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S&C UnderGround >> Results from Taku's Intervals - Week 4


11/1/12 1:32 PM
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Adventure Runner
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I wanted to share some results, but first some background. I saw these posted here a little bit ago, and I switched up my routine a little bit lately and decided to give them a whirl. I’d say I’m geared more towards endurance than most here. Stuff that lasts 12 hours or more is right in my wheel house. Because of that, I modified the cool down portion and added goal HR parameters. I do the workout as laid out by Taku.

5 minute ramp-up (HR in 125-155 range)
5 minute push
5 minute rest (HR again in 125-155 range)
Taku’s intervals
5 minute cool down (HR again in 125-155 range)
Continued moderate intensity exercise until at least 45 minutes total

I’ve been doing this on a stationary bike on Mondays and street running on Thursdays. On top of this, I strength train Monday/Wednesday/Friday, have a step mill session with a heavy weighted pack that lasts at least 60 minutes on Tuesdays, and then have a long hike w/a heavy weighted pack or trail run on Saturdays that lasts at least 2 hours. At least once/month my Saturday session is at least 6 hours. I’ve worked interval work into my routine before, but nothing as regimented as this.

So far I’ve had very good results. I’m only on my second week of Phase 1b (60 second work:rest x5), but I see my capacity increasing each week. What I’ve seen is that while my top speed in the interval sessions stays constant throughout, my recovery gets much better. I chalk some of this up to the second week, I’m naturally implementing pacing strategies learned by trial and error in week one. This is backed up by looking at my splits over that time. Also I think fatigue from strength training the previous day or even current day can play a role. However, my heart rate returns to the 125-155 range increasingly fast week over week allowing me to cover more ground in each of the 5 minute “slow” blocks. The first week saw my HR not return to under 155 bpm until around minute 4 of the recovery. Today it took under 60 seconds.

In the 45 minute block, I covered about 5.25 miles while street running on some moderately hilly terrain. While this only works out to around 8:40 miles, that is extraordinarily fast considering that 1/3rd of that running is with a goal HR of under 155 BPM. I have a very high threshold when it comes to heart rate. I can sustain a 175-180 HR for hours. The last 5k I ran, I had an average HR of 190+. Under 155 bpm generally means I am going REALLY slow. My average HR for today was 163 BPM which is pretty low seeing that 5 minute push and 10 minutes of intervals. Only a couple months ago, a 5 mile run with a 163 bpm average HR would probably mean is took well over 50 minutes. In fact, I went back to look for runs of similar distance and terrain. I found 2 runs back in late July (I was competing and mountain climbing most of August through September) that were part of my prep for a mountain, obstacle course marathon I ran in September. One was slightly farther 5.28 miles of equal duration, but my HR was 174 bpm. The other was an “easy day” where I averaged a 9:40 mile and my HR was still slightly higher than today (167 bpm). It seems like my HR during exercising is dropping steadily which is allowing me to cover more distance while exerting myself seemingly less.

I know this was a FRAT, but I wanted to share. In short, it dun werks. Try it.
11/1/12 2:45 PM
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Taku
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Edited: 11/02/12 12:20 AM
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Hey A.R.

Cool man. Thanks for giving my stuff a try. And thanks for sharing your experience thus far. It sounds like you have a lot of training eperience and are used to tracking data (which helps a lot).

Keep us posted as you progress.

TAKU

11/1/12 8:58 PM
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NeoSpartan
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fuck ya you deserve vote ups for this review
11/2/12 7:51 AM
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Adventure Runner
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Thanks for putting them out there for public consumption, Taku. I'm a bit obsessive about tracking data. I have plenty of tables and graphs tracking progress over time in a number of things. I wasn't always like that, but it helps me identify training issues.

Glad you like it, Neo!
11/2/12 9:02 AM
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vermonter
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It's been a while since i read through the interval program. Is continuing for a 45 minute total a part of the normal program? How long is this moderate portion normally? What's your HR during this time?

My apologies if you answered this in your post already. I did read it but had to skim.
11/2/12 11:31 AM
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Adventure Runner
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You can find them here, Vermonter: http://www.trainforstrength.com/Endurance1.shtml

The protocol is:

5 minute warm up (3-4 RPE)
5 minute steady pace (5-6 RPE)
5 minute reduce intensity (3-4 RPE)
Taku's Intervals
5 minute cool down (3-4 RPE)

Depending on the stage, Taku's prescribed program can last 24 minutes - 32 minutes.

I modified the 5 minute blocks to look to my HR instead of my own perception of exertion.

