In our never ending efforts to de-mystify running jargon and bring you the new and interesting sessions to shake up your training we bring you Cruise Intervals! What intervals? A mainstay of Jack Daniels training plans Cruise Intervals are a great bridge to faster training. Let Luke Coleman shed some light for you…

Are you are looking to make the leap from easy running to sessions but find the track a little daunting? Or tired of your usual tempo runs and are looking to shake up your training? Cruise intervals are just one way of changing it up to provide great benefits to your training.

The track doesn't have to be for short, sharp work

So what are Cruise intervals?

Cruise intervals are basically a way of breaking up a tempo run to allow you to run at this threshold level for longer with less injury risk.

Benefits of Cruise Tempo/ Cruise Intervals?

It is thought that by training at this level, you can gradually increase the body’s capacity to produce energy aerobically and increasing performance in all aerobic based distance races (did you know 5k is almost 95% aerobic!).Threshold runs are an excellent way to improve your 10km race performances.

How to do Cruise Intervals?

A typical cruise interval session usually consists of repetition distances such as 1 mile to 2k (though some people do use a little longer or shorter depending on their preference as low as 800m). These are different from normal intervals as they are run at roughly your 10 mile – Half Marathon pace in a trained athlete. The key is the recoveries which are to be kept very short (anything between 30 sec to 2 min).

The key to cruise intervals is to resist the temptation to go too fast. This is deliberately not a maximum effort workout. As you become fitter, these runs should become easier, until you review your pace. You should not go as fast as you can from one week to the next: as you feel stronger, you should try to achieve the same pace and distance with less effort.

Will I not lose out on benefits of Tempo by taking rest periods?

One of the great things about cruise interval’s is they provide the body with the same stimulus as a normal tempo run (provided that the recovery is kept short). The short recoveries keep your heart rate at the high level to ensure that even between reps your body is still working at threshold level.

Example Sessions:

3-5 x 1 mile @10 mile – Half Marathon Pace with 1 min recovery

2-5 x 2 k @10 mile – Half Marathon Pace with 90 second recovery

6-10 x 800m @ 10 mile -Half Marathon Pace with 30 seconds recovery

Tip: Aim to keep the session between 20-40 minutes

The tendency is to treat them like regular long intervals. However, keep it under control and work on a smooth, fast rhythm. Control in training is the key to improvement. Threshold-pace running delivers significant training benefits but still leaves you fresh from day to day. In running, there’s little to match the good feeling and great results of “cruising'” through a workout.

Cruise intervals are a popular method used by American Running coach Jack Daniels over the last 20-30 years.

2 thoughts on “Running Basics – Cruise Intervals

  1. Hey Luke, when you say recovery, is it recommended to rest or jog for the recovery period?

  2. With cruise intervals i would jog the recoveries. The idea is that you keep the heart rate up in between the reps so the body is still working just as hard without the increased injury risk of continuous running

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