one could match that workout. I always ran the 20th one all out and always did :54 something.”

Some might read this post by Schul or read elsewhere that Gordon Pirie did something similar to Schul, as his once in a lifetime very best workout ! They read such posts and tend to forget the aerobic condition such athletes had previously built up through a monster amount of interval training made up of the famous tons of 100s and 200s intervals that the Igloi method was built upon.

Some observers forget the high mileage that such runners did in the interval training method. They fail to realise the amount of mileage that went into these workouts because they were run differently than the traditional LSD training, or those continuous runs "at best aerobic pace".

The mistake of many is in not realising that the main target of such interval training (the type employing short active recovery) is to improve the aerobic condition, and the aerobic power. That was and still is the mistake of many people ... and among them are some who are considered good coaches.

The aerobic base training is not dead. It may contain some interval training workouts as well to improve the aerobic condition. In some types of runner it shall include interval training workouts really indeed.

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