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Short stints


Why do short stints?

It may be surprising to run short stints (200 or 300m or 30 secs or 1 minute) when you are a long distance runner (10km, half-marathons, marathons and trails).

Yet working on short stints is essential because this is the way you develop "power for your engine". And the more powerful a vehicle, the faster it can go!

Base speed is a central element for runners seeking performance. This is even more true for short distances. However, as distances get longer, the ability to run fast alone is no longer enough to predict the result - many other factors come into play.

Thanks to short stints you can develop your Maximum Aerobic Speed (MAS). This value is determined through a field test. It is directly linked to the maxVO2 which is measure in the lab or estimated according to each individuals level at approximately 3.5 times the MAS (for example 17km/h = 17 x 3.5 = 59.5).


What type of sessions are best?

A typical short stint session would be: 10 to 15 x 200m, 10 to 15 x 300m, 10 to 12 x 400m, 10 x 500m so all possible combinations as a pyramid e.g.: 2 x (200-300-400-500-400-300-200).
The speeds will depend on the distance you run: between 95% and 110% of your estimated MAS.

The recovery time between the stints is short. 40 seconds for the 200m up to 1 minute for the 400m. These recovery times can gradually be "pinched" (35 secs for the 200m and 50 secs for the 400m) as you progress through your training.

You can also do these exercises without having to go onto the athletics track. You could also do them for a set time, for example 15 x 30 secs fast then 30 secs recovery or 12 x 1 minute with 45 secs recovery, etc.

In this case you could do these sessions by sense starting from the premise that your last stint should be run at measurably the same speed as the first.

For this type of exercise the heart rate monitor is not necessarily a very appropriate tool, as during the first stints (especially if they are short) you won't reach your target heart rate and during the last stints your heart rhythm will not fall enough. This does not mean that you haven't had a good session.


When should you do short stints?

This type of training should be done at the start of preparation, during the general development phase (especially during the winter months). Advanced runners could do 2 weekly sessions (varying the distances for each session). This is how you will best be able to make progress with your MAS index.

Then, when you go back to a more specific phase focused on the event you are preparing for, one session a week or even every 10 days will be enough to maintain this quality at its highest level.

I hope I have convinced you about the firm grounding for this indispensable work for making progress in the short term but also over course of months and years. Of course, this work will be even more beneficial if you start young. But if like many you start running a little late, here again this work is vital. In addition, it can bring a touch of imagination to your training sessions which can get monotonous if you always run at the same pace.

Finally, if you decide to develop your skills using this work on short stints, make sure you check with you doctor that you are not suffering from any condition that is incompatible with this type of session which is quite demanding on the body.



Good luck with your sessions and enjoy implementing these pace variations and running FAST!