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Interval Training

Interval training is used by many athletes who want to improve their performance.

Interval training simply refers to a series of intense activity separated with short rest periods. Through using interval training you are able to exercise at a higher intensity without getting tired.

If you can run or swim a certain distance in a set time period, you will be able to do them faster if you break down the distance and add in recoveries. For example if you can run 4 miles in 28 minutes, if you break this down to 4 mile sections with a rest period you will be able to run them faster. For this session you could set a target time for 6.20 for each mile using interval training.

Interval training will depend on the length and type of activity you are doing. A marathon runners interval training will involve different distances to someone training for a 5k. The principle behind the session remains the same despite sport or distance.


As the above demonstrates, the intensity of interval training is much higher at around 85-90% maximum heart rate. The recovery period allows your body to recover and the lactic acid that has built up to disperse. It is best to have an active recovery (light jog, walk or jog slowly) rather than stand still. as fitness improves recovery periods can be shortened or the pace of recovery quickened.

Example Sessions for Running

Always remember to warm up and warm down before and after the interval training.

  • Pyramid - 2oom, 1oom jog recovery, 400m, 100m jog recovery, 600m, 200m jog recovery, 900m, 300m jog recovery, 900m, 200m jog recovery, 600m, 10 jog recovery, 400m, 100m jog recovery, 200m
  • 2 sets of 4 x 600, 45 second recovery between 6ooms, 2 minute recovery between sets
  • 6 x 6 minute efforts on the track. The aim of this session is consistency - try to reach the same point on the track each time.