I add on a moderate block at the end of Taku's prescribed routine to reach a total of at least 45 minutes simply because I need long cardio sessions. My HR ranges from 150-175 with most of the time spent in the mid 160's. I start slow (150), spend the bulk of the time at an easy pace (160's), and push the final 1/4 - 1/2 mile (175).
11/2/12 12:46 PM
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vermonter
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Gotcha. Thanks for the description.
11/2/12 2:43 PM
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inf0
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I'm on phase 2 right now.. love taku's

 

11/3/12 2:56 PM
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cdueck
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ttt

11/3/12 7:59 PM
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big_slacker
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AR, what's your normal weekly volume for you in hours? I assume you do a lot of zone 2 work for ultra and adventure race stuff? How much of that was the Taku intervals?

I'm starting an oly tri program on monday, it's aerobic heavy and that's what I need now to build a base but I'd love to have some interval stuff to throw in near the end. I can do 10-12 min mile runs (15mph av bike) all day on flats but my HR spikes up on hills way above where I should be training for aerobic stuff. I wonder if intervals would help with that?
11/4/12 5:22 PM
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Adventure Runner
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hey big slacker,

My normal weekly volume in terms of "cardio/endurance" hours is about 5 hours minimum. Depending on my Saturday, this can jump significantly to 11-15 hours. The overwhelming majority is in zone 1 and 2. I think history has shown time and time again that a steady diet of zone 1 and 2 work with some (little) well-timed, well-placed zone 3-4 high intensity/interval work produces the best results. It's quite simple. If high intensity work could produce the results that low intensity stuff does (and in far less time to boot), then the world class competitors would do it. Many have tried most notably Eastern Bloc athletes in the 60's and 70's. Mark Twight, Gym Jones owner and former CrossFit trainer, wrote a good article on this called "There's No Such Thing as a Free Lunch", but I think it's part of his pay site now.

If you're already well conditioned and are getting beaten down by the hills, then perhaps 3 weeks of high intensity hill training would benefit you. After 3 weeks, I'd again drop to 80-90% of your work in zone 1 and 2. Either do this by going very slowly on a long climb and being able to increase pace over time. If that even proves to be too intense, you could try climbing slowly until you're out of your target zone, turning around and descending until you're well into your target zone, and then resuming your climb. You should be able to climb for longer and longer without needing to turn around, and when you do turn around, your recovery will be quicker. When you can climb for prolonged time within your target zone, start pushing the pace. Really just experiment with stuff because we are all different and can respond to stimuli in radically varying ways. Be sure to give something a thorough try before discarding it. Also be sure to keep accurate metrics to make sure what you're doing is actually working.

Good luck! Hills can be a huge a bitch, but they are really my strength now. I suck on flat ground comparatively.
11/5/12 12:45 PM
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big_slacker
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Edited: 11/05/12 12:45 PM
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I've read that article, had forgotten about it till now. Thanks for the tips, it's not so much that I don't get up the hills. I rode a singlespeed mountain bike in tahoe for years. I just see my HR go way out of my training zone and I know that if I kill myself getting up to the top I'm not gonna be strong as I move into IM and ultra distance stuff which is my eventual goal.

I'd never thought of climbing and turning around on the same hill, haha! Good stuff, I'll try some of that. Good to hear about making your weakness a strength. I'm all about that, I've done it in my professional career and know it's key. I just want to do it right, I know that just trying to plow ahead can kill long term results.
11/6/12 3:54 PM
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Adventure Runner
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I hear ya. It sounds like you're on the right track. No joke, I'd climb up and down the same damn hill for 2 hours straight every saturday for a couple months. Monotonous and boring, but it helped. ;) Good luck with the tri's. That's something I've thought about for a while too.
11/8/12 10:59 AM
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Adventure Runner
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Week 5 -

Interesting week. I decided to repeat week 4 (60:60 work:rest) because I needed to push this current microcyle out another week. The bike was a push. The lifecycles at the gym were taken, so I did it on a spin bike that doesn't measure mileage or resistance. It felt good, but I take perceived exertion with a grain of salt since so many other factors play into that. The run was interesting though. I say it's interesting because looking at the raw numbers, you see a minor improvement, but it'd be a seeming plateau.

I went about 0.8 miles further in about 5 seconds less time. Still an improvement. This was seemingly due to my faster pace on the "rest" portions of the intervals with a significant difference in my speed in the 5:00 cool down block after the intervals. Last week, I averaged 10:05 mile to get my HR back under 155 BPM and keep it there. This week, I averaged I 9:27 mile for the same recovery block.

The kicker is that this week there was 1/8"-1/4" of icy slush on the ground for a lot of the course, it was very windy, there was heavy freezing rain, and it was only 32 degrees out. Nevermind the crappy weather, the slush alone made the sprints a lot more difficult and the uphill portions a little treacherous. I'm surprised by the results. I'd imagine it'd be a much more marked improvement otherwise. That said, the weather and rain may have helped cool me down. However on the opposite site, it did a good job of tightening up muscles and joints.

Interesting results!

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