Sprint intervals are not my friend. They are painful and can leave me dragging for hours after.
But I have made them part of my weekly runs because I know how good they are for my overall speed.
Last week after the 500m warmup, I ran a short ladder up and down: 100m, 200, 300, 300, 200, 100. After each set I walked long enough to get my breathing back to normal. The hardest one was the second 300m. After that it only gets shorter. The whole workout including cool down was 3k and took about 20 minutes.
The key is to run faster than your normal racing speed so that you are out of breath. And then to make sure you are recovered before you do it again. For me, I need to make sure it is fast enough that I can not have a conversation. As my fitness improves, my recovery becomes shorter.
When I am training for longer runs like a marathon my interval training will be variations of 600m to 800m intervals. Sometimes I will do as many as 8 800s a couple weeks before a marathon. Another one would be 200, 400, 600, 800, 800, 600, 400, 200. But of course you can’t just jump in with both feet and go that far without working up to it.
I have found that my average long distance speed increases if I am diligent with these interval workouts once per week.
But the hard part is convincing myself to get out there and do it. I have picked Wednesdays as my interval day.
It will hurt for a bit and you will be flopped on the couch afterwards, but it works.