Monday, April 9, 2012

Cruise Intervals

Cruise Intervals* are something I have been using in training the last few weeks. Mile repeats done in "cruise" mode are pretty new to me and I am really having a lot of fun with them!

Why I like this workout:

  • It improves my lactate threshold (rate or pace in which the legs become thrashed from lactate buildup)
  • It is a nice switch-up from the regular solid tempo/threshold run.(something new!)
  • It feels easier than a solid tempo/ threshold, but with the same benefits...so I feel like I can do more distance in one workout.

The workout:

My latest cruise interval workout was to do 6 mile repeats at threshold pace (goal pace 6:42), with one minute of easy running between each interval, then get in a little bit of cool down.

Here's how: 

  • First, it helps to have your GPS watch set to auto-lap (not necessary if you are at a track)
  • Warm up for about 10 minutes. 
  • I stretch, and then hit "lap" on my watch to start recording a mile at T pace. If my watch is programmed to auto lap it should beep.
  • After a mile, give myself a minute of running easy, then hit "lap" again for the next mile of T paced running. 
  • Repeat until I have performed all the intervals (Daniels recommends no more than 10% of your weekly mileage be T pace).

This allowed me to do almost 10k of T pace running in one day, and the one minute "breaks" give me enough reprieve to keep it going without dropping. And, looking at the heart rate graph, I kept pretty close to the heart rate goal, dipping just a bit in the aerobic recoveries (and a lot when I stopped to stretch!). 
 
By the numbers, this was not my BEST workout ever- a little inconsistent. I'd like to try this on a track if one were close!

I felt like I could do more or go faster, but doing that might defeat the purpose of the workout. I caught myself early in a few of the intervals going to fast and reined myself in. When running T pace, better to err on the side of too slow than too fast.

Another alternative

Another way to do cruise intervals is to run them by time, for example: 5 minute at T pace /1 minute easy pace, or 10 minutes T pace/2 minutes easy pace. I like these too- but either need to pay closer attention to my watch, or pre-program it.

Do you ever run Cruise Intervals for distance or time? 

This is my current favorite workout. What's yours?


*Just to add to the confusion: While Daniels refers to these as Cruise Intervals, McMillan refers to this pace as Tempo Intervals. McMillan also has cruise intervals- but they are at around 10K race pace- slightly faster, 10-15 secs faster/mile

48 comments:

  1. Cool! I've been incorporating these into my current Project Need for Speed. I've done different variations- 1 hard/ 1 easy all the way up to 4 minutes.

    It's also an easy way to get a good workout if you don't have access to a track. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep...nearest track about a half an hour away and usually that means I have the kiddos with me!
      Excited to see how your project unfolds over the next couple of months. :)

      Delete
    2. If I convince myself it is in my best interest to commit to newport, then the day after I am going to do a little surveying with spray paint on the most unused road near your house. Just warning you.

      Delete
    3. I would appreciate that! The old marks I had painted every 400M are starting to wear off. :)

      Delete
  2. I seriously love this kind of workout. Mile repeats make me feel like I can take on the world. I've done them on the treadmill and that works well because it helps me stay on pace.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I haven't tried it on the treadmill, but I bet it would work well there too!

      Delete
  3. Don't you love the barrage of terms noted for the same run? When I took this one training class, the guy said anything over base pace was "tempo". Okay. So fun that you found a new workout that suits you well; I always think if you continue to do the same thing repeatedly, you don't reap the same rewards as when you change the routine for each training cycle. Well done, girl! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mixing it up is good! Lets just say that I am experimenting a lot right now.

      Delete
  4. Nice one. Yes, it helps to remember the goal of each workout.
    My fav workout is a progression run from MP to 5K pace:) I benefit mostly from these workouts because they are hard and I get to practice becoming comfortable with discomfort for a longer period of time. Plus, if feels so good when I am done.
    Nice job Raina!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's one workout I have never really tried, AM, but it will be fun to do once I am done with this cycle!
      Discomfort? I have no idea what you are talking about. :)

      Delete
  5. Love doing workouts like this. I think it 100% helps me gain speed as my body learns to adapt to shorter recoveries. And the added bonus here is that you're done quicker :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have noticed that you do a lot of time based intervals :) Seems to work well for you, Britt! :)

      Delete
  6. Never tried this, but I might. I don't go to the track unless I'm running with a group, but I'll do longer intervals like that in the park by my house. As long as there aren't traffic stops, I'm ok.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A park would be a great place for these- or any road without a bunch of stops. Let me know if you try them!

      Delete
  7. I love the training talk and you have an excellent grasp, Raina! Cruise intervals are an excellent way to add variety, increase volume or intensity of lactate threshold training. This allows for stimulus of the full range of threshold pace and the development of a more complete runner.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Kyle! I am enjoying the new mix. :)

      Delete
  8. I don't think I've tried this either Raina but you sure did write a great explanation of it. Thanks for this. As I always say, You write a SOLID running blog. I think my favorite workout right now is doing some half A sit ups while stuffing my face with cheese and checking facebook. Hmmm, no really, I'm not so sure about this one...my brain is pretty dead right now. Nothing is coming to me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cheese? Are we talking gouda? Brie? Camembert? Gorgonzola? Count me in. I could do a few cheese intervals with you! :) 6 more days for you!!

      Delete
  9. you know - i just like running. yet, when my running is probably slower than anything you would call cruise - yeah well - maybe I should not be calling myself a runner. Then again, what else do I call it?

