How to layout your interval training sessions

Have you decided to follow a training plan to reach your goals, perhaps with the RunMotion Coach appIn addition to traditional endurance runs, you’ll likely encounter interval sessions. Let’s explore how to perform them effectively and structure them.

Part One: Warming Up

The warm-up is carried out at low intensity in order to heat up your cardio-respiratory system, muscles and tendons. This part is essential to achieve a quality session and minimise the risk of injury.

In general, the warm-up jogging lasts between 15 and 30 minutes depending on the runner’s experience and the goal that they are training for. The warm-up jogging is done in the fundamental endurance zone . The more intense the session is that you have planed, the longer the warm-up should be.

After the warm up jog, you should do a few dynamic stretching exercises to finish warming up: heel to buttocks, straight leg stretches, high knees and some strides (controlled sprints) are welcome. 

Part Two: The Heart of the Session

The interval session can now start! The type of session depends on many parameters, and it is your coach who will guide you on the type of session to perform.

The coach varies on 4 parameters: the duration of the effort (or the distance), the pace of the effort, the number of repetitions and the recovery time.

You can have for example 10x400m at the MAS pace with 1min of recovery.

This session would look something like the below:

400 meters at MAS pace (let’s say 400m to complete in 1 minute and 30 seconds)
Then 1 minute of recovery while jogging
400 meters at MAS pace
Then 1 minute of repeating while jogging
And so on to achieve 10x400m in total.

Depending on the creativity of the coach, there are many possibilities for interval sessions, and sometimes the pace can vary within the session.

If you have, for example, a session at marathon pace, the marathon pace correspond to your starting pace for the marathon, or the target pace that you aim for on D-Day. For example: 4’58 / km if you are aiming for 3:30 in the marathon. These race pace sessions help you acclimate to the pace required on D-Day.

Part Three: Warm Down

Once you have finished the interval session, you ideally want to recover with a jog of 5 to 10 minutes at basic endurance pace. This return to calm is beneficial for recovery and helps reduce body aches the next day 😉

For races it is the same principle, with a warm up, the race and the warm down. After a marathon or a long trail race, it is advisable to avoid doing much of a warm down, if at all, because the muscles have already worked hard for a long period of time.

Good luck with your preparation for your next sporting challenges 💪

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Jamie Taylor-Caldwell14.21 5000m runner and former scholar athlete for West Texas A&M. Jamie is the UK Country Manager for RunMotion Coach