2400m Time - Want to Improve My Running

by Melissa
(Darwin, Australia)

Hi there I need some basic training ideas for intervals that I can do that will help me improve my 2.4k time.

Currently I run inconsistently anywhere between 11.30-13mins. As part of my job I get tested on this twice a year and need to run under the 13 min mark for a pass.

Personally I'd like to be able to run it quicker under 11 mins consistently and be able to hold good leg speed in the final few laps.

I run at least 3-4 times a week breaking it up into a long run of 40mins plus a 2400m time trial, and short interval training like 6 x 400m or so on the treadmill.

I weight train 3 times a week also working on total body exercises and stretch and do pilates often. Have no injuries and am trying to get a little lighter at the same time.

Some training ideas to improve my ability would be great thanks!

running tips, improve running
Answer by Dom:

Hi Melissa,
Thanks for your question about how to improve your 2400m running time.

And thanks for providing all the additional information.

It comes in very useful to just provide a little bit more targeted advice.

Your overall training load is great.

It's very healthy to have that combination between running and weight training / pilates etc.

Given your job (I am guessing you are in the army as you are in Darwin), I would think that overall body fitness is important and you are covering all bases.

Running-wise I think your current training is too focused on the shorter runs.

I would replace the 2,400m time trial by some other running at the moment, for two reasons.

One is that I think there is a more useful type of running you can do at the moment.

The other one is that it can be demotivating to measure your progress like that every week. Not every week you will make improvements and it just starts playing mind tricks on you. Second guessing your training etc.

What I would do in your place is:

  • Keep the long run. It is very important for your endurance. If possible build it up to be a bit longer over time.

    Just go up in 5 minute increments or so. Getting to 60 min non-stop would be great.

    Don't underestimate the usefulness of this. Being able to go 60 minutes will improve your stamina. This will then help you run your race faster and keep you going, with strength, for longer.

  • Keep the interval session. However mix it up a bit. 6 x 400m is great, but you don't want to condition yourself towards this specific length of interval too much.

    Bring in variation. Do 600s, 800s, and 1k repeats as well. I'd also make the interval session longer. General guideline is to do about 5k of intervals in a session, e.g. 12 x 400m, 6 x 800m would be better. Build up to this, e.g. next session do 8 x 400m, then 10 x 400m etc.

  • Replace the time trial by a tempo run. Tempo runs are done at a steady pace at lactic acid threshold. This is the pace at which your body can just cope with the amount of lactic acid that gets produced in the muscles.

    Go faster than lactic acid threshold pace and your body can't get rid of the lactic acid anymore.

    This will make your legs go very heavy. Running at threshold pace, will help you improve that threshold over time. Which means you can run faster without your legs getting heavy, which is exactly what you want.

    Start of with tempo-intervals, e.g. 4 x 5 min with a few minutes jogging in between. Build up till you get to about 2 x 20 min with 5 min rest in between.

  • Sure, still do the occasional time trial, but not every week, maybe once every four weeks. Some consistent application of the above running program would hopefully give you results within the next two or three time trials. It's not an instant step-change, but over the course of 8-12 weeks you should be getting quite some improvement I would hope.

    Recommended reading to learn more about the types of runs I have just talked about:

    Base Running - About the Long Run and Easy Runs

    Tempo Running

    Interval Running

    Also have a look at the other articles in the running training section for other useful ideas.

    Hope this helps. With implementation of these ideas, I have no doubt you'll be able to improve your 2,400m running time.

    All the best.

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