800/400/200m Intervals

Interval training enables you to run faster and more comfortably for longer. It will improve your oxygen uptake (VO 2 max), blood supply and overall fitness.

This session is ideal preparation for mid distance events ranging from 2 - 5km, so if you’re trying for a new Parkrun PB this should be a go to session.

Perform this training at least once or twice a month as part of a balanced training program.

Equipment & Venue

This session needs to be performed on a fairly flat traffic/hazard-free running surface at least 800km long.

Four cones, or any marker, placed at 200m intervals.

Wear hi-visibility clothing appropriate for the weather.

Warmup (10 minutes)

Loosen up any tightness for five minutes with dynamic exercises. Include at least ten minutes of running and drills. Finishing with strides for five minutes (short bursts of speed).

Main Session (40 minutes)

Run 1x 800m at 10K race pace

Jog for 2-4 minutes*

Run 2x 400m at 5K race pace

Jog for 1-2 minutes in-between 400s*

Run 4x 200m at 5K race pace

Jog for 1 minute in-between 200s*

This is one set. Repeat until 40minutes is up.

*The recovery jog should take half the time it took to run the interval.

Cool Down (10 minutes)

Perform at least 10 minutes of standard cool down stretches.

Coaches Tips

  • Only begin to incorporate speed work after at least three months of steady running.
  • Regulate pace over the distance so that your energy is evenly spread.
  • Pair up with a partner to share the experience. It’s much easier and more fun to train with someone else. If you want to improve, train with someone slightly quicker.
  • An action recovery is best where you walk or jog between repetitions.
  • Focus on quality not quantity. Speed work should account for between 10 and 20% of your weekly running time - i.e one or two sessions per week.
  • Run with good form. Check posture, foot fall, heal raise, hip movement, arm motion, head position etc.