800m Intervals - What do you do?

I've read a lot of differing information but I'm keen to know what more experienced runners are doing their 800m intervals in compared to their 10k pace.

For what its worth I'm around 38 mins for a 10k and my 6 x 800m track intervals come in around 2:48 with 90 secs recovery. Am I on the money or are you doing them faster/slower with jogging between each?




  • Speed seems there abouts - I dont worry so much about the recovery  - for me the key is the interval - so I walk or jog whatever and I'll take longer than 90 if needs be - I go when I'm recovered rather than according to the clock. 

  • Cougie sorry I disagree with you with regard to recovery it's the most important part.

    Cop-out 90 secs good recovery interval you should be targeting race pace if your doing 2.48 and training for a 10k then I would suggest your 10k is due some revision rather than slow down increase number of reps to 8 and try and maintain pace.

    I'm currently a 33.30 10k runner and usually go for 8 reps 60 sec recovery around 2.30 pace I'm told by faster boys than me who have been there and done it that recovery interval very important waiting until your fully recovered replicates nothing other than fast individual reps!!

  • PhilPubPhilPub ✭✭✭

    I suppose it depends what the intervals are intended for.  On the one hand, it looks like your intervals times are very much "in line" performance wise with your 10k time, but that's not to say 6 x 800m w/90 secs recovery is the ideal session for 10k fitness.  I say that, it depends entirely what other training you're doing.  IMO it's a fairly low number of reps with average length recovery, which I'd be aiming to run at something like 3k pace, and if you did, say, an additional tempo interval session during the week specifically targetting 10k pace, then you've got a couple of bases covered. 

    On the other hand, if you can use it as a starting point for either increasing the number of reps or shortening the rest as robT suggests, that would also be a good way to progress.

  • Cop-out

    I'm a bit slower than you at the moment, with a 10k best of 41:39 (although I hope to hit the sub-40 mark at the end of June)

    I'm currently training for a marathon, so haven't done any track work for a bit, but when I was doing this type of session in early March, I was aiming to do 800m reps in between 2:55 -3:00, probably with 90 second - 2 minutes recovery.


  • Ta for the ideas RobT - I'll try and mix it up in future. Clearly you're doing something right to run 33 mins ! image

  • Stevie  GStevie G ✭✭✭

    Like Pub Phil says, it does all depend on what the session is in aid of.

    If you're doing it to get used to 10k pace you're completely doing it way too fast as the below shows.

    38:00 min 10k = 6.06 per mile, which would be 800s in 3:01 (6.06/2 -2secs for full mile)

    a 2.48 800 is 5.39 ish miling pace, which would give a 35.10 10k! I actually recognised the 2.48 straight away, as that was my designated 800 pace for 10k based sessions!

    If you're aiming to develop your session into a 10k based session, i've a real doozy for you. It progressively builds from

    4x1200 at 10k pace laps, 800 at steady pace
    5x1200 at 10k pace, 800 at steady
    4x1600 at 10k pace, 800 at steady
    4x1600 at 10k pace, 400 at steady

    once you come through that 4th week, you'll know you're in pb shape.

    The key is to get your correct paces. For instance, at the time, as a 35.20 man, my 10k laps were 1.24, and my steady was 1.45.

    If you set off at 1.24 pace, you won't come close to completing the 1st session, so i'd recommend you use  1.30 for your 10k pace (ie slightly quicker than current fitness), and perhaps 1.51 as your steady.

    These are demanding sessions as you in effect don't get any rest, you just get to treat the steady laps as the rest.

    However, successful completion of those 4 progressive sessions will guarantee you a pb.

    The bigger challenges are when you've been racing for 10years or so, and each chunk you take off might be the last image

  • Stevie G how the hell are you? Good sound advice as normal image
  • Stevie  GStevie G ✭✭✭

    Howdy mate. Not bad. Will make a grand return at some stage image

  • Thanks for the input as always image

    I'll be printing off the advice given as i've never done anything like the session posted by SG.

    I've always believed the recovery bit was the important bit too. Like you said robT, it seems that you are just training to run fast intervals. 3k pace is a bit faster that I'm doing Phil. About 7secs per 800m which I just don't think I have at the mo.

    I'm knocking out 50-55 miles a week including 1 x 15miler, 4 mile tempo at 10k pace, 6 x 800m intervals as above. I shall mix it up a bit and see what comes out the other end.

  • Stevie  GStevie G ✭✭✭

    4miles continuously at 10k pace?

    Sounds pretty damm hard to me. I'm not sure I've done more than 1mile at 10k pace outside of reps/intervals.

    I'd suggest a more reasonable tempo session would be 6-7miles at MP.

    That's a medium hard pace, but you feel the benefits, without monstering yourself.

    If you can complete 4miles at 10k pace, and not be smashed to pieces, I'd suggest that your 10k pace is seriously fat, or you're working to the wrong paces.

  • Interesting SG....

    You see I've always suffered from bad cardiac drift and my last 2 miles in a 10k are the issue. 4 miles at 10k pace are tough but do-able. Here is a take out of my last 4 miles at 10k pace on my treadmill at 1% gradient.

    1 x mile @ 8 m/m - 63% av.MHR

    1 x 6:07m/m av 80% av.MHR

    1 x 6:07m/m av 86% av.MHR

    1 x 6:07m/m av 89% av.MHR

    1x 6:07m/m av 91%av.MHR

    1 x mile at 8:30m/m 80% av.MHR

  • Stevie  GStevie G ✭✭✭

    I'm quite surprised you can produce 4miles at 10k pace, off a 1mile warm up! No wonder that heart of yours looks to quickly be heading towards meltdown in those percentages.

    A 3mile warm up would get you properly warmed up...I'm sure "The Force" won't mind you taking 14mins extra if time is the problem.

    Would be interested to see how a similar session would come out on the road, or even on the track.

    No expert on treadmills, and what the 1% is supposed to do? Presumably add in what you'd face in air resistance, or non 100% smooth course on the road?

    You race on the road though, seems best case to train on the road, don't you think?



  • PhilPubPhilPub ✭✭✭

    Whilst I'm definitely not in the "treadmills are useless" camp, I do think there are a couple of good reasons for doing this sort of thing on the road if you can.  Firstly, if you're going by HR, I'm not sure that you would see the same pattern over something like a tempo run.  Depending on the temperature in the gym, I would expect to see my HR to continue creeping up on the treadmill, where it would level off more in the open air.  Secondly, the relative easiness of running on the treadmill compared to the road (ignoring any correcting factors you might think of such as using a slight gradient) changes according to pace, i.e. the faster you run, the more benefit you're getting from not having to overcome wind resistance.

    Besides all of that, tempo running on the road really helps you develop pace judgment that you don't even have to think about on a treadmill, which is good for hitting the right paces in training, and more obviously for races themselves.

  • The rule of thumb is to take equal or slightly less recovery, so lets say you run 800meter in 3mins you would than take upto 3mins to recover, intervals are not about speed but more v02max which takes around two mins to reach and done at about 3-4kpace, so for 3min 800meter you would spend 1min at v02max on each intervals, the longer the interval or shorter the recovery the more time you can rank up at v02max.I put it into prospective for you, for 6x800meter with 3min recovery 18mins worth of hard running you would spend about 6mins at v02max infact you can pretty much guarantee 6 mins at v02max even if you are fully recovered before the next interval, yes i know my example is not ideal but it gives you the idea.

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