Intervals – Year 3, Week 4

Definitely cooler this week, the sunny spells helped it to feel nice, whilst still being cool enough that over-heating wasn’t an issue. Having said that, breathing has not been easy for a couple of the attendees. It may be late season allergies, or perhaps you are just a little run down. If you don’t feel right it is okay to ease off. You don’t get fitter by pushing so hard that you get ill. Some sessions will be focussed on breathing, which may also help, depending on the underlying cause is.

This week seemed simple enough on paper. 400m repeats, with approx 60 seconds rest. On Tuesday we rested longer after each of the first 2 intervals. Thursday was more time efficient with 2 sets of 4 reps, and a longer rest in the middle. The additional rests are there for me to reinforce the coaching point for the day. The time spent repeating the message helps remind you to focus. You can see a good proportion of runners on todays (Thursday) session were tighter on their times in the second half.

The focus this week has been symmetry. Becoming more aware of your body, and how it feels as you run. Does each foot-strike sound the same? Do they feel even? Does the contact time with the floor vary? Do you feel one-sided or off balance? Do you feel your shoulders move evenly? Is you head straight, or dropping to one side? Running more evenly can reduce the risk of injury, and prevent problems from getting out of hand. The body awareness is a key element of my coaching. Intervals isn’t about working at maximum effort, crawling back to your car at the end. It is about being consistent in your effort, and becoming comfortable with feeling uncomfortable. And body awareness allows you to look at your body impassionately. Breathing hard, legs getting tired, hips aching. These sensations are a distraction! Becoming consciously aware of the effort means you can say ‘ this is tiring, how interesting, I will focus on my heel flick now, thank you.’ Yes, the hard work is still there, but it doesn’t take over, pushing you to DEFCON 2 when 4 is more appropriate. You feel in greater control, you stay relaxed, your posture is better, leg movements are stronger, you can continue to work hard. Not only are you less likely to trip, fall, or pull a muscle, but you will also get fitter with less effort. You have nothing to lose!

Strava link to the segment is here, and my runs are here and here


Times looking nice and tight. You can ignore the first line, that was the warm-up, and isn’t taken into account in the average and deviation. Stacy, big improvement on last week; it may be slower (only just) than 2 weeks ago, but rest has been reduced. Sheila, look how compact your times were, amazing job. Bob, Marco and Mandy, all of you started too quickly, which is why you slowed down later. Lisa and Katherine, you did really well. The tell tale drop in time at the end shows you have the potential to go quicker. This will come as you grow in confidence. Mark, your times look great! definitely getting faster. Again, maybe a little too quick at the start hence slowing at the end


Sheila, not quite as tight as Tuesday, but the faster ones are faster than previous. Maybe a bit too easy on the first half? you did well to keep pushing at the end. Keep it up. Hilary, you really nailed the times today, fantastic work. Juliet, similar to Sheila in that you can go faster. Lovely and close on the times, but you will see your second set was much faster. This shows you are capable of going quicker still, keep going. Nicky, Chris, Ellen, Glen & David I am so pleased with your times. Yes, they started off varying but your second set of 4 were all really tight on times, well done! Mandy, much better today, you kept the ace in check far more. Keep up with the practice, relax on your first effort, and we will get your times much more consistent. Mel, considering how you were feeling, look how close your times were. You stayed relaxed, and look what happens 🙂

6 thoughts on “Intervals – Year 3, Week 4”

  1. Thanks for this Gareth, I love reading your analysis and commentary after your sessions. Looking at the times I think Ellen’s second split was probably 1:31 rather than 31 seconds which would give her a more consistent score overall… but thanks again, great session!

      1. I really enjoyed the session and reading your analysis and thoughts, thanks Gareth. Hoping I can join you again and see what improvements I can make over time.

  2. Pingback: Redway Runners Intervals - Year 3, Week 5 - Gareth Snelson

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