What is interval training?

  • Interval training is the process of alternating short, high intensity bursts of speed with slower recovery phases through a single session. Intervals do not have to be run on a track and can be performed on any surface that works best for you such as road, trail, grass or even beach.

    If you are following a training plan, the 'efforts' and recoveries will be specified in the plan. For example, '4 x 3 min @ 5k pace; 2 mins jog / walk recovery' means: 'Run a 3 minute effort at your current 5k pace followed by a 2 minute jog/walk recovery. Repeat this 4 times.'

    Interval sessions train your body to deliver oxygen to working muscles quicker.  This then allows your muscles to perform better and for longer during races.

    Applying interval training to your programme provides variety and reduces the repetition of just plodding along.

    A few quick tips before you start interval training:

    • Have a good warm up before you start running faster efforts
    • Start off slowly and build up, such as 2mins run, 2mins walk etc
    • Run at a steady but challenging pace
    • Build up over a period of time
    • Progression is key to improvement

    Don’t forget to check out our training programmes, many of the Improver plans include interval work.

    Official Answer