Ladder Intervals

Polar RCX 5 running ladder workout

One of my favorite workouts is the Ladder Interval.  In this workout, I start with a several minutes long interval and with each successive interval, drop the time and increase the intensity.  The progression stimulates all the energy and recovery systems one would use during a race, from threshold level exertions to recovery to full-on sprints.  I’ve done this workout running, on the bike and on skis.

Tonight’s workout went like this:

  • Warm up 15 minutes
  • 6 minutes 10k race pace, 5 min recovery
  • 5 minutes 10k race pace, 4 min recovery
  • 4 minutes 5 k race pace, 3 min recovery
  • 3 minutes 5 k race pace, 2 min recovery
  • 2 minutes overdrive, 1 min recovery
  • 1 minute overdrive, 5 min recovery
  • 2 x 30 seconds sprint, 1 min recovery
  • 4 x 15 seconds sprint, 45 sec recovery
  • Cool down 15 minutes

I was able to raise my heart rate with each successive interval, until the short ones which were more about speed than heart rate.  I had some trouble there because I’m trying to run with a mid-foot plant but still feel compelled to extend my stride and heel strike for speed.

Total time:  1 hr 24 minutes
Max HR:  181
Calories: 1048

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