Interval training

Run fast for a short distance, then recover and get your breath back and go again.  This is the route to continuous improvement and this is Interval Training.

‘Interval training is going to increase your level of fitness faster than pretty much any other type of running,’ says running coach Jeff Gaudette. Giving yourself a breather between segments of fast running allows you to handle more of it, delivering a greater stimulus to your heart, lungs and muscles.

Running may improve at quicker paces, says Gaudette. Provided that you begin with a fitness base and allow ample time between hard workouts for recovery, ‘short, hard bursts can teach your body a more efficient way to run, which ideally transitions into the rest of your training’, says Gaudette.

Some examples of interval training follow:

Fartlek running “Speed play” – Go for a steady run, and along the run inject bursts of speed of between 30 seconds and 2 minutes, then drop the pace back down to easy running for around the same duration that you just ran hard for.  Continue this pattern for between 10 and 20 minutes.

Repetition running – Run bursts of hard running followed by a static or walk recovery.  Many ways to do this which include running around a circuit, running around poles, the run could be converting the same distance on the efforts or the distance may change. The fun way to do this is in a team with others.

Hill running – Running up hills (can be short or long, steep or steady) helps to develop running speed, running technique, strength and of course conditioning for hill running.  Typically run hard up the hills and easy down the hills to recover.  However it is also beneficial to practice running down hills at speed.

Remember, the recovery is just as important as the effort otherwise you will not be able to run the effort with the form, technique and speed that you desire.

Some example session follow

Interval training with a group

Many of you will know out Tuesday sessions at club are focussed on speed work and a fun way to undertake these sessions is in a group environment. These sessions are as tough as you want them to be and are fully inclusive. They take place on a variety of surfaces, can be flat or hilly and are a variety of distances.

Solo Intervals

Warm up / warm down – Run a mile easy, stop for a minute and catch your breath.

Perhaps you might have run to the town fields or cantley park or woodlands park or the TPT trail or a pit top or a nice quiet road or an empty car park. Couple of ideas for your main session, concentrate on strong arm drive and the power will come:

12 x 1 minute Hard with 1 minute jog

6 x 2 minutes Hard with 1 minutes jog

4 x 3 minutes Hard with 2 minutes jog

3 x 4 minutes hard with 3 minutes jog

After you have completed the above sessions, repeat but add more reps in subsequent weeks.

Pyramid Session – Run hard for 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 4 minutes, 4 minutes, 3 minutes, 2 minutes. After each effort jog for half the time of the effort. If you need a little longer then the maximum recovery should not exceed the duration of the hard runs.

How hard you run is up to you, for the Pyramid session I would go at 5k pace. For the shorter reps I would go harder, around the pace you can manage for around 12 minutes flat out. If its windy try to run the efforts with the wind behind you.

Hill training – Doncaster is not flat

Find a hill that takes between 20 seconds and 2 minutes to run up. For the shorter hills you will run harder, for the longer hills you will run around normal long race pace. On the way back down recover, jog or walk so you are ready to run hard up the hill again. At first do the loop for 10 minutes, next time 12 minutes. Build it up to 20 minutes. Make sure you do a good warm up and cool down, so incorporate the hill section of the run mid run.

Most of the pit sites have good hills but you will also find toads like Town Moor Avenue, Zetland Road, Carr Hill are good to use. lots of hills leading up to Bawtry Road in Bessacarr.

12 Minute Fitness Test

Every few weeks it is a good idea to run a solo 12 minute run and get as far as you can, to test where your fitness is. Use a flat route, the same one each time and pick a day when it is not windy. Make sure you do a good warm up and cool down.

What to Expect when you Graduate!

Laura Lewis – Graduate of Beginners May 2019 and newly qualified Leader In Running Fitness

Well, you are no longer ‘Beginners’!! Well done on even getting out of your comfort zone and getting to the first session, never mind now being able to run 30 minutes, NON STOP! It’s been wet and windy, but you’ve won the mental battle of getting your trainers on when what you really wanted to do was snuggle up in the warm, and that’s just as big an achievement as the run itself. You’ve committed and done what you set out to do.

In the initial Induction Session, Susan always tells beginners “You won’t believe you can go from 8 minutes to 20 minutes, but you can”. And Susan is always right! You can, and more!

So what’s next?

Well we don’t just say goodbye now, off you go, see you later. We are all still here to support you on the next stage, if you would like to join us. This is affectionately called ‘Graduates’, but this basically means the LiRFs (Leaders in Running Fitness) will now start to extend your runs by 5 minutes each time, at your pace, until you can run for an hour. YES, AN HOUR. It feels great, especially now we have lighter nights and we can take some of the more scenic routes!

