This is an excerpt taken from the newly published book by Scott Jurek entitled, “Eat & Run: My Unlikely Journey To Ultramarathon Greatness”.
Regular running is satisfying in itself. If you’re the competitive type, even greater satisfaction lies in running faster and longer, in challenging yourself. Progress can be a great motivator and a great incentive to keep exercising.
If you want to improve as a runner, you can (and should) do supplemental training, which involves strengthening, flexibility, and technique work. But the simplest way to improve is to run faster. And the way to do that is to train yourself to run harder, the way I did during my long climbs to Mount Si.
Here’s how: After you’ve been running for 30 to 45 minutes at least three times a week for six to eight weeks, you’re ready to start running occasionally at 85 to 90 percent of your physical capacity, or the point where lactate is building up in your muscles but your body is still able to clear and process it. Build to where you can maintain that lactate threshold level for 5 minutes. Then take 1 minute of easy running to give the body time to recover, then repeat. As you progress, increase the number of the intervals and their length while maintaining a 5:1 ratio between work and rest. So you would do 10-minute intervals of hard running followed by 2-minute breaks; or 15 minutes of hard running followed by 3 minutes of rest, and so on.
After four to six weeks, you’ll be able to maintain this effort level for 45 to 50 minutes. And you’ll be faster.”
(Note: Taken from Chapter 10: Dangerous Tune, pages 88-89)