Sprint Intervals

Sprint Intervals are great for a few reasons: they mix up your routine (change usually goes hand-in-hand with progression), they can be fun, and they challenge your pace. Whether you’re looking to get faster, gain endurance, or just change up your boring-old run routine, trying out a sprint interval is a great way to do all three.

While there are many ways to set up your sprint intervals, these are the times I consistantly use:

  • :35 of jogging (55-60% effort)
  • :15 SPRINT (90-95% effort)
  • :10 walk (10% effort)

One of the nice things about this set-up is it is sixty-seconds long. So, if you want to go out for a 3.0 mile or 30 minute run, your routine could look something like this:

  • 10 minute / 1 mile warm-up
  • 10 Sprint Intervals
  • 10 minute / 1 mile (or whatever you have left after your intervals) cool-down

Your warm-up and cool-down should consist of building up your pace and then decreasing it, and most importantly listening to your body (which feels differently about running everyday).

I use my Tabata timer for iPhone app to set up my intervals. It should look like this:


The prepare time is your jog, work is sprint, and rest is walk. In order to get the preparation time during all ten Tabatas, you must set the Cycles to “1” and the Tabatas to “10” or maybe “15” if you’re feeling frisky.


If you’re in training for a run and have a plan, stick to your plan. If you are the master of your own routine, I’d say putting sprint intervals into your routine every week or every-other week is sufficient. After a few weeks, you can up your “Tabatas”. Maybe setting out for a 4.0 mile run that includes 15 sprint intervals. Also try a “Fartlek” as another fun way to mix up your pace. Most importantly: Listen to your body.


This is my first official “running” post, so I might as well make it memorable!

Although I have been “training” since I arrived on Sao Miguel Island just over four months ago (quatro meses), I just officially started my training plan for the second annual Nike Women’s DC Half Marathon. Last year I set a new PR of 1:56 and this year I’m hoping to crush it.

Monday marked Day One with a 3.0 mile warm-up. I have been averaging between 35-40 miles a week for at least the last two months, and my first week of NWM training consists of only 25. So far, so good.

My second day of training was a 5.0 mile Fartlek, which means “speed play” in Swedish, but fartlek is obviously a much better word. It keeps the fun in running, which I am all about.

After a one-mile warm-up (on which I took our 3.5-year-old Siberian Husky, Romeo), which was more likely 1.25 miles because I paused my watch to let Romeo do his business and I guess I forgot to un-pause it. I looked down a few blocks later, cursed, and un-paused it.

After I dropped Romeo off, I set my Tabata for 3:00 of work and 2:00 of “rest”, for 6 rounds (30:00 total), and finished what was left of my 5th mile with a “cool-down”.


A fartlek, unlike my Sprint Intervals, uses two speeds: fast and slow (recovery). The 3:00 interval was supposed to be run at a “faster pace” (I’d say 80-85% effort; full-out sprinting being 100%) and the 2:00 “rest” interval was to be run at a “slower, steady pace” (I’d say 60% effort).

I felt awesome! I turned it up a few notches in my “fast” intervals and felt faster during my “recovery” periods than I do at a steady pace for 5.0 miles. I was not sure how it was going to go, but I will say I am now looking forward to the Fartleks ahead.