Graduate runs will start after your last Beginners session on a Tuesday and Thursday at 6pm. This will be at the pace of the group (we won’t leave anyone) and the first week will be 35 minutes, steady. We’ll then increase by 5 minutes every week over the next 8 weeks.  Don’t worry, if anyone needs to stop, we stop! Some non-graduates might join this run also so you will meet more people and also people that might normally be in your ‘Group’ for the usual club runs. Once you have managed to extend your stamina up to an hour running, you might then join the usual club runs, which are at 6.30pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Intervals on Tuesday will help improve your fitness, so don’t be daunted by them. They have a range of abilities and I usually end up laughing so much I can’t run!

You do have the option from now of joining our regular interval training group on Tuesdays which are is 6:30. Just look for Angie.

There are also sometimes other social or training runs on a weekend so keep an eye on the Pacers Facebook Group for any upcoming planned runs. They usually incorporate ‘loops’ so you can just do part of the run with no pressure, and coffee afterwards.

So, which ‘Group’ should I be in?

The groups for the usual club runs are based on your pace, how you are feeling and what you want to get out of your running but to start with you can try Groups 3, 4 or 5 and then adjust as you feel. The Pace bands are below and included on the newsletter every week. The main point is, we will not leave anyone behind! And you will have done some ‘re-Grouping’ in beginners, we do this in group runs too, so no one gets left behind.

I keep hearing about Socials, can anyone come?

YES! There are regular socials and charity nights. Watch the newsletter and face book page. This can be daunting if you don’t know many people, so don’t feel you will be left out if you aren’t there! They aren’t obligatory, but they are fun.

My advice to a graduate……

Get stuck in. You get out of the club what you put in. If you can Marshal at an event, do it. You’ll meet people you would not have met before and that’s how you will get to know people. Join the socials even if it’s just ‘for one’. You might then find you want to stay for another, but the pressure is off. Bring a friend? We always want new people to learn to love running with us! Most of all, enjoy it….

Pace Bands for Thursday club Runs

We have 5 groups, and within each group we have leaders running at the at different paces to help runners who might want to progress to step up through the groups (or step down if desired). These pace bands may need to be tweaked, and they may work better in different groups than others, we look forward to your feedback.

Group 1 – Sub 23:15 parkrun

quicker than 7:30

Group 2 – 23:15 to 30:20 parkrun

G2.1 – 7:30 to 7:45              

G2.2 – 8:00 to 8:30            

G2.3 – 8:45 to 9:15             

G2.4 – 9:30 to 9:45             

Group 3 – 31:00 to 35 minute parkrun

G3.1 – 10:00 to 10:30

G3.2 – 10:45 to 11:15

Group 4 – 35:45 to 39:00 minute parkrun

G4.1 – 11:30 to 12:00

G4.2 – 12:15 to 12:30

Group 5 39:00+ minute parkrun

G5 – Slower than 12:30

Elaine Green’s RED journey (Run Every Day January)

My first experience of RED was in January 2018.  I had been a member of DAC for just 5 months and didn’t know many people.  We all did our own thing for RED but during a conversation with Julie Cull she suggested we did a run together on 31 January and have something to eat to celebrate.  I put a post on facebook and 13 of us met up to run and have a meal at the Eagle and Child.

The following year I decided to set up a RED support group so we could post our RED activities and meet up to run together. We had 80 members and 46 of us came together to celebrate at Whitby’s after Janet Powell approached them to see if they would cater for a large group.

Before I knew it RED 2020 was fast approaching so I set up the support group, but as the days went by I didn’t feel I was in the right place mentally to take on the role of running the page.  I asked John Atkins and Claire Beegan if they would run it for me which they kindly agreed to do.

Then one Saturday morning a letter came from DAC to say I had been nominated for an Award at Awards Evening. I was absolutely shocked and overwhelmed but that nomination gave me the lift I needed to ‘snatch’ my page back and start looking around for motivational memes ready for January.

Approximately 40 of us gathered at the Cheswold on 1 January for our first run and walk and that was it we were off!  Everyday we posted our activities and received praise and encouragement from group members. RED is a tough challenge but by sticking together we managed to tick off the days and edge closer and closer to our goal of completing it.

