Interval training enables you to run faster and more comfortably for longer. It will improve your oxygen uptake (VO 2 max), blood supply and overall fitness.
This session is ideal preparation for mid distance events ranging from 1-5km.
Perform this training at least once or twice a month as part of a balanced training program.
Equipment & Venue
This session needs to be performed on a fairly flat traffic/hazard-free running surface.
Wear hi-visibility clothing appropriate for the weather.
Warmup (10 minutes)
Loosen up any tightness for five minutes with dynamic exercises. Include at least ten minutes of running and drills. Finishing with strides (short bursts of speed).
Main Session (40 minutes)
Run at interval pace for 3 minute blocks, with 1.5 minutes of rest in-between.
Interval pace should be hard, but not “all out”. As a guide, the pace should be the maximum pace you could sustain for 10-15 minutes, or percentage of maximum heart rate equal to around 85 – 95%.
Rests should be active, i.e. walking/jogging.
Aim to complete 8 blocks.
Cool Down (10 minutes)
Perform at least 10 minutes of standard cool down stretches.
- Regulate pace over the distance so that your energy is evenly spread.
- Pair up with a partner to share the experience. It’s much easier and more fun to train with someone else. If you want to improve, train with someone slightly quicker.
- An action recovery is best where you walk or jog between repetitions.
- It’s very important to fully recover between intervals so the body has a chance to recharge its ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) energy stores needed for the next interval.
- Focus on quality not quantity. Speed work should account for around 20% of your weekly running time – i.e one or two sessions per week.
- Run with good form. Check posture, foot fall, heal raise, hip movement, arm motion, head position etc.
- Only begin to incorporate speed work after at least three months of steady running.
- When possible overtake on the left hand side of a competitor runner. Most people are right eye dominant which means you’ll have a time advantage before the competitor realises.