During a race I hit a hill or over pace mayself and I can feel the suck as the energy drains from my arms and legs. I've used a heart monitor in the past to stay below the threshold, which works but I'd like to bump up the threshold. In training I do speed work and as I see it I have a choice that I'd like some expert comment on. Today I was doing 8 miles with a few 1/2 mile V02 max "sprints" at a 5:49 pace. All was going well. My recovery pace was 7:30 on the third round VO2 max "sprint" at 3/10th of a mile the suck set in. I could feel it in my forearms and legs. Here is the choice, pull back at that point or push on and complete the 1/2. I know from experience that the recovery after the suck is almost non-existent, I will devolve into a base pace and finsh the race on that. But if breaking the bank in training is going to increase my threshold, I'm up for it. If its just going to run me down then I will back off and focus on trying to shorten my recovery time between VO2 max "sprints" like the original method of intervals. What say you?
First I have a couple comments.
- Interval repeats aren't "sprints". They're a fast pace based on your race pace, usually 5K.
- When you hit a repeat that gets difficult, that means it should be the last one. Finishing it is OK but you shouldn't try for more.
- If you hit a point in a race where you completely lose the ability to continue at your pace, and you're not within spitting distance of the finish, then you were going too fast to begin with.
That said, the generally accepted way to increase that pace is through tempo runs (aka lactate threshold runs). Warm up for a mile, run at tempo pace for 20 - 30 minutes (can be longer, depends on what you're training for), go back to warm up pace for a mile. Tempo pace is considered the maximum pace you can hold for an hour, usually 10-mile or half-marathon race pace.