C.I.S.E.I. Principle and Medium-Long Distance Running

During running over some distance there is a velocity (speed) plot similar to that in Fig 1. Offcourse this is oversimplication because there is no pacing stategies, oscilations etc. This is only basic form. Over that period there is mean velocity (V0) wich is plotted in the graph (note that there is no oscilations, so V0 have this value). Training goal is in improving the time over the track lenght is covered, so basicaly you should improve you mean running SPEED. So goal of training is not on improving VO2max, LT, HR or other physiological variables but rather performance – mean speed (Fig. 2).

The question is how can we improve this mean speed? One common option is increasing your volume of training. You can do this by increase distance over wich you run (with the same mean speed- Fig. 3) or by performing same runs (Fig.1) several times over a week. But can this induce impovement of mean running speed? NO! Maybe with begginers, who have great speed reserve (a term wich I would discuss later in the text) and low muscle fatigue tolerance. Basicaly first step in training with begginers is to increase volume of training. That doesnt mean that you should increase it to the max, but only to the optimum level. What is the optimum? That depends on the ability to adapt and recover, two thing that are highly geneticaly determined. When you reach the optimum level of volume, then keep it and try to improve mean running speed. How? You can use CISEI principle covered here.

I think that we need to define what is endurance. Is that a ability to tolerate fatigue as commonly defined? Take an example. You have two marathon runners, runner A finish marathon in 2h30min and other, runner B in 3h00min. Who have more endurance? If this definition is used then runner B have more endurance because he is able to cope with the fatigue for a longer period of time. Maybe this is reason (errorneus offcourse) to increase volume of training to improve endurance. But endurance is the ability to maintain relative intensity over a prolonged period of time without serious drop in performance due fatigue. So basicaly, to improve endurance you gotta improve you speed, duration over wich you can maintain that speed and ability to cope with the fatigue development (and fatigue when it is developed).

CISEI principle

Cutting distance and Intensify the running speed

This is my point of view in improving mean running speed without increasing volume. I dont belive that I “discovered it” but rather copied/steal it, because this is largly used in training (without using HR monitors, LA analyzers and other gadgets) but I think that people started to forget this simple principle.

What is this all about? Basicaly, if you cant improve your mean runing speed over some distance, then Cut the distance and run it faster (Fig. 4.). You dont need a HR monitor, just your performance variables: running times, distances and subjective feeling (I only approve using HR measurement in the morning and in recovery for measuring adaptile responses but not for designing training programs).

You can cut the distance in 2-3 parts and run it with higher speed. But how higher? You can use some pertentage of your V0 (running time), but this should be calculated individually. Do not increase ruuning speed too much too early. Give some time for your body to adapt! Experienced runner should cut the distance in more parts which can allow them to cover it in greater running speed. Why is that? Because their endurance is so high that their speed reserve is so low so they should concentrate on improving their max speed(even conducting 100m sprints). More on this later. Rest should be long enough to allow you to do all the reps without drop in performance. You can calculate rest on the basis of running time (percentage of time or distance if you walk or jog during rest). In picture rest is depicted as a walking distance. It is your creativity, I am just putting general principles here!

Shorten rests - Extensify distance covered in one rep
After conductiong several training sessions with splited distance and higher speed, try to shorten the rests (less walking distance, or less time) and to extend the distance covered in one rep. This is also strongly individualiy based on the athlete’s ability to recover and to adapt. After doing this try to run you distance and you will see that your time has been improved (Integrate). On the other hand, I belive that if you continue to run continuously on steady-running speed your body will accomodate that running speed and then you will have problem changing it (increasing). So, improving your ability to run faster (over some distance – endurance) will not guarantee you that you will run at that speed… you should accomodate on new, improved speed and the only way to do it is to increase your training speed!


Distance: 5K
Running time: 25min

Using CISEI (spliting in half)

Distance: 2.5K
Running time: 9 min (10% better)
Reps: 2x
Rest: ½ running time (4min)


  1. Try to improve speed (shorter running time)
  2. Decrease rest (less walking or jog distance or less time resting) or increase intensity of jog during rest
  3. Extend distance (from 2.5K to 3K)
  4. Try to run 5K in improved speed

Note. It is important to regulary run your distances between more intense training. Why? Simply it is specific and allows you to transfer your speed from interval training and on the other hand to improve your pacing strategies (according to central governor model). So, as Rich Gibbens (www.powerrunning.com) has recomended you can conduct 2 interval traiings and 1 distance training in one week. This depends on your recovery and adaptability. Watch your morning pulse!

Speed reserve
Speed reserve is the concept which desribes the relative speed (relative to max speed) of running over specific distance. Take an example. If you run 100m in 15sec (max) and if your time over 100m in 5K race (20min) is 24 sec you have (24-10) = 14 sec in reserve.

If the distance is shorter then speed reserve is less so the emphasis would be on improving max. speed. As the distance increases so does the speed reserve, so the goal would be decreasing speed reserve by increasing running speed. As distance runner becomes faster and faster (over his distance, 5K) his speed reserve decreases. Conducting more distance running sessions will lead only to injuries and overtraining, so the thing he should do is to improve his max. speed (100,200,400m) by using interval high-speed training.

The experiments that Richard Gibbens posted in his Power Running pages showing great relation between 100m sprint, tripple standing jump and other explosive events to distance running performance are the proof of speed reserve. This is true for elite runners, because their endurance is so high and the only way of improving is improving their explosivenes (max speed). So the one that have greater explosivenes have better results. But this is not true for begginers and intermediate runners who should improve their endurance (metabolic fitness and fatigue restistance according to power running model).


Please share your opinions and critiques about CISEI principle…

Mladen (duxx)

Still digesting this stuff. In my experience though, most endurance athletes have a pretty good speed reserve (i am talking 5k+ athletes, most <5k athletes don’t). I do like the “cutting the race into pieces” method. When i ran XC, those were the workouts i liked the most.

Have you read any of Vigil’s stuff on training endurance athletes? I am pretty sure he discussed some of this somewhere. (I know he wrote a book) He has had some pretty good results.

Vigil? I will try to find something, thanks!