HIRT Fartlek Considerations

Bro Mo

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
I currently have access to a greater variety of conditioning equipment such as assault bike, rower, skierg, and pool. I enjoy fartlek sessions and have recently been doing the speed play as very short very high intensity efforts. I've played around with 10-30 second sprints coupled with 3-7 minute easy recovery.

I know some of the research discusses 30sec work with 4::30 rest and 10sec work on the minute. However, combining the two with the shorter work effort and the longer rest seems very sustainable. I don't think there is anything wrong with long rests between the sprints but wanted to get some validation of that from those have experimented longer.

I feel like a staple would be 10sec work every 5min. I assume 4-10 repeats of that to be about the right volume but would like to know more about really extending that out due to the work:rest ratio being so "gentle".
 

ali

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
@Bro Mo... I don't know if this will help in formulating your own ideas and views on 'conditioning' but it provides, in my mind anyway, a sort of baseline.....speed and max velocity sprinting.
An absolute minimum rest period is 1 minute per 10 metres.
Anything less is incomplete recovery. So it is all about fatigue management, in that case.
Your 10 sec of work with 5 minute rest....is that 10 sec max, or near max for you?
I'd say that's a pretty good rest for general 'gentle' fatigue training, near max fast running with 'sufficient' rest to avoid excessive fatigue and form breakdown. Is rest total rest or are you dropping back to easy aerobic and fartlek?
Either way it seems very reasonable. For pure speed, maybe longer rests but guess that depends on how far you run in 10 sec and the intensity of it! No idea if that applies to a stationary bike though...
Be warned though, intensity really matters. Going from near max to max matters, watch your volume.
 

ali

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
Sorry, mindless use of thumb on phone pressing send too soon.....

You could argue too that rest, if running at 80% say is too long, if seeking to mirror many running sports. The issue of long rests to maintain technique for max speed and power has to be balanced against the need for quick recovery. Probably more an issue for sport than top end speed. Again that depends on your position I suppose too. Comes down to goals, again.
 

ClaudeR

Triple-Digit Post Count
What are your goals with the training?
I find that in general fartleks work much better for me (but my goal with them is as vague as could be, no real performance goal other than “sprint once in a while until I feel like I had enough”) if I take them by feel rather than set timed intervals (there’s dedicated track intervals for that).
I think that also dovetails with the original idea, get some speed work in while staying generally at low intensity

Of course it all depends on goals, but to my understanding fartleks are supposed to be very playful and unstructured
 

Bro Mo

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
Your 10 sec of work with 5 minute rest....is that 10 sec max, or near max for you?
The 10sec sprints are all out. However, I wouldn't do these for running because I don't like going 100% running to reduce risk of hamstring injury.
What are your goals with the training?
I don't quite know. I want to get some easy zone 2 aerobic training but also want to work on improving recovery from high intensity efforts. I sometimes find that unstructured can turn into too hard or too easy which is why I put some time elements to it.
 

ali

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
Sprinting: a potential vaccine for hamstring injury?

An interesting view from sprint researchers that the way to bombproof your hamstrings is to sprint at max velocity.
Sport coaches tend not to do max velocity because of hamstring injury risk as injuries occur in play at near max speeds, so to limit that risk avoid max sprinting. Fair enough, yet the flipside, build some max velocity in training to provide a vaccine and protection.
Interesting debate, chicken and egg.
 

North Coast Miller

More than 2500 posts
I don't quite know. I want to get some easy zone 2 aerobic training but also want to work on improving recovery from high intensity efforts. I sometimes find that unstructured can turn into too hard or too easy which is why I put some time elements to it.
I'm the same. For years I did unstructured intervals using bike, jumprope, running, and did pretty good with it, but felt I made by far the best gains using a stopwatch and HR monitor. I also spent less time doing it.

If recovery is more important than max sprint speed development, shorter rest periods are a must. Research and anecdotal evidence consistently show recovery should be incomplete to get max adaptation.

If speed is more important, recovery should be as close to 100% as you can get.
 

Bro Mo

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
If recovery is more important than max sprint speed development, shorter rest periods are a must. Research and anecdotal evidence consistently show recovery should be incomplete to get max adaptation.
In that case, we do incomplete recovery training other times during the week so that would make me want to use these for max power development and aerobic development.
 

Steve Freides

Forum Administrator
Staff member
Senior Certified Instructor
I haven't reviewed the literature on this, but I don't know that you accomplish much by taking such a long rest after a 10-second, all-out sprint. If you want to try it, consider testing yourself but reducing the rest by a minute each time you try the session again, and see what you think. My guess is that you're going to find more than 3 minutes or so doesn't get you anything except taking more of your time, and there's also a danger that's you'd cool down too much between bouts.

From my running days, I recall that hard efforts were often given a 4 or 5:1 rest to work ratio, but you're taking about something like a 60:1 ratio if I do the math correctly.

