Thursday, October 08, 2020

The Easy Interval Method

Back in July of 2017 I wrote a blog post about my discovery of the Verheul method of training for running, following up with further posts about my experiences training this way. Last Christmas I received a book — Easy Interval Method by Klaas Lok (one of Verheul's original pupils). I was excited to read the book and find out if I'd been doing Verheul training correctly back in 2017.

The book has many examples of runners who improved and ran successfully using the Easy Interval Method, from 'average' club runners to Olympic and World Champions. An example of the former is Bertrand Maas who improved his 10k from 52 minutes to 44:21 and half marathon from 2 hours to 1:47 — of the latter there is Faith Kipyegon (gold in the 1500m at Rio) and Geoffrey Kirui (26:55 10k and World Marathon Champion in 2017), both coached by Piet de Peuter in Kenya. There are examples of Masters runners such as John van der Wansem who switched from high mileage (Lydiard style) training to the Easy Interval Method at the age of 35. John ran 14:21.6 for 5000m as a 40+ runner and 31:49 for 10k at the age of 51.

For ACT Masters runners, track racing has commenced again (there have been no Covid-19 cases in the ACT for a number of weeks). Last Thursday night I ran the 3000m with no expectations besides putting in a solid effort. I found myself racing Roger and Thea in the early laps. After 1k I passed Rog and tried to keep the gap to Helen ahead from growing larger. This was a successful strategy and I placed 10th in 14:52.16, with Helen running 14:36.58. The winner (M30) Adrian ran 9:22! I will continue to race on the track for the remainder of 2020 with perhaps a parkrun 5k if we get started again (Tasmania is starting on October 17 so it's likely we won't be far behind).

Easy Interval Method book by Klaas Lok (available on Amazon)


TokyoRacer said...

Hi Ewen. I recall that you were using that training method, and I'm sure it's a good one. I'm not so sure, though, that those examples prove your case. A 52-minute runner who starts training harder, no matter what the method, will probably be able to get down to 44 minutes. And high mileage is almost certainly not the best training method for 5 and 10K. So I think a more scientific approach is necessary to actually prove the case for this method.

Anonymous said...

Great review, so you've been running with the method for three years? What schedule do you follow?

Ewen said...

Hi Bob. I haven't been disciplined enough to follow the schedules exactly, but use the 'method' for my interval training. There are other examples on the EIM website and I think it can be a good low mileage method for masters runners who want to try something different. Geoffrey Kirui only ran up to 120 km per week prior to his marathon, with four 30 km runs.

Hi Anonymous, no, I haven't been exactly using the method for 3 years, just experimented with it on and off. I followed the 6 runs per week schedules from December 2019, coming back from a calf injury and was happy with my 25:38 5k in July, running/walking around 50 to 60 km per week.

canute1 said...

It is great that you are running well, and that the Verheul method has suited you. It sounds as if you have applied it in a relaxed manner. I disagree with Verheul about the lack of training benefit from high intensity intervals, but accept that HIIT is potentially riskier and demands more careful monitoring of the need for recovery. Furthermore, I am a believer in variation of training and periodization. I think that interposing several months, perhaps even as much as a year, of Verheul training in a long term campaign is likely to help keep the mind and body fresh and resilient.

Niffy Nev said...

Hi Ewen, great to see you at the track. I didn't expect that I would have missed track so much after 12 years of just doing long distance runs. Best of all I got a real buzz after running (ha, ha) the 400m. Stick with a method that works for you; good on you. I too have revised my approach to training after injuries and ageing. I would list enjoyment as my first goal. Cheers, Nev.

Jog said...

Great to see you back doing more experimenting with your running Ewen & blogging again! You've inspired me to revive my Jog's Blog. It's been 4+ years!! Stay tuned .... :)

Ewen said...

Thanks for your comment Canute and good to hear from you again. That's a good point about keeping both mind and body fresh. Variety is the spice of life!

Yes, good to see you too Nev (looking good!). Same here re enjoyment; if it's not fun, why do it?

Thanks for reading Jog! Looking forward to reading your first post of the new era.