    I try different things every now and then. Mainly it involves hills. Interval training? Sometimes. I guess thats why I am so slow. :) Maybe I should do interval blogging instead given I write a post every other week now? Maybe I can become solid runner blogger than? :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are a runner. There is no question there! Intensity is relative to the individual and it doesn't have to be intense to be enjoyable. That said, hills are certainly one form of intense!

      Delete
  10. I haven't done "cruise" intervals. I am still trying to build a base, but I want to include intervals before summer. These seem easy to track using your system with GPS. Thanks for explaining the technique. I am so slow so I need to do something to pick up my pace.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. See my comment above on "slow"... GPS is my friend. I think these will help build your endurance Kepa!

      Delete
  11. Green with envy here. Well done and very speedy in my opinion. I have not done cruise intervals yet; I see that Jill made a comment. I bet that she will try to incorporate these into my training at some point. My favorite run is still hills.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hills are "speed work" in disguise!

      Delete
  12. I have not done this. I did 6x1 mike repeats with 3 min recovery but I guess that's diff. My fav workout is either Lon progression runs OR really short distance sprints like 200's:)
    Thanks for explaining the lap button thing. Didn't know how to use that:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha ! Your 200's ROCK Nicole! And yes- you have been doing TRUE mile intervals - with some pretty short recoveries for the intensity. Big lung builders.

      Delete
  13. My favorite workout is a 4 mile gravel loop at easy pace. Oh yes, my only workout is a 4 mile gravel loop at easy pace-ha!

    Great workout Raina! Super benefit here. I was just discussing some of the exact info in this post yesterday morning however you had not posted it yet. WEIRD!! Excellent job explaining. You are doing SUPER-I can't believe it's down to 3 weeks but I can confidently say by seeing your workouts lately that You're READY!!! Ah-my stomach just did a flip! Can't wait for your race!!

    When I'm healthy I love progression runs but I prefer SLOW to MP not MP to 5K like crazy woman above-ha!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha! Your 4 mile gravel loop at "slow" is like MP average for me...so you are working it! And SO SO happy you are burning rubber again :) :)

      Delete
  14. LOL, Raina your cruising speed is essentially the same as my track sprint/run workout - which leaves me dizzy and nauseated after 30 minutes. You're amazing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. < 3 weeks left for you too! Big Sur, watch out for Kathy!!

      Delete
  15. Awesome workout-- I'm so inspired by your speediness! I've never done cruise intervals, but I like the way you broke it down... it seems much less intimidating than hard tempo runs, but I love that it has the same benefits. I'm gonna try it next week!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are right, Laura. It really breaks up the long tempo runs, but still gives you the same amount of T work. Let me know how you like it! :)

      Delete
  16. I did McMillan's cruise intervals in both of my last marathon training cycles and really liked them. Maybe the word "cruise" psyched me out that they were somehow easier than other intervals. :^)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's all in how you word it :)

      Delete
  17. I love this. You have such interesting posts on T stuff and lactate stuff and heart rate stuff. Gotta get up to speed on this terminology! Not sure what I do on my speed days... T? Lactate? (ok, I finished lactating a couple of years ago...) Yikes! I may incorporate some of this heart rate training business after my marathon. You've got me curious. Where did you find all of your info. on it? Still would love to get to San Diego this summer and have all that scientific treadmill testing done...

    I am not sure that I have a favorite these days. Did 11 X 400 repeats today (also not on a track) and that was sort of fun even though my legs felt like they were going to fly off on the last one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. haha. Hard 400's will do that to a person! :)

      All of the info is in Daniels "Running Formula". I just took the workouts he has as time-based (5 min T + 1 min E , or 10 min T + 1 min E), and split the difference using the mile distance, which works out to 6:42 T + 1 min E.

      Delete
  18. I am trying to learn all this stuff and hope to one day incorporate this into my workouts, but right now, speed work is advanced as I get. I did just figure out with AT and AeT - so maybe I will try and do something with that now.. :-) You are doing amazing and I can't wait to cheer you on while you race Eugene.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There is a LOT to learn, but you are doing GREAT, Liz. ..Thanks for cheering for me! :)

      Delete
  19. Nice workout! Good for you not doing more or going faster when you felt like you could. That takes discipline but helps avoid injury (as you know and now I do too).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It can be a temptation to beat the clock at times...

      Delete
  20. Very cool. Right now I'm just running whatever I happen to run, but when I was using a training plan I really enjoyed the speedwork intervals. It was fun to see how fast I could go, and the recovery intervals kept me from keeping over. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Happy Birthday, Kate :) Enjoy !!

      Delete
  21. Sounds like a great work out. Our university track is a 15 minute run from my front door. I really need to getup there...

    Barbara
    My Running Shortz

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, I would LOVE to have a track that close!

      Delete
  22. This workout sounds like a good way to hold my tempo paces for longer. I'm excited to try it out. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a great tool for that, Rena. Let me know how it goes!

      Delete
  23. Hi Raina,

    First, got caught up on your blog. I've been out of the blog loop for awhile and then my google acct. got hacked so its been hard to jump back in. Excited to see what Eugene holds for you. Admire so much about you, Raina. I will look for the super speedy one in Eugene. I will be there. In terms of the cruise intervals, I will have to try this work out out...definitely seems up my ally. I've only done continuous tempo runs of about 5-6 miles. Would be interested to see how this work out compares for me.
    Have a great (almost) weekend!!

    ReplyDelete
  24. If I HAVE to do workouts, I like doing broken-up tempos like this better than solid ones, for sure! But my favorite "workout" is trail running :-)

    ReplyDelete


Please comment! I love hearing from you!!! ♥