3 minute efforts with gradual pace increase

Tuesday 23rd June 2020, 7:00:pm

Your Local Park
or a wide stretch of pavement
or another suitable location

Session aim/goal

This session will work on your overall fitness and running endurance. It will give you an opportunity to test yourself at setting your running pace.

Target energy system

You will be training your lactic and aerobic energy systems.

Session warm up

Complete your own warm up to get ready for the session. Include some exercises to slowly raise your heart rate appropriate for your level of fitness and the session you're about to follow. Include some dynamic movement to gently increase the range of body movement. Use this time to think about the session, to prepare your mind for exercise and set your intention.

Main session

Mark yourself a distance which takes about 3 minutes to cover with an easy jog.

  • Rep 1: run the distance, aiming to take around 2 minutes 45 seconds;
  • Rest for 90 seconds;
  • Rep 2: run the distance, aiming to take around 2 minutes 30 seconds;
  • Rest for 90 seconds;
  • Rep 3: run the distance, aiming to take around 2 minutes 15 seconds;
  • Rest for 90 seconds;

Continue this pattern, aiming to complete each rep 15 seconds quicker than the last.

Give yourself a good 90 seconds or more rest between each rep.

When you can no longer shave off another 15 seconds, either end the session there or start again from 3 minutes.

Aim for the whole session to last around 30-40 minutes.

Session cool down

Gently bring your heart rate back down. If you wish, include some gentle stretching.


During the cool down, take a few moments to think about how the session went.

  • Did you enjoy it?
  • Did you learn anything interesting about your running?
  • How easy do you find it to manage your pace?
  • Is running slowly harder than you might expect?
  • How does your running style change as you get quicker?
  • Does your arm movement change?

Session format

For these alternative speedwork sessions, you will need some sort of timing device and some landmarks to run between, such as trees, park benches, etc. The sessions have times for which you should aim to run between these two markers. As part of your warm up, make a mental note of your starting landmark then time yourself doing an easyish run/jog for the stated time: whichever landmark you get when the time has elapsed is your end marker. Use these two markers for the rest of the session.

As always, please remember to stay mindful of your health and safety and that of those around you.