Interval Training Variations

Manipulation of the interval training principles provides the opportunity for a wide variety of interval training sessions. Outlined below are some of the more commonly used variations:

  • Individual Interval Training Options:
    • Repeats: The same distance, done a set number of times. Repeats of 400 metres, one lap of the track, are the most common, but distance runners may do repeat 1,000s or miles to improve their stamina. Repeats can also be run at anticipated race speed to develop a sense of pace and avoid going out too hard.
    • Ladders: Progress from shorter to longer repetitions; i.e 200, 400, 600, 800, 1000. Recovery interval can be constant or increase. Ladders can also be run long to short.
    • Pyramids: An up and down ladder together, i.e. 400, 600, 800, 600, 400. Advanced runners may be able to do multiple pyramids.
    • Cut-downs: Designed to improve one’s finishing kick. Several longer repeats are done to create fatigue, then the runner performs shorter, faster reps to develop the ability to run hard when tired.
    • ‘Ins-and-Outs’: Usually done over a mile or longer, accelerate the straightaways and jog the turns, or sprint 50 metres, jog 60.
  • Group Interval Training Options:
    • Indian Runs: As everyone runs in single file, the last person in line sprints to the front. When he gets there, the next person goes, and so on.
    • Relay Races: Pick teams, then pick a lane, then pick a workout. Try six times 400 metres with two-person teams, the last place team buys refreshments.
    • Handicapping: ‘The last shall be first and the first shall be last.’ Runners stagger their start of each repetition by ability level, from slowest to fastest. The faster runners try to catch the slower ones.

You read more about interval training here.


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