Maxim #4: Humans are interval-type creatures.
Many coaches still insist that volumes of exhausting endurance work are the only way to prepare athletes for the demands of the long sprints. I still see coaches with training day routines such as “5 X 600 meters” or “three miles medium hard.” Animals hunt for prey in bursts. They chase, they rest, they chase again. These chases are basically high intensity sprints. Our interval type behavior has been selected out through Darwinian evolution. Why fight it.
Research indicates that interval training with a series of single concentrated efforts places greater demands on the body that continuous training. Ironically, the body deteriorates less with high intensity activity. I have long argued with distance coaches who believe that success in the half mile is the direct result of sustained, long effort runs that build a great endurance base. Based upon the demands of specific events, is this approach either necessary or sensible? For example, in order to run the 800 in 1:45, an athlete needs to achieve a 100-meter dash time in the 10.6 to 10.7 range. Such dash times require great speed-strength, the kind that most middle distance runners do not possess. Such a deficiency can only be eliminated through specialized strength and jump training. This kind of high intensity interval work makes far greater muscle adaptation than conventional distance training.