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Billat 30/30 Intervals

Updated: Jul 21, 2021

billat intervals billat training coach mk marathon fitness protection

Many of you will see these in your training plans for the Spring.  Let's talk about them. 

What's all this nonsense in Training Peaks?  Nothing, that's for my reference. Don't worry about it.  So what am I supposed to do?  10 minute super slow warm up and 10 minute super slow cool-down sandwiched around 30 seconds of really hard running followed by 30 seconds of super easy jogging. What are my paces?  Your paces should be in your pre-activity comments box.  If not, that's an honest mistake please reach out to me.  If you see 7:00/14:00 read that as "7:00 pace on the 30-second hard portion, 14:00 pace on the 30-second easy portion." How many should I do?  You put a range in there.  MOAR ain't necessarily better.  You need to do at least 16, if you can't do that many then your paces are too aggressive.  If you can do more than 24 then your paces haven't been set aggressively enough.  The first 4-5 intervals will feel easy, then become tough towards the end.  I am completely indifferent to how many you do within that range, but if you ARE clawing for interval 2 or are NOT clawing for interval 22 then we did something wrong.   What does this workout do?  It boosts Vv02 max, known as your velocity of Vo2max. What is that?  Don't worry about it. It's for my reference, not yours.  Come on, I wanna know!  Remember how I say that Vo2 max is only a small part of the fitness picture, it tells me nothing about your cardio base or your running economy?  Like, a crossfitter can have a stupid high Vo2 max but ask them to run more than a mile and they cry because they don't have a cardio base.  A strong distance runner needs to have both.  Workouts that increase Vo2 max are so intense they slowly eat away at your cardio base.  Think about any runner you know who can run 5-10 miles really fast (like 8:00 pace) but their half and full marathon finish times are off in comparison (like, a PR of 4:20 for the marathon or that same person has never broken 2:00 in the half).  Those guys have killed their cardio base by overtraining anaerobically.  This workout was designed by a researcher named Billat in 1998 to approach top-end interval training differently in a way that wouldn't kill a cardio base. So what does my Vvo2 max say about me?  vvo2 max is a gateway figure that helps me begin the formal measurement of your cardio base.  That's it.  It's not widely used, and the figure alone tells me nothing.  Vvo2 max is a gateway figure that helps me begin my overly complicated measurements of your cardio base. So this is a magic workout!  Nope, there are no magic workouts.  This is just a very efficient one to perform right now.  Why are we doing these now?  Because the only thing that sucks more than winter is spring.  Between cold and flu, allergies, random snowfalls and hail, #allthoserandomschoolholidays, and totally inane temperature swings, it is really difficult to get quality workouts done outdoors consistently.  Knowing that many of us will be on treadmills a lot, I sat down and asked myself which aspects of strength we should develop now in order to be ready for summer and fall, which workouts are most conducive to a treadmill since so many of us hate them, and which tempo workouts really need to be saved for better weather since we do rely on different muscles to be speedy on a treadmill.   You can read more about Billat 30/30s here: Cheers Coach MK

Coach MK Fleming is the founder of Fitness Protection, LLCwhere she coaches all kinds of runners for $29 per month and gives marathon plans away for free. Click here to download her most popular training plan, Tenacious AF!

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