Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Repetitions / Interval Training

Repetition sessions (reps) / Interval training are used by most running clubs and are described as repeated lengths of exercise followed by short rest periods. Depending on the intensity of the reps the athlete can work either mostly the anaerobic or aerobic energy systems.  The main reason for athletes using repetition sessions is to train at a more intense pace for longer than they would be able to using a continuous running method.

For 5k training the amount of reps can be anything from 3 to 30, but should not really be any longer than 1mile in distance. The reps can be run straight through or broken up into sets with a longer rest period between each set.

The benefits of using rep sessions are that the athlete’s body will adapt to cope with lactic build up, as well as increase its ability to deliver and use oxygen. Reps  can also reduce the risk of repetitive injuries associated with longer continuous running, as well as the typical running benefits such as weight loss.

These types of sessions should ideally make up at least two of your training sessions every three weeks and be around 10 - 20% of your total amount of training.

Below are 2 sessions used by a previous Amateur Athletic Association 5000m winner:

20 x 400m with 60s recovery between each (which can be split into 4 sets of 5 400m).

8 x 800m with 90s recovery between each (which can be split into 2 sets of 4 800m).


  1. Also try 6 x 1 mile reps with 90's recovery, it's a good challenging 5k session

  2. Could also try 2 x 12 min runs at 5K pace with a 1 minute walking recovery on hilly terrain. Or 16 x 400m with 30 second recovery

  3. yes 2 x 12 minutes is a good long interval session which can sometimes be used instead of a tempo run.