How hard should intervals be?

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    I am currently on the level 1 Marathon plan.
    Today I did a 6x1min interval session, and I ran almost as fast as I was able to sustain for the full minute. I later noticed the plan said I should actually run at a pace I could sustain for 15 minutes, which would have made the workout quite a bit easier.

    My question is: is there any downside to going all-out on the intervals, besides increased recovery time? Or can it be beneficial to simply do the intervals as hard as you can, as you can sustain the same pace throughout the whole workout?


    Hi, I am not a coach, but think you should run the intervals as specified. It is not HIT. They are designed for different things: for example, the one you describe sounds like it is getting you used to race pace, which is not all out. This also helps you practice pacing. At some point you are likely to be doing intervals with 3 different paces in the same set, repeated multiple times

    That’s my experience anyway. Hope it helps.

    Leyla Porteous

    It comes down to risk vs reward with high intensity intervals. I would recommend running them at the recommended effort, so that you can run them with good form, you can keep a steady effort, and you don’t risk running so hard that you run yourself into an injury. The faster you the run the higher the impact and loading. So running at max effort all the time may have more risk than reward compared to running hard, but not all out. Running at slightly different efforts in your intervals also helps with pacing, and getting a feel for different paces within shorter, repeatable intervals.

    Coach Leyla

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