Time for something a little more challenging – introducing the ladder. A ladder is a series of increasing or diminishing interval distances which helps you practice pace conservation for various race distances, helps you hone mid- and end-of-race surges, and teaches your body how to move quickly with accumulated fatigue. Ladders can be done with any combination of distances, for example 1 mile x 800m recover, 2 mile x 800m recovery, 3 mile x 800m recover, but it’s much more common to begin with short distances, progress to longer distances and then return to short distances. Finishing with short intervals leaves you more refreshed for your next training session and focuses the workout on running quickly after a few demanding intervals. The last pair of short intervals should be run as fast as or slightly faster than the first pair and should be done at about 15 seconds per mile faster than your current 5K race pace. The middle of the ladder should be run at about 5K race pace or just slightly faster. Keep interval recovery periods equal in length to the work period. For those using heart rate as a reference, the short intervals should be at about 90-95% VO2Max while the longest intervals should be run at high tempo pace at about 75-80% VO2Max.
Warmup: 10 minutes, include arm circles, reaches and upper body warmup as well as running
Beginner session: 2 x 100m x 100m, 2 x 200m x 200m, 2 x 400m x 400m, 2 x 200m x 200m, 2 x 100m x 100m
Advanced session: 4 x 100m x 100m, 4 x 200m x 200m, 2 x 400m x 400m, 4 x 200m x 200m, 6 x 100m x 100m
Cooldown: 10 minutes followed by some basic running drills – butt kicks, high knees, skipping, heel slides – no more than 100m each