Interval training

Hi I'm training to be able to do trail and fell runs, not planning on entering any race just yet, I'm just doing it for the enjoyment of being in the outdoors and the feeling of personal achievement.

Anyway, I'm doing interval training on treadmill, I do 2 mins walking at 4mph, 2 mins jog at 6mph and then 2 mins at 7.5mph, all on an incline of 2.0. Today I reached my target of 5 intervals so I upped the speed in the last minute to 8mph and did an extra 30 secs too. Is this a good way to do interval training and now that I have hit my target should I up the speed next time or up the incline?


  • Hi Mike, a newbie here so take this with a pinch of saltimage

    You want to run trails and fells but are running on a treadmill? why? surely it would be best if you went outside and ran on trails and fells? As for intervals, your not really doing them as I understand them, do a slowish warm up then run, no need to do intervals when your just starting imho.

  • MillsyMillsy ✭✭✭
    Mike, Andi seems to have it spot on.

    If you are new to running just work on building a good aerobic base through regular steady running before moving on to specific sessions etc.
  • Hi thanks for the replys

    i am doing trails and outdoor 10k and 5k runs as well as treadmill. I'm just doing these interval sessions after my weights routine in the gym to build my fitness. Is this not the right way to do intervals then?

  • My 10k pace is pretty much 60 mins exactly if this is any indication of what level I'm at...

  • Hi Mike, I'm not a coach or an expert on different types of training, so can't really advise you on what you should be doing. But I think you need to think about what the purpose of the session is - if it is really just 'to build fitness', then I'm not sure what you're doing is optimal. You might consider warming up gently then perhaps running at a slightly harder pace but for a longer time, then cooling down.

    Also, you describe 6mph as a 'jog', but it is not actually very much slower than your 10k pace, which is 6.2mph. How comfortable does that pace feel? Presumably since you say you're not interested in races, it's not a race time, so it's hard to judge your level without knowing how hard you're working for that time. And how hard does 7.5mph (8 mins/mile) feel when you do it for 2 mins?

  • Hi I guess it's different on the treadmill cause I've already done a big compound workout with squats and dead lifts etc. so I'm already pretty spent tbh. If I was fresh it probably wouldn't seem as hard but by the end of say 3 of the above intervals but with 8mph instead of 7.5 I'm blummin knackered after the weights as well!! At the end of my 10k I feel like i do have to speed up to complete it in an hour... But of course that 6mph pace feels harder over a longer distance outdoors.

    I really feel like my legs are doing enough distance running for them to cope with at the moment, I'm still trying to condition the tendons etc to it. Therefor I wanted to introduce interval sessions so if can still be working on my fitness whilst my legs aren't taking quite such a beating!

  • In that case, if you want to work on aerobic fitness while saving your legs, could you just do something else, e.g. go on a bike or something instead? That way the tendons etc. would get a chance to recover but you'd still be doing something useful for your running.

  • MillsyMillsy ✭✭✭
    If you think your legs are at the limit of their capability with the distances you are doing at the moment then I would reccomend that you don't start doing intervals until your legs can cope.

    You need to build solid foundations before you start building up with intervals.
  • Yeah I guess I could go on the cross trainer. Would you be able to give me any recommendations of interval training on the cross trainer?

  • Afraid not, but the instructors in your gym might have some ideas.

  • Hmm you might be right but it's really more of a meathead type gym, massive weight area and tiny cardio room... Most of the staff seem to smoke and be steroids so not sure they would be the best ones to ask image

  • I don't tend to mix weights and treadmills in the same gym session, other than using the treadmill as warm up tool or for a recovery run (a slow easy run). If you want to do a decent run session at the gym, I would do it on another day. If you want a light run session then do it before using the weights.

    Are you using the weight to support your running? If so, you don't need to be busting a gut with big weights. Lighter weights / high reps would be better imho. There are lots of exercises you can do using smaller weights / kettle bells that the grunts wouldn't do that functionally are more relavant to running.

    As said,  some  steady running, or some time on the cross-trainers / bikes will help your aerobic base at this stage.

  • Ok thanks will bare that in mind. I don't mean to keep bleating on about the same thing but with regards to the interval training, Andi says I'm not actually doing intervals,  what would be the proper way to do them? If possible maybe I could transfer any advice given to the cross trainer to take on board the comments about staying off the treadmill in the gym. I really don't want to be doing long steady paced cardio on the cross trainer as I find it rather boring staring at a brick wall for that length of time! I find intervals passes the time much more quickly.