-S-
 

offwidth

More than 5000 posts
I haven't reviewed the literature on this, but I don't know that you accomplish much by taking such a long rest after a 10-second, all-out sprint. If you want to try it, consider testing yourself but reducing the rest by a minute each time you try the session again, and see what you think. My guess is that you're going to find more than 3 minutes or so doesn't get you anything except taking more of your time, and there's also a danger that's you'd cool down too much between bouts.

From my running days, I recall that hard efforts were often given a 4 or 5:1 rest to work ratio, but you're taking about something like a 60:1 ratio if I do the math correctly.

-S-
@Bro Mo

House | Johnston | Jornet
Recommend doing Anaerobic Capacity training (Z5) with a duration of each effort to be 10 - 30 seconds with a minimum of 2 - 3 minutes between work efforts.

Whereas they recommend doing Aerobic Capacity training (Z4) as follows:
Work periods: 30 seconds - 8 minutes.
Work/Rest Ratio: 1:1
Z4: 90-95% HRmax
 

Bro Mo

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
I'm not worried about taking more time. The sessions are on the long (60-90min) easy aerobic days. I don't want to ruin the aerobic benefits of steady state sessions. Perhaps I am by doing any bursts during steady state at all. I don't worry about cooling down because I'm still going at my zone 2 pace for the long "rest".

I don't want these to turn into Z4/5 days. On Z4/5 days the max power output doesn't get as high because the rest is less.

I was thinkng it might be similar to doing block start drills with long rest but instead of walking for the 5' recovery, keeping a zone 2 pace.
 

ali

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
So polarised training then?
I'd be interested to know of studies where distance runners only...and by only, I mean only....train at easy aerobic distance and do max speed sprinting and then compete v zone training, tempo training etc.
I know elite marathoners do short sprinting but they also do 400 and 800 and all the bits in-between.
You could speculate on health and sustainability of a polarised approach but looking for a competitive edge it would be wise to train at anticipated race speed I would presume but maybe that presumption is based on fear of the unknown and common practice and a risk/cost analysis and need to change or radicalise training.
Another aspect of incorporating sprinting into distance is that it will improve your gait, posture and mechanics of running....which in itself will improve running economy in distance events.
The focus on improving energy conservation via manipulating rest periods for efficient energy usage can only go so far. A dedicated focus on running technique, posture and mechanics will improve run economy.....and long rests can be part of that too. It's getting complicated now.....
 

Bro Mo

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
Another aspect of incorporating sprinting into distance is that it will improve your gait, posture and mechanics of running....which in itself will improve running economy in distance events.
The focus on improving energy conservation via manipulating rest periods for efficient energy usage can only go so far. A dedicated focus on running technique, posture and mechanics will improve run economy
When I run split intervals - (i.e, 600m run > 100m walk > 300m run > 400m walk, repeat) the pace of the 300 is significantly faster even trying to keep the same pace. The slow pace after these sprints is pretty slow because the sprint is all out.

For what I've been doing, the sprints require a pretty slow pace to get the heart rate back down somewhat quickly. I've been trying to notice how long into the zone 2 pace I get back to zone 2 heart rate. It's about 2 minutes to get back to zone 2. I imagine that if it starts to take longer, that means something.
 

Bro Mo

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
Here are a couple of these fartleks I've done in the last few weeks/months. Some things I've noticed.
  1. When maintaining a zone 2 pace during the recovery, it takes about 2min to recover from the sprint effort. If it starts taking longer, I assume there is a biological reason and it's time to stop.
  2. Going longer than 10sec on the sprints starts to change the session from an aerobic day to a VO2 day.
  3. The AirDyne has a steeper profile but is also difficult to keep a zone 2 pace during the recovery because it's so taxing during the sprint.
  4. Zone 2 recovery time between sprints should probably be 5min or longer to avoid changing the session from an aerobic one to something else.
  5. Over the course of about a month, the max watts of the 10sec sprint on the skierg sprint increased 10-15% (~540w up to ~610w)
  6. It requires about the same 10-15% increase in watts to maintain zone 2 HR. (~100w up to ~115w)
SkiErg: 10sec sprint at the top of every 5min. The profile of the 5th sprint changes this day and was my cue to stop.
HIRT_Fartlek.PNG
AirDyne: The profile is steeper on the airdyne due to being able to get up to higher RPM faster than the skierg. Not sure if the undulating recovery times provide any benefit other than reducing monotony. Recovery pace was very easy, almost too easy to meet the aerobic intent.
HIRT_Fartlek_Airdyne.PNG
SkiErg: Using undulating recovery times, I don't know if there is any additional benefit. Considering these are supposed to be zone 2 aerobic days, I think if using undulating recovery time, longer recovery times should be used.
HIRT_Fartlek_SkiErg_Stamina.PNG
 
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