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5 Killer Interval Sessions

Interval and speed sessions are a key part of any training plan – whether you are training for a 5k or a marathon, this is really where the magic can happen and you can make some big improvements on your overall aerobic endurance, power and speed – all of which you need on race day.

I try to do two different interval and speed sessions a week, which can vary in distance, time and intensity. Here are five of my go-to sessions that I love (to hate!) to include in my training.

 

Mile Repeats

Session Breakdown

  • 2 miles easy pace warm up
  • 4 x 1 mile efforts (aim for around 30-45 seconds quicker than goal race pace)
  • 3 minute walk/jog recovery between each mile rep
  • 2 mile easy pace cool down

 

Hill Repeats

Session Breakdown

  • 2 mile easy pace warm up
  • 10 x 60 second hill effort (ideally you want to find a long, gradual incline)
  • 2 minute recovery (or however long it takes to walk/jog back down the hill)
  • 2 mile easy pace cool down

 

1 minute on/1 minute off

Session Breakdown

  • 2 mile easy pace warm up
  • 20 x 1 minute on/1 minute off
  • For 1 minute effort you want it to be a pace you can run consistently for all of the reps. Aim for around 30 seconds quicker than your 5k PB pace
  • For maximum recovery, walk during the 1 minute recovery
  • 2 mile easy pace cool down

 

Track Pyramid Session

Session Breakdown

  • 1-2 mile easy pace warm up
  • 200m (200m recovery), 400m (200m recovery), 600m (200m recovery), 800m (200m recovery), 1km (200m recovery), 800m (200m recovery), 600m (200m recovery), 400m (200m recovery), 200m (200m recovery)
  • Again, consistency is key so you don’t want to go flat out for the shorter reps and have nothing in the tank for the longer ones. Ideally you want to be able to maintain a hard, consistent pace throughout. A good pace to start with is around 30 seconds quicker than your 5k PB pace.
  • 1-2 mile easy pace cool down

 

10k Interval Run

Session Breakdown

  • 2 mile easy pace warm up
  • 2 x 10 minute intervals @ your 10k PB pace
  • 3 minute easy run recovery between each interval
  • 2 mile easy pace cool down

 

If you are a beginner or are new to this style of training, I would initially look to add one interval/speed session per week to your training schedule. The important thing is to get the balance right, so if you are doing a harder session, make sure that the day before is an easy run, and either follow it with an easier paced run, cross training (bike or swimming) or another easy run.

As you progress you can then increase the intensity or duration of the sessions. For example, you can do 5 x 1 mile efforts, or increase the number of hill repeats.

Happy training!

Jordan Foster
Written By

Jordan Foster