  • In my honest opinion ditch the weights and keep the running. I know peeps can be pasionate about this so I am not trying to offend I just don't understand why people do it.

    I agree it is not quite an interval session as I know it which usually involve jogging/running at a pace I am  comfortable with and then having intervals at a target pace. Some sessions it is more comfortable intervals than strecthed other it is vice versa.

    If you are running 10k in 60mins then I think intervals are the way to go. However if you need to walk at the end of the stretched interval then it is probably a bit too much in terms of time or pace. 

  • From my limited running background.

    1. Build up the easy stuff (easy paced conversational efforts. Build up over several weeks / months

    2. Introduce some unstructured efforts where you raise the pace for a few seconds through to a few minutes (fartlek)

    3. When things are bedding in, start doing some Tempo running - a sustained period of running quicker than your easy pace

    4. Get a bit technical and start running some Tempo's at threshold pace which will really start helping to improve speed endurance (e.g. 20 - 30mins)

    5. When all that is ticking over, start introducing some interval work at various paces to continue pushing out threshold, and improving VO2

    6. For racing, add in some repeats (short fast work).

    I've been running for 19 months.  1 to 4 is part of my running over those months. I am just starting to introduce some VO2 intervals. Where I tried in the past ligaments and muscles have not reacted well. Things are starting to strengthen up now.

    Easy running plus tempo work will buy you lots of early gains.  As a sample treadmill session, 10 min warm up, 20mins at a comfortably hard pace, 10 min cool down would be productive.  If you 10k time is 60 mins, then run the 20min block at your 10k time.

    As said earlier in the thread, understand the reason why you are running a particular session

     Use the cross trainers to continue to develop your aerobic base. I tend to do my cross training on a rower - just steady efforts, about the same intensity as an easy run. Save yourself for the running if that is the priority.

  • MillsyMillsy ✭✭✭
    i`ve not had such a rapid rise to success as Also - Ran but to support what he says I didnt even look at any sort of Intervals (speedwork) until my 3rd Marathon which was 2 yrs after starting running. I still find it difficult to do lots of speedwork as i pick up most injuries that way, and prefer to do tempo runs or 5k parkruns as my speedwork.

    The time I started to take speedwork on board was when i wanted to break 19mins for 5k and 3hrs for a marathon.
  • Ok I sacked the gym off today and went for a proper run! A 10k cause I hadn't had chance to fit one in this week.. I only managed it in 1:02 cause my calves are absolutely killing right where the Achilles' tendon meets the calf image evidently I've done too much recently. Do I have to rest up for a couple of weeks now or can I do the odd 20 min run? I don't want to risk losing the fitness I've built up so far!!

  • Focus on some stretching of the calves (soleus / gastroc muscles) and some strengthening (google heel drops). Rest up from the running for a few days.

    Also, you seem to be running everything at full pelt. You don't need to beat your 10k time every time you go for a run. Easy running is your friend at this stage. Push things too quickly and things will break. Easy running will develop your aerobic fitness without overly stressing the body.

  • Ok thanks yeah I am pushing myself too much, it's cause I'm like 35 and just realised this passion for running in the hills I wanna be able to do it now but I realise patience is the better way to success.

  • I've signed myself up for a half marathon training program on the runkeeper app, starting in 2 weeks time. I figured if I can take it easy and start back up then doing it properly I will hopefully be ready for it.

    Has anyone any experience of these program's? it's a 6 month one for intermediate. 

  • Mike, sorry for butting in at the start of your thread then not replying (don't receive notifications).

    Looks like you got good replies to your Q's though - I look up to Millsy, Literatin & Also Ran and they always offer sage advice.

    I like the fact you want to run for runnings sake, just take things easy to start. I've only been running for 14 months and live in the Inner Hebrides and not many races here so just run to enjoy the scenery and stay fit (sort of negates my smoking and drinking lol). 

    As for your 6 month training schedule, thats a long time, does it include a longish base building phase? I'm about to finish 18 weeks of my Marathon Plan and using this, my first Marathon to get a time then back to base training over the Winter and if I learnt anything it's that I'm a slow runner and you don't get fit (to run) in a few weeks. Fells will be hard work but am sure if you stick with it you will reap the benefits so good luck.

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