Does anybody actually like intervals?

I did some intervals this morning in order to gauge my maximum heart rate. I came to the conclusion that I hate them!

Is it at all possible to learn to like them?


  • I like them as a variation on plodding for hours on end. But couldn't do them all the time.
  • Well, if I was going them fast enough to gauge my MHR, I wouldn't like them either!

    If it's 200m reps @ 5k pace, they give you a nice feeling of having pushed yourself, and I like the variety of different types of training too (even like the hill reps now, though I wouldn't have believed that 2 years ago).

  • 5k pace - erm that's the same as every other pace for me!
  • Do you do them through the winter JB? I gave up on them in the autumn, and convinced myself that I didn't need them for base training.

    I must have sounded like I was going to die this morning.
  • I only mange to keep my pace for the first 2-3 (3 minute) reps, after that it all blurs into the same plodding pace.
  • Don't get me started on hill reps, or in my case hill rep.
  • i love intervals and hill reps.........
    Live each day as if it was your last  give it all you have to reap the rewards.
  • Never been able to get my head round these, everyone recommends them to help go quicker but I always end up going full pelt and having to WALK!! I look forward to the advice that comes for you and may be I can go quicker to!  
  • I only ever do them on treadmill as there's nowhere near me with a straight long enough and flat enough to make it worthwhile.
  • intervals are your friend. If they are too much though - lower the speed or reduce the duration. You want to be able to do a few of them - not just one or two.
  • really enjoy them

    I hate tempo work :¬0
  • I love any thing with intervals, hills a tempo in the middle, you name it. I've been converted from constant pace plodding to wanting to run fast all the time.

    Anyone hate long slow runs?- boringimage

  • Absolutely love them.

    Getting the pace absolutely right and just cruising round absolutely red-lining the whole way is such a delicate art but when you get it right and do a great session it feels brilliant. Just to keep on going round the track hitting your times exactly is a really good feeling.

     That's doing my VO2 max sessions, normally something like 5 x 1500 at 5k pace with 1/3-1/2 of the time of the rep as recovery. Very hard to do but great feeling when you finish. If I'm doing it with 1/2 to equal rest then I generally enjoy the whole session!

     Doing rep work is equally fun which is normally something like 10 x 400 but all at 1500 pace with equal recovery is also great and a lot of fun and if you're doing a "sprint" session, say 10 x 100 jogging bends, sprinting straights the speed is superb.

     Don't get me wrong- it hurts like anything- but the feeling of just moving at speed sometimes completely effortlessly is superb.

     Races you get tired and know you constantly need to be going faster to keep the effort up. Doing reps I can run for 8 or 10k all at a relaxed effort at my 5k pace which is pretty fun and enjoyable.

  • i really enjoy them.  i quite like tempo runs too.  and long runs.  and races.

    i think i just like running.

  • Get to bed Bryn
  • Love intervals, long slow runs v boring - but I was a sprinter in my youth and find swim sprints, cycle sprints or running sprints easy.  One thing is certain, you won't get faster by plodding further and further.
  • Pammie*Pammie* ✭✭✭

    Thats absolutely true

    One of my favourite quotes is
    "If You always do what you always did, you always get what you always got"

    That is true if you do the same thing all the time you will never improve thats why you have to change things round  every so often.
    I love tempo runs, i love Fartlek. Intervals at times love 200s they are fun

    Did some 200s last year after a few 800s but with a reducing recovery last one was 10 second recovery now that was fun

  • Anyone is going to hate intervals if they go off so fast they're struggling just to stay running after a couple of minutes!  You need to set off at a speed you can sustain for all the intervals.  That will probably make the first couple of minutes or even reps feel quite easy, but that is the way to do it.

    Hi, Mike, all well with you?

  • I really like the satisfaction on successfully completing a set of intervals in the planned times off the planned recoveries. I even enjoy the last 10 seconds of the recoveries.

    During the actual intervals however, I swear and curse and feel like the absolute pits. I also get anxious before a speed session - probably because I worry I won't be able to complete the session.

    The satisfaction definitely outweighs the few seconds of pain (and it really is pain!) during the sessions.

