800m Intervals

Please read the disclaimer.

We do 800m intervals during the competitive season, in order to improve our race speed over our target distances, and in order to improve our stamina in maintaining race speed. The speed that you should do 800m intervals at, is your 2000m race speed, or just a little steadier – beteween 95% and 100% of 2000m race speed. The recoveries, in the first instance, should be enough to get your breath back (and your heart rate down to about 120/minute, if you are wearing a monitor). This should feel like the hardest training session you do! You should be fresh and not achy to get the best out of it and you will probably feel tired and achy the next day.

To get the best from this session :

– no exercising to exhaustion in the 48 hours before – no race, and no hard running / walking / cycling / swimming sessions

– wear light clothing and not too much of it, e.g. vest, shorts, racing shoes, sports watch if you have one.

– warm up fully for a training session, i.e. at least 10 minutes.

– start knowing what your target time is for 800m, and how many you are going to do.

– time target should be based on your 2000m time, as given here. Start off aiming for the STEADIEST end of the range.

– how many ? 4 if you are targeting a 3000m race, 6 for a 5000m, 8 (the most we can reasonably do on a weeknight) for 10k or more.

– if you belt off on the first and second ones and beat the fastest time in the range, but end up too tired to do ALL your intervals within the STEADIEST time of the range, then it has been a session to learn from, rather than a good session !

– to keep yourself on your target speed, have a watch on which you can see seconds, and know how fast you want to do each 100m (see the table above) in order to hit your target time for 800.


OK, I’ve done my target number of intervals within the steadiest time in the range given – how do I progress ?

– firstly – move your times from the steady end of the range to the fast end !

– second – when you can do your target number at the fastest target speed, you start reducing your recovery times between each interval.

– thirdly – if you want to do each interval faster than your current fastest target speed, you should do a 2000m race or time trial and set a new PB or SB !

A good session with this sort of training will see you doing a total of 6400 metres at your 2000m race pace. This is quite an achievement and should help make you more than capable of a faster 5k or 10k time in your next race!

Did you read the disclaimer ?



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