RA5 (Accelerations Run) | 80/20 Endurance

RA5 (Accelerations Run)

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    Had my first experience with this workout today. Not a disaster, but not good either.

    The problem I had is with my Garmin watch. I can view the workout screen that only shows the average pace for the segment, or I can scroll to a screen that shows the instantaneous pace.

    I need to learn how to run accelerations to do this workout. A couple of sessions with Garmin nudging me to pick up the pace at key moments would be a great help.

    Can you provide any guidance to set up a progression (i.e. duration/pace) so I can write a workout for practice? Or, there may be others struggling with the workout and a “beginners” substitution on the workout library might be welcomed.


    Hi Charles,

    Yes, the acceleration runs are a bit of a challenge and there are a couple strategies that have worked for me.

    For outdoor runs, I go off perceived exertion with the zones because my HR fluctuates depending upon weather conditions and other stressors. Over time, I’ve come to know what the zones feel like and can adapt my effort accordingly. Zone 4 I can’t talk, but I don’t feel sick, Zone 5, I’ll feel sick after more than 45 secs. I think the important part to get right is to make sure you return back to zone 1 for recovery. For me that can sometimes mean taking a short walk break or jogging in place. You’ll end up burning out on the later intervals and not be able to hit Zone 4/5 if you don’t honor the recovery.

    For indoor runs, I plan out the paces I think will hit the zones in advance and then make minor adjustments according to heart rate while on tread. I preset tread with the intervals so I can get there quickly and not loose time in the transition.

    I’ve come to really love these acceleration runs and I think they’ve had the greatest impact in improving my running speed, so whatever else comes up in the week, I make sure not to skip these or to reschedule if I do.

    Hope that helps!

    Matt Fitzgerald

    Long accelerations are meant to be done without a net. You should use your watch only to check elapsed time during each acceleration. This forces you to rely on perception of velocity and acceleration to execute the workout. It’s okay and even expected that you’ll struggle the first time you do it, but with repetition you will improve. Using your device as a crutch will blunt your improvement in pacing skill.


    Thank you Fastmazor.

    My disappointment with my run today is that even though I hit my objective pace at the end of the intervals I got zero credit for anaerobic effect (on my Garmin watch). My heart rate never advanced beyond the sub tempo rate. My steady pace acceleration was surely too conservative.

    I like your idea for indoor runs and making heart rate adjustments and will try that out.

    I assume that the measure of success is performing the final seconds of each acceleration at maximum pace AND heart rate?



    Thank you, I just saw your post after my response to Fastmazor.

    I didn’t treat this as a pacing exercise, in which case I would have considered the workout a success. I’d still like to get some anaerobic points for the work however…

    Matt Fitzgerald

    I strongly encourage you not to care whether your device gives you points for something. Training happens in the real world. Anaerobic points are not real.


    Got it.

    I rely on your plans and advice on the forum to guide my training and you and Dave have been most generous with your support.

    I rely on Garmin to fill the void of not having an “eyes on” coach to provide objective assessment and guidance executing the plans.

    Surely there must be benefit to reaching the highest heart rates from time to time. I rarely reach the heart rates that I experience when racing, and yet I regularly train at race paces. Am I missing something?

    Matt Fitzgerald

    Yes, heart rate is artificially elevated by adrenaline during races. Those extra few BPM’s are meaningless as they relate to fitness and performance.

    Athletes need to be very selective in determining when to pay attention to heart rate, when to ignore it, and how they interpret it when they do pay attention to it. In many contexts, heart rate is either irrelevant or misleading. Don’t let your heart rate monitor drive the bus in your training. I see more and more athletes doing this more and more often and it’s a huge mistake.

    The true determinant of exercise intensity is the intensity of activity in the motor and premotor centers of the brain. You can be sure that when you run at race pace or faster, your brain is working as hard as it does in races.

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