Coached Interval Sessions

Why Do them?

The simple answer is to increase your speed. If you only ever run at a steady pace, you will only ever be good at running steadily.  You may improve your fitness and endurance, but your speed will remain the same. 


By regularly running at a higher effort level than is usually comfortable, you will over time increase your tolerance to lactic acid build-up in your muscles (which can be felt as a hot, burning sensation).  This increased tolerance helps you to run further for longer and ultimately at a faster pace.

Imagine having an extra gear during a race so you can overtake with confidence, and finish strongly.


Of course, it also means that by attending another club session regularly, you are getting better value for money from your membership subscription!


What is involved?

Track sessions are basically interval sessions, which are sets of hard efforts interspersed with suitable recovery or rest periods. 


This year we have designed co-ordinated summer track session plan incorporating all the old favourites (!), but it is incremental in that the sessions are progressively harder.  They incorporate a coached warm-up, followed  by the main session, then a cool-down and stretches. Sessions generally last an hour. 

Effort level is generally ‘hard’ which is between 75-95% of maximal effort. There are many scales of measuring perceived effort but one of the simplest is the talk test. If you can talk in sentences during each run interval then you’re not pushing hard enough.  You should not even want to talk and only be able to get a few words out if required.  Each session may have slightly different effort level requirement, dependant on the interval distances involved, but your coaches will explain what is required for each session.


The Science Bit

The whole point of these sessions is to engage the anaerobic energy system (anaerobic=without oxygen - normally you run mostly using your aerobic energy system which uses oxygen), which triggers the release of lactic acid into the muscles. Over time your body will gradually get better at getting rid of the lactic acid and so result in increased performance.



Do’s and Don’ts

To get the most out of interval sessions, you need to:


1.Do not exercise before the session – it’s no good turning up to an interval session just having done a 20 mile bike ride.   You just won’t get the benefit it is designed for.

2. Do ensure you’ve had sufficient to eat and drink thoughout the day – if your body has no fuel and is poorly hydrated you’re asking for trouble.

3. Do ensure you turn up in time for the warm-up – as the session is much more intense it is crucial you’re muscles are fully warmed up by one of our coaches. Jogging to the track is NOT a suitable warm-up for these sessions.

4. Do allow sufficient recovery time after the session – recovery is an essential part of training, and anyone ‘going out for a 5-miler to top-up on the distance’ shows complete lack of understanding about what the session is trying to achieve.






Falmouth Road Runners, Falmouth Sports Club, Western Terrace, Falmouth TR11 4QJ
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