  • JFB, I can maintain the speed AND sustain it for all the intervals. It doesn't stop each rep being a tunnel of pain though...!!
  • Not too bad if I don't try to do too many too fast!

    Like Man of Chocolate I(great name!)  did two short ones on the treadmill to try to find my MHR.  It turned out to be 19 bpms higher than the one done on the formula according to age image.  Definitely didn't like those intervals! image.

  • Rach, you obviously know what you're doing with intervals and you sound like you're getting the max out of them.  I agree that if you are doing them properly, they are fun - after all, runners like running fast, and we get let off the leash a bit for speed sessions - but tough.

    Are you a violinist, by the way?  (Off topic, I know, but just interested in your picture).

  • I have to agree that interval sessions are superb.  Just build up the length and number of reps and you'll be fine.

    Don't run reps flat out - if you  venture into anaerobic exercise, where you can't run for more than 20 seconds, you're defeating the purpose.

  • May I ask a question here

    Im not a fast runner, infact I managed to do my quickest outdoor 3.2 mile run this evening in 35 minutes and 41 seconds which includes 2 hills. (equates to 11.02 min miles). I coming from 14.30 minute miling so i am seeing the progress gradually so im doing something right!!

     On the treadmill i do my regular 20-30 minute run at about 9.1 to 9.3 kph.  I do my intervals at about 11.5-12kph for one minute then drop back to a fast walk at about 6kph or a slow jog at 7-8kph.  My questions are:-

    In one session, how many of these intervals should I be doing, I normally do about 4, is this enough to be consdiered a good interval session. Or should i be doing 4 sets, jog a bit, then do another 4 sets etc etc?

    Also, as stated I sometimes walk to recover, should I not be walking and always at least jogging?

    Im grateful for any input here and many thanks in advance


  • Lisa - will let someone more knowledgeable give you a proper answer on that, only thing I will say is that walking to recover is definitely fine in my book, personally I just drop back to a slow jog but my super-speedy friend does all his speedwork on a track and actually stops completely between reps and swears this is the best method (don't like the sound of it too much though, sounds a bit jarring..)

    I think if you can, idea is to do a few reps to start with (I did my first speed session in months and months today, and did 5 x 800m) and then try and build them up, one more each time maybe. But there are loads of different ways you can do it - increase the length of the rep, reduce the recovery time, add more reps etc. Not really sure of the 'best' as I'm no expert on speedwork.  

    Congrats on your run tonight too by the way Lisa! Speed is all relative to yourself and sounds like you have improved a huge amount, must feel good! 

    Anyway my MAIN point - [sorry everyone, I do tend to waffle!] is -  

    I used to go to a gym and do my speed sessions on the treadmill as it was easy to control speed but since I've switched to doing them outside this winter with the rest of my runs I've got a lot more satisfaction out of them. I generally hate running fast but when they are short bursts, but just long enough to get a nice pace going, they feel fantastic! Definitely definitely feel a lot more rewarding doing them outside so would recommend getting off that treadmill if you can!  Although looking at your watch if you are doing them by time is annoying, luckily I got a Garmin for xmas so don't have to worry about that anymore image

  • Rach E wrote (see)
    JFB, I can maintain the speed AND sustain it for all the intervals. It doesn't stop each rep being a tunnel of pain though...!!
    "tunnel of pain" - I like that phrase Rach, I know the feeling well...
  • Lisa

    I would drop the speed a bit, perhaps to about 10.5-11 kph, and try and do 4-6 reps lasting a few minutes each.  Broadly, I would say you're better off doing more/longer reps at a slightly slower speed.

  • Thanks for your input here Tutu and JFB, its very much appreciated. 

    I would like to enter a few races this year (never entered one before) so im keen to get a bit faster, my current predicted 5K time is 34mins 35secs, id like to get to maybe 33mins for my first 5k so its gonna take a bit more work, however the 2 hills i encounter on my regular run slows me down somewhat but I dont have a completely flat course to do a better 5k time trial.

    Many thanks once again both.


  • I tried them for the first time today and found they made a nice change from plodding along for miles and miles.

    I guess I wasn't trying hard enough then? image

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