I've seen the types of training prescriptions you describe in older running books, but these were just common coaching protocols, not necessarily based on physiological necessity. The intervals were mostly aerobic intervals, non primarily anaerobic, and the goal was distance running. For people whose goals don't include distance racing, I see no sense in them.
For one thing, distance running of that volume is inherently much more of an injury-prone activity for most people than mixed intervals, even with fast running included. One of the big plusses of mixed interval training as I prescribe it is that the overall volume of any one repetitive activity is very low in relation to the benefits reaped. In fact, while I think almost everyone who is healthy can find a way to do intervals safely, I'd be willing to bet that less than 5% of the people who read this could run 8+ miles per day without significant injury troubles - I know I couldn't from experience.
As far as laying a mechanical foundation for the intense interval activities, the way to do that is to practice those activities at slower paces and gradually speed up. This can be done as one gradually ramps up the workouts themselves. Doing the activity very slowly won't be so useful for this, as the muscle fibers used, and the movement patterns are too dissimilar. Distance running and sprinting, for instance are so dissimilar that one has little to do with the other.
Actually, to tell the truth, I am skeptical that any kind of aerobic base outside of interval training itself is necessary to reap most of the benefits for non-athletes. The only reason to develop a pure endurance base via continuous aerobics is if the activities you pursue require the cultivation of this attribute. In most Aikido dojos, I'd say the need for this is marginal, as you can get this from training itself. Building up your endurance in terms of intense bursts of activity with relative rest periods is much more relevant.
Last edited by Kevin Wilbanks : 06-01-2003 at 04:56 PM.