On running your fastest 2.4km

*Please read the disclaimer below, you are responsible for your own life, make it count. Also, seeing that this post has helped so many over the years, and that I have since moved back to Singapore, do contact me at decatan@outlook.com if you wish to find me for personal training/running coaching, time to put my Sports Science degree to good use!

Right on with it then.

I was never a good runner with my fastest 2.4km only being 10min flat during OCS (never did achieve the IPPT gold because of this). When I was in school I always went for long jogs to prepare for the 2.4km run during the NAFA test, but somehow I never did seem to be able to cope with the pain and the drop in pace towards the end of the run despite the preparations I did. So once again, this time as a final year Sports Science undergrad, I will attempt to give my two cents worth of an answer to how you can effectively train for running your fastest 2.4km ever.

We would first briefly look at what running a good 2.4km entails, in terms of stresses and requirements of the body, and then discuss how we can train our bodies to adapt and improve for it.

Running a quick 2.4km would require you to run at near your VO2 max capacity (the maximum amount of oxygen your body can consume and utilised, often expressed in terms of ml/kg/min) for a sustained period of time and it would involve both aerobic and anaerobic metabolism (deriving energy in the presence or absence of oxygen in the body) running at those speeds. Towards the end of the run, effects of anaerobic metabolism (the production of lactate, but to be specific, lactate is not the enemy, H+ which causes muscle and blood acidity is) causes pain sensations and a drop in the ability of the muscles to continue functioning.

Running economy (how efficient your body is at running) also plays a big part and would also help you to run quicker greatly if you improve on it. As that involves quite a big discussion about running techniques and biomechanics, I will leave it for another post.

So what are we exactly training for?

We are going to firstly train to increase the VO2 max capability of the body (increasing the stroke volume of the heart, i.e. increasing the engine capacity of your body) so that you can run faster by allowing more energy to be produced by your muscles. This would also delay and reduce the amount of anaerobic metabolism required to run at the same speed.

Then we are going to train to deal with the anaerobic component of the run, namely increasing the lactate threshold and increasing the body’s ability to buffer for the acidic effects of anaerobic metabolism.

So how do we train for it?

Well the amazing thing about the human body is the gift it bestows upon you for doing something: the ability to do more of the same thing.

We would need to expose the body to sustained high intensity exertion in the form of high intensity interval training. The aim is to maximise the time your body is running at VO2 max or close to it, thus work outs are relatively short but of high intensity. Bouts are repeated with either an active rest phase (50% effort) in-between to maintain a high heart rate in order to achieve VO2 max quickly for the next repetition, or with a shorter full rest phase compared to the exertion phase.

If you have a heart rate monitor, it would be good to use it as a guide to what VO2 max levels you are running at (Polar’s website got a few really good articles about this). If not, at these speeds it is pretty easy to estimate, you just got to run as fast as you can (without going too fast on the first rep that you can’t complete the rest) so that you just barely complete the entire session. If done correctly, it should be pretty excruciating.

An 8 week example program would be as follows, these are to be run at >95% VO2 max and with an active recover phase at 50% effort. It should be done once a week in addition to your existing training program and a rest or easy day (or two depending on your fitness level) is necessary after this to ensure full recovery. Proper warm ups and cool downs are required without saying. Another useful tip is to take note of how far each time you run so that you can see if you’re improving.

Week 1: 4x1min runs with 2min active rest in-between. (Aim to run 200-300m in each 1 min depending on your initial fitness)

Week 2: 5x1min runs with 2min active rest in-between.

Week 3: 6x1min runs with 2min active rest in-between.

Week 4: Same as week 3.

Week 5: 6x2min runs with 2min active rest in-between. (Aim to run 500-600m in each 2 min depending on your initial fitness)

Week 6: Same as week 5.

Week 7: 6x2min runs with 1min 45s active rest in-between.

Week 8: Same as week 7.

