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View Full Version : My attempt at interval training for speed - am I doing something wrong


blubber
12-12-2007, 07:18 PM
During the summer I was doing a 5 mile run (my best was 44 min over a hilly course) once a week for tennis and general fitness. After a while I began to look for an alternative. I never felt like I was built for long distance running and my knees began to bother me (they never hurt after tennis). Plus, long distance running was slowing me down on court.

I read a little about interval training here on the board and did a quick search on the internet. The idea that a quick workout once or twice a week can boost your cardiovascular capacity and make you faster sounded good to me. I found some tennis specific interval drills that mimic the quick movements needed on court but I figured I'd start by making up my own routine to get a taste of what interval training is like. I have access to a local track and I decided to do the following:

1 lap slow jog
1/2 lap 70% run
1 lap slow jog

and then repeat the following 3 times

100 meters at 100% sprint
1 lap mixed slow jog walk

then finish with another 100 meter 100% sprint

So far I've done this once a week for the last month. This workout literally makes me sick. I never felt so bad in my life - my head starts to throb, I break out in a cold sweat, and I feel like I'm going to vomit (I'm suprised I haven't - I pulled my car over and stuck my head out the window - but nothing came out).

Is this the way interval training is supposed to make you feel? I don't think I have any medical problems.

Is this the correct way to do interval training? Am I doing too much or am I just in really bad shape and finally pushing myself?

On the bright side, I do feel faster on court (this might be psychological or it might be a benefit of no longer running longer distances). Yet, even if interval training does make me faster I don't think I'll keep it up if I have to feel like hell once a week (I'm a wimp).

Ano
12-12-2007, 07:40 PM
During the summer I was doing a 5 mile run (my best was 44 min over a hilly course) once a week for tennis and general fitness. After a while I began to look for an alternative. I never felt like I was built for long distance running and my knees began to bother me (they never hurt after tennis). Plus, long distance running was slowing me down on court.

I read a little about interval training here on the board and did a quick search on the internet. The idea that a quick workout once or twice a week can boost your cardiovascular capacity and make you faster sounded good to me. I found some tennis specific interval drills that mimic the quick movements needed on court but I figured I'd start by making up my own routine to get a taste of what interval training is like. I have access to a local track and I decided to do the following:

1 lap slow jog
1/2 lap 70% run
1 lap slow jog

and then repeat the following 3 times

100 meters at 100% sprint
1 lap mixed slow jog walk

then finish with another 100 meter 100% sprint

So far I've done this once a week for the last month. This workout literally makes me sick. I never felt so bad in my life - my head starts to throb, I break out in a cold sweat, and I feel like I'm going to vomit (I'm suprised I haven't - I pulled my car over and stuck my head out the window - but nothing came out).

Is this the way interval training is supposed to make you feel? I don't think I have any medical problems.

Is this the correct way to do interval training? Am I doing too much or am I just in really bad shape and finally pushing myself?
On the bright side, I do feel faster on court (this might be psychological or it might be a benefit of no longer running longer distances). Yet, even if interval training does make me faster I don't think I'll keep it up if I have to feel like hell once a week (I'm a wimp).

Interval training is supposed to make you breath really hard, but should not makes you feel sick, want to vomit etc.

My guess : you are doing too much for your conditioning level.

My suggestion :

For the first week:

40 meter sprint (100 % capacity) then walk back to starting point.

Repeat two more time (total : three intervals)

Do this twice a week

For the second week:

perform 4 invervals.

Add one interval every week (5 intervals in the third week, 6 intervals in the fourth week).

Once you can do 8 intervals, add the distance to 50 meters. Once you can do 8 intervals with 50 meters, add the distance to 60 meters.

I think you get the idea.

tricky
12-12-2007, 07:55 PM
Is this the way interval training is supposed to make you feel?

Hell yeah! Welcome to REAL interval training! :D

Ano's right. You're pushing your VO2 max too hard during the "high" periods of your intervals. The wind sprint / walk scheme Ano is suggesting works very well.

In terms of nausea -- provided you're not feeling the head throbbing too -- that often happens when you first start interval training. This style can produce a lot of lactic acid, which causes a lot of gastric distress. Your digestive system eventually adjusts after a week or so. Remember to cool down properly after the workout.

blubber
12-12-2007, 08:07 PM
Ano, tricky - thanks for the input.

