What is repetition training?

Repetition training is when you break training distances into smaller, more manageable parts and repeat these parts. This is, for example, when you sprint over a set distance several times. It improves your speed-endurance.

An essential part of repetition training is the recovery time in between reps. In repetition training, when you include more recovery intervals, your speed is improved. When you reduce the number of recovery intervals, your endurance is improved.

How does repetition training work?

When you put it into action, repetition training means you need to run your reps faster than you will in the race that you are training for. Your reps will consist of a short distance, a rest interval and repeat several times over.

This training means that when you are running the race, you will be able to take off quickly as the gun goes off while increasing your pace as the competition progresses.

What distance should these reps be?

This depends on two things:

  1. If you feel like your pace isn’t changing during the race, even if you want to go faster, you need to do short, sharp repetitions. This could be anywhere between 80 and 300-metre sprints.
  2. If you feel like you’re getting slower during the race, you need to do longer repetitions. This could be anything up to 3,000 metres.

If you want the right balance between these two, you can include both short and long repetition training sessions per week into your workout programme.

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How long should the rest intervals be?

This, once again, depends on two things: speed and endurance. You can use your heart rate as an indication of how long your recovery time needs to be.

  1. If you want to improve your speed, you need longer recovery intervals. This means you can run each repetition harder and faster. The recovery interval is just as long as it took to run the repetition. Your heart rate needs to drop to about 60% of your maximum heart rate before continuing with your reps.
  2. If you want to improve your endurance, you need shorter recovery intervals. This means you learn to run harder and faster while you are tired. The recovery interval is only half as long as it took to run the repetition. Your heart rate needs to drop to about 75% of your maximum heart rate before continuing with your reps.

Repetition training can also be referred to as interval training. This is because repetition training depends on the number of recovery intervals between reps and the time of these intervals. It also depends on the length and amount of reps you will be exercising. The distance, time and recovery intervals are determined using the end-goal: speed or endurance. Speed means short, sharp repetitions and longer recovery times. Endurance means longer repetitions and quicker recovery times.

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