In a previous article we talked about the best type of interval training for burning fat. Today we're going to discuss the best type of interval training to improve your running performance.

Specificity, specificity, specificity!

The key to achieving the best running results from your interval training workouts is to set-up your training runs so that they closely match the energy demands of your actual race pace.

For instance, running a 5k can be very demanding if you give it your all. The 5k is usually run at a pace that is close to 80-85% of your maximum heart rate. As such, this type of run can lead to build up a lactic acid and fatigue fairly quickly, especially if you aren't prepared properly.

Most advanced 5k runners can run a 5k in anywhere from 15 to 18 minutes. Believe me, that's very fast! That means that over a 5k distance, their pace would equate to 3 to 3.5 minutes/km.

So if you take an average pace of 3.5 minutes/km that means that means that you'd have train at that pace (or faster) to best prepare yourself for the energy demands of that run.

For obvious reasons, this may be tough for many intermediate 5k runners at first, but the good news is that with proper training one can achieve such goals. If you're not used to running a 3.5 minute/km then it will be very tough to maintain that pace for longer than a minutes at most - at least initially.

So instead of going all out and hitting the wall, you can break up your training runs into intervals that mimic your goal pace while allowing yourself to recover in between.

If you want to run your 5k in 18 minutes then you could train using the following interval training workouts 3-4 times per week:


5 minutes (talk test pace)

Interval Training Workout:
2 minutes at 5k pace (ie. 3.5 minutes/km) : 1 minute recovery jog
Repeat for a total of 9 intervals or 27 minutes.

Running this workout for 27 minutes would mean that you would be at your 5k race pace for the desired 18 minutes (because we've broken it up with recovery bouts).

Once you've followed this interval training workout for 2-3 weeks you should be ready to move onto the following (more challenging) interval training run that will get you ready for your 5k race.


5 minutes (talk test pace)

Interval Training Workout:
3 minutes at 110% of 5k pace (ie. 3 minutes/km) : 30 second recovery jog
Repeat this interval 6 times for a total of 21 minutes

This second workout more closely resembles your desired 5k race pace because your running faster than you would in the race and you give your body less time to recover.
After all, when do you get to recover in an actual 5k race? Never! Furthermore, you're also maintaining this pace of longer than the previous workout (3 vs. 2 minutes).

The goal with these workouts is to get your body (cardiovascular system and legs, specifically) accustomed to running at or faster than your race pace for longer periods of time while allowing less recovery over time. As a result, you will be ready to run your 5k race and find it easier to run compared to your interval training runs!

And who doesn't like that?

Give these a shot and enjoy.

Author's Bio: 

Fitness Expert, Yuri Elkaim helps millions of busy health conscious individuals lose fat while bettering their running performance with just 2 interval training runs per week. Watch his new You Tube Video for a complete guided interval training workout! And as a special bonus, you'll receive a FREE special offer to receive one of Yuri’s FREE Treadmill Trainer™ iPod running workouts to help you get fit and running faster with just 2 short runs per week!