I'll reduce my sprint distances and keep at it until I get in better shape.

I like the idea of interval training. Fast hard workout with some variation as opposed to long monotonous runs.

Thanks again!

Ano
12-12-2007, 08:12 PM
Ano, tricky - thanks for the input.

I'll reduce my sprint distances and keep at it until I get in better shape.

I like the idea of interval training. Fast hard workout with some variation as opposed to long monotonous runs.

Thanks again!

You are welcome... and Good luck!!

LuckyR
12-13-2007, 08:36 AM
Opinions vary but for tennis IMO the most important part of the interval is the explosive take off. I have had good luck with 20 yard (or even 15) intervals rather than 100 or 40.

chess9
12-13-2007, 09:46 AM
If this is your first attempt at intervals, the speed gain will take awhile. You might need 6-10 weeks of interval training to raise your speed.

But, what speed are you raising? To get real instantaneous power to get to the ball fast you need:

1. Great genetics;
2. High strength to weight ratio helps a bit;
3. Lots of very short sprinting;
4. The patience to continue doing the intervals to get the payoff.

-Robert

WildVolley
12-13-2007, 06:46 PM
LOL!:grin:

Sorry to pile on, as earlier posters have given you good answers. You're going too hard too soon. Shorten the distance and work your way into it.

When I was in high school, out of shape kids would often vomit after the first interval workout, because the coaches had scheduled too many intervals at too great of distances even though they didn't advocate full speed runs.

Once you get a feel for it, hard interval workouts might be briefly enervating, but they shouldn't be sickening. Once you become fitter, light interval days can be enjoyable and leave you feeling fast and strong.

blubber
12-13-2007, 09:09 PM
I don't mind the piling on. Any useful information is welcomed.

I'm really excited about interval training for speed b/c I think speed can be one of my strengths on the court.

From the time I played Little League (I stole lots of bases) through my time on the high school soccer team I was always the fastest person. My strength was my initial speed burst - I always jumped out to a big lead and then tailed off.

After college I put on some weight and stopped playing sports on a regular basis. So I never had the need to all-out sprint.

When I took up tennis a few years ago I initially thought long distance runs would be most beneficial. They did serve a purpose since they helped me lose some weight and they helped my cardio. I thought as I got skinnier I would regain my speed. However, even at a lighter weight, the speed didn't return. Instead my legs often felt heavy and tired. I know you loose speed as you age but I'm not that old yet.

I'm hoping interval training can help me regain some of my explosiveness.

I think everyone should throw some sprints into their workouts - whether for tennis or general conditioning. It's pretty clear that with regard to speed - if you don't use it, you lose it.

Punisha
12-23-2007, 02:15 AM
if you don't use it, you lose it.

thats pretty much it... btw dont hurt yourself with too much training aswell... the rest is really when you make the improvement...

nswelshman
12-23-2007, 03:05 AM
i know pro player who vomit after interval training! not good look. is not normal, but is not subnormal also. if happens every time, its too much for your level. reduce is good idea. but if happens once every some months, not worry, it happens. after 4 months sure you will notice difference, more ability to do what make you sick now will not make you sick in 4 months. Maybe also think leave drink of sugar and carbohidrat important for replace fuel after interval trainin.

nswelshman
12-23-2007, 03:08 AM
Also i must add, do not stop doing long run. I can tell you sure, every pro player do cardio of 30minutes for minimum 4 times weekly. Every every every one do it. So try do minium 2 time week cardio long if u has the time.

onehandbh
12-23-2007, 11:59 AM
something along the lines of 40-50 meters may be better for tennis, IMO.
Like others have mentioned, interval training is just plain hard.
Back when I used to do them, I'd get close to vomiting as well. I usually
backed off just before vomiting b/c I *really* hate vomiting. My least
favorite is the "too much tequila vomit."

Be patient, the training definitely works. I was able to knock off a little
over 0.5 seconds off of my 50 yard time, going from about 6.5 seconds
down to a little below 6 seconds. (ran at a track). May not sound like a lot,
but believe me it is. We didn't have them, but starting blocks can help
as well.