image description

Training & advice

New Interval Training sessions

To improve your running what do you need to do? Maintenance of a faster pace for a longer period of time would surely get you better results and bring your running handicap down. Some of the physical performance factors include VO2 Max (the amount of oxygen you can use whilst you run) and lactate threshold (the pace you can run at until there is too much lactic acid in your blood that your body can clear). So it would be great if you could improve your VO2 max and your velocity at VO2max (vVO2max) and the time you can run at vVO2max (tlimvVO2max).

This session develops your natural running rhythms and is called the 'New Interval Training' by its innovator, Peter Thompson (please see a link to the website below). When carrying out this session you run repetitions at paces that shift the emphasis more to the lactate energy system and then have a very active 'roll-on' during the recovery interval. Thompson states that this develops a "synergistic relationship between the lactate and aerobic energy systems".

The session trains the body to use and clear the lactate more efficiently that may accumulate as the intensity of exercise increases. Your body is able to use lactate as a fuel. Producing lactate and acid doesn’t slow you down, in fact you are producing lactate and acid all of the time but your body is able to clear it when you are operating at low intensities. When you run at high intensities you are not able to clear it fast enough and so you have to slow down. Accumulation is the key. If you train to use and clear the lactate, you will accumulate less and are able to run at higher intensities for longer.

The traditional way of improving specific endurance and speed-endurance is to run repetitions with jog or walk recoveries and the focus is on the distance or time run during the 'effort', the repetition. The New Interval Training session focuses more on using an active, 'roll-on' recovery interval and so either the effort can't be at too high an intensity or the pace of the effort is maintained and more, smaller sets are used. When a runner performs the session well he or she has a smooth transition between the effort of the repetition and the roll-on and vice versa. The roll-on is not a slow run or a jog but a natural relaxed, steady pace, the pace of the repetition is not flat out but comfortably fast. The whole session should be run with good rhythm.

To try this session you could start by changing pace from a 300m repetition to a 100m roll-on and back again. As you get more used to this session your roll-on recovery intervals will naturally become faster but they should never be ‘forced’. Just practice playing with the paces before or you risk the session becoming 'one paced'. A common error is for novices of the session to go off too fast and be too fatigued to run the roll-on at a steady pace or to have no difference between the effort and the roll-on.

When you feel you have conquered the pacing of the session, have a go at 2 x 3 x 400m repetitions at say, 10k effort, 200m roll-on, 400m 10k effort, 200m roll-on 400m 10k effort and finishing the set with the 200m roll-on with 3 - 4 minutes recovery between the sets. From here you could gradually increase this session until you are able to cover more than a mile whilst fluctuating between 400m repetitions and 200m roll-ons (or perhaps 100m or 300m roll-ons) and perhaps do 2-3 sets of them. The distances don't really matter and it could be done by time instead of distance.

For more information or education about this training method please go to