How to Run Standard Track Intervals

Standard Track Intervals

Standard Track Intervals are the bread and butter of a runners training program. They not only create strength and endurance, but provide confidence and knowledge of the pace and speed you are capable of running. While multiple variations of track intervals exist, such as Ladder and Mixed Track Intervals or extreme Armageddon Track Intervals, there is no substitute for standard interval training for runners of all levels.

Why Run Standard Track Intervals

From a physical standpoint, Standard Track Intervals increase speed, strength, and endurance. These components are worked during different phases of the interval training session. Speed is relative to the distance you are training at. Generally, when running track intervals you are training at shorter distances in repetition than your desired race distance.

As an example, if you are training for a 5K and running 400 meter repeats on the track, the 400 meter workout pace will be faster than your mile pace for a 5K. Once you go to run a mile, you will have more speed since your body is trained to move faster than your regular mile pace.


Often confused with speed, the strength aspect of Standard Track Intervals is the required force to propel yourself forward and increase your leg strength and stride. This is essential for running efficiency as running strength allows a runner to cover more distance with each stride with less energy being expended for maximum running efficiency. It also assists with core strength to maintain proper form, especially in later parts of a race.


Endurance comes into play beyond the interval, and into the recovery period between each interval. It is imperative to not stop or jog too slowly during your recovery as keeping this at a reasonable tempo, perhaps 50-70% of your last interval, provides endurance gains while allowing running control (i.e. speeding up or slowing down without breaking your overall pace).

Mental and Emotional Strength

On equal footing to the physical gains of Standard Track Intervals, are the mental and emotional aspects. Running confidence is built by knowing the pace and speed you can run at, or possibly exceed, while emotionally being able to respond to surges or slowdowns in a race. When someone surges ahead, and you know your pace and that you have just run a fast 400 meter in practice, you will be ready to respond without doubt! Combine this with the mental toughness gained from intervals and you have a complete running package for race day.

Running Track
Running Track

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I have been a lifelong fitness student and enthusiast ever since winning the gold at conference in the 100 butterfly and 200 IM back in my “glory days.” I am also a writer and the marketing wizard here at My Top Fitness. I have an ever-growing list of interests, including swimming, running, golf, bowling, speedcubing, speed running (old Nintendo games), locksport, cooking, chess, tournament poker, fishing, hiking, camping, and sleight of hand, just to name a few. On some platforms, you can find me as the self-appointed “Jack of all Hobbies” I am a proud husband and father of 2 children, a.k.a. gremlins, and I am super excited to help as many people as possible on their individual fitness journeys.