Repeats: How to Integrate Them in a Beginner’s Training

When you start running, the main goal isn’t to achieve a specific speed but rather to build running endurance: the first 5K, the first hour of running, the initial 10 kilometers. The next step, if desired, is aiming for a certain performance. This is where this aspect of training comes into play: repeats.

From Theory to Practice: What Is a Repeat?

Repeats are a type of training that involves running specific segments at defined high speeds. They come in various lengths: short, medium, and long, customizable according to predefined goals. Speed also varies and is athlete-specific, depending on particular objectives. Some common types include maximal, threshold, or medium-paced repeats, each serving a specific purpose within the training program.

Simplicity and Progression: The Secret of Early Repeats

At the beginning, it’s unnecessary to complicate things excessively. I often define this as the “magic of the couch,” trying complicated workouts to seem well-prepared and to make athletes believe that following a complex plan leads to great results. Spoiler: that’s not the case! Let’s start by defining intensity: it’s essential not to expect the first repeats to be at maximum speed. Instead, aim for a gradual increase in speed accompanied by a higher cadence and smoother running. Avoid exaggerating the length or number of repetitions. The key to a good repeat workout is not to give in as the number progresses: going very fast in the first and collapsing in the last won’t benefit you.

Recovery: A Crucial Phase

In the early stages, recovery should involve walking to allow for nearly complete recovery. If you’re a beginner and lack excellent endurance, it’s important to allow at least 60 seconds of rest, enabling your heart rate to gradually decrease.

The initial phases of running are fundamental for building a strong foundation. Therefore, focus on gradual progression and endurance building before delving into more advanced repeat sessions. Always remember to listen to your body and progress safely and sustainably.