On 31 January 2020 70 of our 97 group members came together for our final run and walk and to celebrate at Whitby’s. Special mentions could go to many members for various achievements during the month but I must mention Isabelle Reynolds our youngest member who ran every day and clocked up 48 miles. She also did her longest ever run of just over 4 miles one evening which I feel honoured to have been with her for. A second mention goes to Mazza for doing the earliest run of the day and starting the ‘fahvayem’ club. Although I feel Amie Knott and myself may try and beat that next year!

I think we have proved that however difficult the challenge you can make it easier by sticking together and supporting each other.  Being part of a group gives you the push to go out and do something on the days you really don’t feel like it. Let’s be honest no one regrets exercising once it’s done, the hardest step is the one out of the door!

On a personal level being part of RED has shown me daily exercise is essential for your mental health. Life is tough, demanding, stressful and sometimes overwhelming but taking time out for YOU can give you time to re-set your brain and enable you to deal with your world again.

Thank you to every single member of the class of RED2020 for being awesome and here’s to RED2021.  Let’s make it BIGGER and BETTER!

Natalie Heptinstall – Review of 2019

2019 – My First Full year running with Doncaster AC & what a year it’s been!

5 x 10k
5 x Half Marathons
13 Races in total in my club vest & 2 Fitwins Challenges completed

A total of 687 Miles, 11 Park runs in 4 locations, a sub 2 hour half, a 🏆 for 3rd placed lady & half an hour knocked off my GNR time from 10 years ago.
I’ve gained confidence, friends & a belief in myself that I might actually be good at something after years of being told otherwise, most importantly though I’ve gained many happy memories.

Tomorrow is my 46th birthday & marks the start of 2020 – a year that I hope will continue to be just as amazing, I have the London Marathon in April & a handful of other goals & challenges running & non running related that I hope to achieve

Happy New Year to you all & I hope that whatever dreams & goals you set for yourself become your reality
Much love – Natalie ❤️ xx

Tammy Cullen – Review of 2019

Well as it’s nearly New Year, I cant believe I’ve been a pacer for nearly a year!! Who’d of thought when we walked in to sign up for couch to 5k on the 22nd January I’d be finishing the year on this amount of miles and running 10 miles in one go 😂😂with plenty of races done to!! Road/trails/head torches.

I cannot Thank all the Lirfs enough as I wouldn’t be here today without you each and everyone of you are so special, and give your time, patience and knowledge to us all for free. ( you all know who you are so many to mention but Thank you) Also the Pacer family, I have not met a kinder bunch of friends ever, everyone is friendly, welcoming, supportive and helpful and makes you feel at home, with laughs along the way.

Doncaster AC is just a very special club and one I’m so happy I became part of. Here to next year and many more runs and challenges from Red January to half marathons but mostly running with friends so Thank you and Happy New Year to each and everyone of you have a good one xx


  • Running has been shown to be one of the best forms of exercise for managing weight
  • Running tends to result in improved body shape and size
  • Reduction in body fat and weight contribute enormously to prevention of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes
  • A recent report suggested that those taking up exercise over 50 years of age could gain an extra 2 years of life
  • Running uses about 100 kcals per mile or 500 kcals per hour
  • Running is a weight bearing activity that can assist with the strengthening of muscles and prevention of the reduction in bone density in some bones
  • Success in running gives increased confidence and self esteem especially when successful in completing a first event or achieving a personal goal
  • Running with a social group brings many new friends for life
  • Running can reduce isolation and reduce stress, tension and anxiety

*UKA published list

  • Mental health benefits too. As a club we are extremely good at supporting each other especially the social runs and events


If you have a smart phone then you should check out the following apps which will track your runs in real time and give you lots of information.  All of them work on Android phones, Iphones and Mapmyrun will work on BlackBerry phones.  My favorite is Strava but give them all a try (and if you find another good app please let me know).


Run Keeper


If you plan to use your smartphone you might want to get an waterproof armband to carry it.  Its always a good idea to run with a phone if your by yourself!  Although they are a slight hassle to run with and of course you don’t want to get it stolen.

Some phones are better than others at recording accurate data and you might find yourself wanting a sport watch with GPS built in, we can give advice on these devices.

Another great app is Glympse, this is available on Android, Apple, Windows and Blackberry phones.  This allows you to send a link to someone who can track your location in real time.  You can specify how long the person should be able to track you for up to a maximum of 4 hours.  I can think of lots of uses for this apart from running such as sharing your location with some people you are going to visit in a far away city, they would be able to see how far away you are.  Or you could track your kids location.  Its free.