I'm curious how to best execute the two parts of an interval training session, as mentioned on Wikipedia:
Interval training can be described as short periods of work followed by rest.
- I assume a constant pace is important in each short period of work, as is an exact distance, but how do you get to that pace as soon as possible, and how do you slow down quickly? What techniques are best?
I myself do the speeding up with a hop and a firm swing of my arms for the first step, followed by another firm swing with the arms in the next step, after which I'm on my target pace, more or less. I have no technique for quickly slowing down, though.
- What do you need to do to maintain the target pace?
I find looking on my watch very distracting, but how else would one know if one's pace is constant? On the track, I know how many seconds I need per 100 m, and look on my watch when I pass the next 100 m mark, and calculate in my head when I should pass the next 100 m. Doing this math while a group of people is behind me, depending on me for running at a constant pace is somewhat stressful, especially in the first 100 m of a 800 m workout between intervals.
- In the recovery part, is walking—as I see many of my peers do in intensive interval training—even an option, or should one continue running, be it at a slower pace? And if walking is a viable option, what would be the rationale behind that option?