To get the most out of any VDOT workout it’s important to start with two important principles:

  1. Assess your current VDOT score (use the VDOT Calculator or V.O2 apps) so you’re always training in line with your current fitness
  2. Understand the purpose behind every workout

In this article we’re focused on Repetition training and how to get the most out of every “Rep” session.

Purpose Behind Repetition Training

The purpose of Rep training is to improve speed and economy. This is an important part of your fitness whether you’re training for a mile or a marathon. Depending on your race focus and training history you will need to emphasize Rep training more or less. If you’re training for a mile generally you will emphasize Rep training more than during a Marathon training cycle. Although, if you’re not improving your marathon time, it’s possible you’re neglecting Rep training and could make progress by improving your running economy.

Once you know your Rep pace the key now is designing an appropriate workout. Remember, Reps are fast, but not necessarily “hard” for two reasons:

  • Workbouts are relatively short (stick with 200m-600m) or within a 2-min duration max per Rep
  • Reps should include relatively long recoveries. For instance, if you run 400m Reps then you want to jog at least 400m between each.

Recovery Between Is Critical

Recoveries should be long enough that each Rep feels no more difficult than the previous Rep. Because the purpose of Reps is to improve speed and economy you cannot get faster (nor more economical) if you are not running with relaxed form. If it takes at least 3 minutes to recover between 400m Reps then that is what is needed.

Reducing rest time between Reps does not make for a better workout, in fact, if the purpose of the session is to improve speed and economy, it probably makes for a worse workout because the short rests could increase the stress and lead to poor running mechanics. If your purpose is to simulate race stress then you may use Rep pace with shorter recoveries but keep in mind the purpose and benefit changes.

If you have any questions about executing VDOT paces/workouts always feel free to connect at