Interval training involves alternating periods of high-intensity effort with periods of low-intensity effort (the recovery).

This form of training is effective for improving your pace and form. It is a gradual process but performing it regularly will improve your running mechanics so that you can run faster for longer, while consuming less energy. Another benefit is that your routine moderately paced runs will feel easier.

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 hazard and traffic free running surface at least 1km long.

Wear suitable running shoes and hi-visibility clothing suited for the weather.

Warmup (10 minutes)

Loosen up any tightness for five minutes with dynamic exercises such as leg swings, arm swings, squats, high knee raises, dynamic lunges (forward and back). Include at least five minutes of running starting easy and gradually increasing in intensity. Finish the warmup with strides (short bursts of speed) as you prepare your body for the main session.

Main Session (30-40 minutes)

Run 1km at 5km goal pace (80-95% effort). You should be able to say a few words, but not sentences.

Rest for half the time it took to run. If unsure, rest for 3mins.

Repeat until the time is up.

You should complete between 3 and 7 intervals during the session.

Cool Down (10 minutes)

Perform at least 10 minutes of standard cool down stretches.

Coaches Tips

  • Maintain a consistent pace throughout the periods of high intensity, this is particularly important during the first couple of intervals to avoid early burn-out. Don’t set off too quickly at the beginning of each interval.
  • 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.
  • Run with good form. Check posture, foot fall, heal raise, hip movement, arm motion, head position etc.