If you want to improve your endurance, run faster for longer, or post a new 5k personal best, then look no further than ‘pyramid sessions’.

The theory behind pyramid sessions, is you run at a high intensity, alternated with periods of low intensity to recovery, and repeat at varying distances, all in a single session.

There is no predefined distance, and the term ‘pyramid session’ can cover any session that there is an increase in distance and mirroring decrease in distance.

For example any of these distances
A – 200m, 400m, 800m, 1200m, 1200m, 800m, 400m, 200m
B – 400m, 800m, 1200m, 1600m, 1600m, 1200m, 800m, 400m
C – 1/2 mile, 1 miles, 2 miles, 1 mile, and 1/2 mile

Distances A & B ideally should be performed on a 400m track, and session C can either be performed on the road or trails.

The main benefit of running a pyramid session, is that it allows you to overload the body in different ways on different runs, and will result in improvements in conditioning, endurance, and speed.

Physiologically, the levels of lactate in the system can be experimented with in these sessions, to find your strengths and weaknesses. If you are a long distance runner, you may find that you deal better with the long mile repetitions but struggle with the shorter repetitions. If this is the case, don’t just stick to the distances that you are comfortable with. Add variation into your sessions, and you will notice the benefits when you go back to your preferred distance.

Example session:

Warm-up for 10-15 minutes, easy running and include dynamic stretching.

2×400m high intensity with 200m recovery jog
1×800m high intensity with 400m recovery jog
1×1600 high intensity with 800m recovery jog
1×800 high intensity with 400m recovery jog
2×400 high intensity with 200m recovery jog

Cool-down for 10-15 minutes, easy running.

* Aim to run the 2x400m at 10% faster than your 5k pace, and run the 800m and 1600m at 5k pace.