How Easier Intervals Can Make You Faster And Stronger

+ Marathon great Eliud Kipchoge attacked on social media

How Easier Intervals Can Make You Faster And Stronger 1

Here’s the free but abridged version of the Run Long, Run Healthy newsletter. See the links below to subscribe to the full-text edition with more articles and deeper, more specific running advice. – Amby

Intervals Made Easy = You Get Faster

How Easier Intervals Can Make You Faster And Stronger 2

Here’s a Reddit post for a training method that the main proponent calls the “Easy Interval Method” EIM. He’s trying to sell a program, so buyer beware.

But reading what’s here is free and interesting, and you can put the pieces together yourself.

Klaus Lok believes that too many midpack runners spend too much time running slow and easy, which of course is a great way to train yourself to run slow. But what if you want to get faster?

Since Lok has won 24 Dutch national championships from 1500 meters (3:38) to 10,000 meters (28:24), he’s got plenty of credibility. He also says that his coach developed many EIM principles from interval wizard Mihaly Igloi.

In this article, Lok proposes an alternative to slow, easy training. He says his approach is simpler, builds fitness faster, takes less time, and may even reduce injuries.

The secret? Do many weekly speed workouts, but make the speed “slow speed” in small doses with long recoveries. Hence, the easy interval method.

This approach to interval training bears little resemblance to the many hard repetitions and ever-shorter recoveries found in traditional interval programs.

Lok also believes in several modest weekly tempo runs to build lactate clearance. Overall, I think it’s a refreshing, wholesome approach. I’ve been trying it myself recently to break out of a winter of slow, marathon-training runs. More at Reddit Running.

RELATED ARTICLE: Your Complete Guide To Interval Running + 6 Workouts For Runners

They’ve Run 100+ Marathons. What’s Their Physical & Mental Health?

How Easier Intervals Can Make You Faster And Stronger 3

What can be said about those relatively few runners who have completed more than 100 marathons? Quite a bit, it turns out, if you interview 830 of them (from 40 countries on six continents), as this paper did.

First, they have an average age of 51, are 60% male, and run about 35 miles/week. That’s not much, given that 12% report running a marathon every week, and 80% say they do one a month.

They get most of their mileage in races.

Otherwise, the stat that jumps off the page is the 94% who responded that “multi-marathoning was positive for their mental health.” That’s a self-report, of course.

The multi-marathoners also said their hobby provided a way to stay fit and healthy (18.32%), a sense of accomplishment (16.26%), a “way of life” (13.62%), enhanced social engagement (11.53%), travel opportunities (8.82%), and the achievement of reaching certain milestones (8.3%).

Regarding shoe use, 45% preferred cushioned shoes, 27% stability shoes, and 20% minimalist shoes. Also, 93% used GPS watches, and 44% ran with headphones in training.

You might imagine these folks had many injuries, but that wasn’t the case. “No specific multi-marathoning injury types or specific overuse injuries were noted.” In fact, the subjects reported little more than blisters and chafing issues. At the same time, 67% took “medications that relieve pain around events.”

Conclusion: “The active participation of older individuals, including those in their sixties, seventies, and even eighties, challenges stereotypes associated with age. It suggests that multi-marathoning offers opportunities for lifelong engagement in physical activity and underscores the importance of promoting inclusive practices within the sport to cater to diverse age groups.”

Worth repeating: 94 percent felt frequent marathon running was good for their mental health. More at PLoSONE with free full text.

RELATED ARTICLE: Running And Mental Health: The Remarkable Benefits Of Running

Marathon Great Eliud Kipchoge Attacked On Social Media

How Easier Intervals Can Make You Faster And Stronger 4

The last time I saw Eliud Kipchoge up close, at the 2022 NYC Marathon (where he was a guest, not a competitor), he was surrounded by two burly security guards. At the time, I thought this was a bit excessive. Now, I’m not so sure.

People of his stature, even if just runners vs politicians or rock stars, are lightning rods for the worst sorts of attention. Now, in a horrifying interview with BBC Sport Africa, Kipchoge has disclosed that he received online threats last February after the car accident that claimed Kelvin Kiptum’s life.

In October, Kiptum had broken Kipchoge’s world marathon record. The online trolls accused Kipchoge of purposefully killing his young countryman and warned that reprisals were imminent. “I received a lot of bad things,” he said. “That they will burn the (training) camp, they will burn my investments in town, they will burn my house, they will burn my family.”

He worried especially about his children, biking to and from school and around town. “We had to stop them. We started to drop them off and pick them up in the evening.”

The two-time Olympic Marathon champ’s mental stress was almost overwhelming. When he traveled to the Tokyo Marathon in early March, he didn’t sleep for three nights and finished an unusual and disappointing 10th.

Kipchoge is widely known as a quiet, serious, respectful, and even philosophical human being. He likes to read self-help books and apply the lessons he has learned.

He has traveled widely, been honored and feted, and won millions in prize money and appearance money. Yet when it comes time to prepare for his next race, he returns to a basic training camp with his teammates and performs shared kitchen and bathroom chores with them.

Now, he will try to recoup and recharge in time for the Paris Olympic Marathon on August 10th. No one has ever won 3 Olympic Marathon gold medals.

“It’s about getting up and going straight again to your goal,” he said. “I want to go into history books, to be the first human being to win back-to-back-to-back.”

That won’t be easy, especially now. But the whole world will follow his quest and no doubt root for him. More at BBC Sport Africa.

RELATED ARTICLE: Eliud Kipchoge: 15 Run Training Takeaways From The Best Of The Best

SHORT STUFF You Don’t Want To Miss

Here’s what else you would have received this week if you were a subscriber to the complete, full-text edition of “Run Long, Run Healthy.” Why not give it a try? SUBSCRIBE HERE. 

  • How long does a $500 running shoe last?
  • 8 ways to run smoother and faster
  • Breakthrough: A proven “Top Down” injury prevention method
  • Do runners need extra protein?
  • How body composition affects your running
  • A new (FREE!) sweat rate calculator
  • Why doctors need to exercise more
  • A fascinating quote on Solitude and Movement from Virginia Woolf

DON’T FORGET: I spend HOURS searching the internet for the best, most authoritative new running articles so you can review them in MINUTES.

That’s all for now. Thanks for reading. See you again next week. Amby

Photo of author
Amby Burfoot stands as a titan in the running world. Crowned the Boston Marathon champion in 1968, he became the first collegian to win this prestigious event and the first American to claim the title since John Kelley in 1957. As well as a stellar racing career, Amby channeled his passion for running into journalism. He joined Runner’s World magazine in 1978, rising to the position of Editor-in-Chief and then serving as its Editor-at-Large. As well as being the author of several books on running, he regularly contributes articles to the major publications, and curates his weekly Run Long, Run Healthy Newsletter.

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