Here is a great two-in-one track session.
You can do this on your own or in company. If you have an accurate GPS and some flat road you can also do it away from the track.
Because you set your repetition time based on your performance during the first part of the session, and then you run the session accordingly. It’s very simple to remember, and you don’t need any fancy calculators or conversion sheets to work out your 400m rep times.
You can come to this session knowing very little about interval training and without any recent race results to base your pace on.
Here’s what you do. After a good warm up for at least 10 minutes run some 50m strides to get yourself moving fluently; 4 or 5 gradually accelerating will be sufficient.
Then, run your fastest mile. If you are using a 400m track (most likely), there should be a curved line across the running track 9m before the finish line (1 mile = 1609m). Your mile run should be at a consistent pace over the four laps, and pretty much as fast as you can go. Record your time.
Now, divide your time by 4, e.g. if you ran 8 minutes you get 2 mins — 6 minutes gives you 1.30. This time is your rep time for your 400m session.
You can then run your 400m interval session at this pace, perhaps 8×400. This is fast running, so give yourself a decent recovery time between reps; a good starting point would be to jog very easily for 200m or up and down the straight for the same time as your rep time.
As usual with this type of interval training, consistency is the key, your reps should all be run at the same time.
This session will develop your running on various levels:
- It will help to improve your running form
- It will develop your ability to clear lactic acid from your muscles
- It will strengthen your mental toughness (this is a hard, fast pace and your 5k pace will seem considerably slower)
If you cannot complete the intended number of reps at your target time, then add a few seconds to your lap times so that you can hit them consistently. This is better then allowing extra recovery time, because it indicates that the pace is just a little to fast for you — for now anyway.
Keep a note of your times and how you performed, and use this session regularly to monitor and improve your fitness.