You have heard Mark, Sally, Flor, and me [Barry] call out splits during your workout. Do you know why we and coaches everywhere do this, and most importantly what this data means?
We all know that track workouts are done to be a better runner or walker. At SBRC we do specific types of workouts at track:
Which are done as either a cruise interval lasting from 8 to 10 minutes with a short break or a full tempo run lasting 20 minutes. The purpose here is to “improve your ability to press on mentally at a comfortable pace” while stressing your body to learn to “improve its ability to clear blood lactate”. These should be done above 80% of VO2 max.
Whose purpose is “maximize aerobic power” and is done at VO2 max. These are multiple runs of 400 to 800 meters in length and no faster than VO2 max speed such that the during the last run the athlete is not too fatigued to reach VO2 max speed.
Which is to “improve anaerobic power, speed, and economy”. 80/20 Running followers know this as Zone 5 while other know it as above AT.
So now we know the why we do things, but what is 80% VO2 max, Zone 5, AT???? That figure isn’t shown on my Garmin 620 and probably your instrument doesn’t show that value either.
What we can use are charts and now electronic calculators such as the V dot 02 calculator developed by Dr, Jack Daniels (whose terms I quoted above). Using my 5k time, of 32:51, I can find that a threshold run will give me benefit at a 10:59 pace per mile.
An interval run is a 10:09 pace which is equivalent to a 2:31 400m. Do you see it now? As I wrote above, I want to maintain a pace where I work hard my first 400m but also I reach VO2 max during my last 400m.
I now know that a 2:31 pace for 400m is my goal. And as long as Coach yells out a time close to this, I know I am on track (pun intended) to accomplish my goal for the workout.
So to answer my original question, calling out splits allows us to gauge if we are putting the correct amount of stress (as shown by pace) on our bodies to accomplish our goal for the evening which adds to our overall goal of being the best endurance athlete we can be.