Is it just me, or is it easier to run intervals on a loop course?
Maybe easier isn’t the right word; but when running intervals, it helps to know what’s around the next corner.
I ran loop courses for both of my hard training runs this week.
On Tuesday I ran several laps of the northern loop of Central Park and on Thursday I ran several laps of the lower loop of Central Park.
Each time, I ran a mile warm up and another mile (+) cool down.
The northern loop was the perfect course for hill training. I ran the loop clockwise, such that there were two significant ascents. By staying with the same loop for multiple laps, I was able to give myself the same recovery period for each loop.
The lower loop isn’t exactly flat, but it is probably the most consistent, elevation-wise, in all of Central Park. I love this part of the park for speed intervals because I know that there won’t be tons of challenging ascents.
On Tuesday I ran 4 x 800’s at goal 10K pace, which accounted for just shy of two laps of the lower loop. So my first and second intervals were (approximately) on the same terrain as my third and fourth intervals, respectively.
Running multiple laps of the same loop course also provides the opportunity to see your progress within one individual workout.
You can see whether you tackle a hill better the first time that you run it or the second. It may be the first and that you’ve worn yourself out for the second. Alternatively, it may be the second because you used the first to develop your strategy.
It is another way to learn more about yourself as a runner.