Recovery is as crucial to success as intensity, both during interval training and in the scheduling of workouts during seasonal training periods. Anaerobic interval workouts should consist of full recovery between intervals regardless of the student-athlete’s event. In my training plans, this will range from 50% to 100% of the interval time run. I will adjust recovery by athlete or group while monitoring the workout; this is where the art of coaching occurs and learning how to pace and feel your exertion level match with the actual intensity of the set. It’s important for the athlete to reach the desired stress level on each interval and recover to repeat the effort. Because I am training athletes for competitive events, I base the pace on previous race performances and goal times. As training progresses and I review the uploaded data from the athletes or my watch in TrainingPeaks, new goal paces will be determined for the next workout.
I record the athletes entire workout including intervals and recovery noting the heart rate average and peaks. I separate each part of the session into warm up, intervals, recovery between intervals and cool down. Then I record the data to evaluate the workout and prepare for the next session. Scheduling recovery days between weekly interval sessions during track season will also vary with event specificity, and training intensity. As training intensity increases and the volume of anaerobic workload increases, the amount of recovery between workouts must also increase. During early season preparation when aerobic workload is the focus, workouts may be scheduled with one day or less of recovery and up to three aerobic intensity workouts per week. As the season progresses and the volume of anaerobic focused interval sessions increase, two or three recovery days will be needed to insure quality training sessions and continued progress reaching specific pace goals.