"The most significant advance in running training since the original interval training."

"If you want to understand today, you have to search yesterday." Pearl Buck

History of New Interval Training

Read the history below or click on any topic above to go directly to that section.

Spreading the Word

From 1990 I worked for almost eight years for the International Association of Athletics Federations, the international governing body for Track & Field Athletics, as the International Project Leader for the IAAF Coaches Education and Certification System, CECS. In 1991 I wrote the IAAF CECS Level I text, Introduction to Coaching Theory and in 1995, the Level II text, Intermediate Coaching Theory. During these years I remained an active coach with a squad of regional and national level endurance athletes but the travel commitments for the IAAF meant that I could not responsibly continue to coach an Olympic level ‘high performance’ group.

However, I was now in a situation to influence a great number of coaches internationally and an even greater number of athletes from the IAAF’s 213 Member Federations. As I travelled around the globe for the IAAF to present courses and workshops for coaches and athletes I was placed in a privileged position to spread the word about the new understanding of the role and function of lactate, among many other topics. This also provided a platform to speak on the Endurance event group courses about how training might be more effective through using Lactate Dynamics Training and the New Interval Training. Additionally, the CECS course materials were translated into the seven languages of the IAAF system: English, French, Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Arabic and Portuguese and, operating out of the IAAF’s network of Regional Development Centres, many other high level coaches who were qualified IAAF Lecturers spread the word in all these languages. The individuals and groups I coached through this period in the UK all improved but it was really the lecturers, coaches and athletes who had attended the IAAF courses and camps and had taken on board the potential of the New Interval Training method who really spread the word. And these were many.

In the 2000s I was placed in a position to influence the coach education materials of UK Athletics and Athletics Australia as well as the IAAF and European Athletics Coaches Association. This culminated in a return in 2007 to work full-time once more for the IAAF where the latest concepts and practice could be incorporated into the coach education materials at all levels of a new 5-level system. Coaches came, heard, saw the impact of the New Interval Training method and those who chose, put it into practice. You can read and share just some of their experiences and successes on the ‘Who uses it?’ page.

The Future...

We should never be blind to the fact that we will have a different viewpoint in the future. Coaches should not stop following their intuition to experiment and to innovate. But for now, the research has come to explain the reason why varied pace training works and specifically, identified why New Interval Training works, where the training effect actually takes place and how it can be best structured to improve performance. Using this for method is ‘best practice’, for now.

Historical Summary of Session Development

A summary of the progression of a couple of similar track sessions through the decades shows how I have incorporated various influences into the structure of the training over time:

Sample Track Session 1

early 70s:

Even paced training, no sets, target times and relatively long, passive recoveries
15 x 400 (68”) [90”]

70s - 80s:

Introduction of ‘Kenyan Intervals’, sets, but still target times and long passive recoveries
3 x 5 x 400 (straights @ 66”, bends @70”) [90”]

80s - 90s:

‘Kenyan Intervals’, introduction of perceived pace, then active recoveries – New Interval Training
3 x 4 x 500 (straights @ 3000 pace, bends @ 5000 pace) [200m roll-on and 5’]

90s - 10s:

New Interval Training and deliberately introducing Lactate Dynamics Training into the reps
3 x 4 x 500 (within each set: 5000 pace, 1500 pace, 5000 pace, 3000 pace) [100m roll-on and 5’]

Sample Track Session 2

early 70s: 6 x 800 (2:06) [90”]
70s - 80s: 5 x {800 (200 @ 2:02 pace, 200 @ 2:10 pace) [60”] 300 (46”)} [3’]
80s - 90s: 3 x 2 x 800 (200 @ 1500 pace, 200 @ 3000 pace) [200m roll-on and 3’]
90s - 10s: 5 x {800 (3000 pace) [100m roll-on] 300 (1500 pace)} [200m roll-on]
Click below to download the IAAF Standardised Session Shorthand
download pdf

Obviously, the sessions within the programmes can have a much greater variety than indicated here by two sessions and that has always been the case with the programmes I have constructed. Rather than follow a particular session and develop that session over a mesocycle or number of mesocycles I generally change the structure of sessions from microcycle to microcycle to provide variety of pace, distance and loading, the interplay of intensity, volume and recovery. Because of the nature of perceived effort, the variety of distances and paces trains the athlete’s mental focus as well as their physical capacities.

Note: This website concentrates on just one aspect in the preparation of a distance athlete, the reasoned application of Lactate Dynamics Training and New Interval Training to metabolic system development. Any development of the metabolic energy systems must go hand-in-hand with development of the kinetic energy capacities of the athlete. A skilled, ‘elastic’ athlete with good reactive strength capacities will always outperform another athlete of equal metabolic abilities due to the metabolic energy-sparing role of functional reactive strength.

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