I must admit I used to hate these sessions cause of the pain and exhaustive feeling, but I realised once I made a decision to go for it, focused on being in the moment and focused on the pain instead of trying to get away from it, I gradually learnt to deal with it and live through it. If you’ve followed this program and had the guts to run it accordingly, you would most likely to already have increased your body’s VO2 max by 10-15% (largely depending on your initial fitness though, e.g. if you’re already elite, there would be significantly less in improvements)

We then move on to the next phase, which involves maximal exertion to build up your buffering capacity. For the next 4 weeks, the program would be to run maximally, for either 1 minute or about 300-400m depending on the venue available to you, and have a complete rest of about 4 times that of your work rate (e.g. 1 min run, 4 min rest). You should aim to at least complete 4 of these in a session and as this would really largely depend on your fitness, you would have to feel if you are capable of pushing it for more reps than that. If you’ve worked hard enough already, then there absolutely is no reason to in order to avoid over-training. Use your sensible head for this one and rest days are absolutely necessary following this as well.

In addition you should also start to do paced 800m runs around the track to get a feel for how fast you should be running. (i.e. to run a 8min 2.4km, you need to run 1min 20s per lap. Thus run at that pace for 3-4 reps of 800m with equal or less rest ratio.) A 4x800m paced run would be a good session to add in the weeks close to the actual 2.4km testing.

If you stuck to it, then congratulations, I would seriously doubt it if you still have not improved on your 2.4km time significantly. (Diet is another important part of training, but for now I’ll assume you have a healthy balanced diet with enough calories to help recovery.)

I’ve put the references used for this article after the picture jump and once again do feel free to comment, question, debate or anything. I do hope this bit of knowledge is useful for you and if it helps you to get that $400 from our Army, please do drop by and let me know about it. =)

This week’s article is also dedicated to my training partner Max, who tomorrow would be representing Great Britain in an international indoor heptathlon match in France. Earned his first senior GB vest two weeks ago by running a blistering 2min45s (1000m), fending off a challenge at the end of that heptathlon. Been 6 years since his last GB (Junior) vest, and since then had a knee surgery, switched take-off foots due to that and worked two part-time jobs in order to continue to live and train in Loughborough. Respect mate, always an honour to train with you. Ran those minute runs with you and though you were miles ahead of me, I hope when my test comes I’ll also be ready. All the best for tomorrow!

Maxim Hall

Maxim Hall clearing a hurdle with William Sharman looking on.

References

Billat LV. (2001). Interval training for performance: a scientific and empirical practice. Special recommendations for middle- and long-distance running. Part I: aerobic interval training. Sports Med. 31:13-31.

Billat LV. (2001). Interval training for performance: a scientific and empirical practice. Special recommendations for middle- and long-distance running. Part II: anaerobic interval training. Sports Med. 31:75-90.

Juel C. (1998). Muscle pH regulation: role of training. Acta Physiol Scand. 162:359-366.

Smith, M. J. (2008). Sprint Interval Training – “It’s a HIIT!”. Retrieved 12 15, 2010, from The Official Web Site of The United States Olympic Committee: http://www.teamusa.org/assets/documents/attached_file/filename/15738/Sprint_Interval_Training.pdf

*Disclaimer: Opinions expressed are of my own and in no way representative of any group, organisation or individuals that I am associated with. Please seek medical advice before embarking on any new exercise regime, especially if you have any pre-existing medical conditions or have been sedentary for a while. If all else fails, please apply some basic common sense (which I must admit is not so common sometimes) and advice such as that which my physiotherapist gave me: If it hurts to walk, don’t run. (Unless of course your life depends on it, i.e. being chased by a lion, running out of a burning building or that damn 1500m at the end to become a decathlete.)

Additional Disclaimer: In addition to my usual disclaimer below, I must add this very serious warning. What I am about to describe is not for the faint of heart (literally) and requires an already fit and healthy body. If you are a weekend warrior or a largely sedentary person, please do not even bother. Have a look at my previous post and start with a healthy active lifestyle first. The recent incident at a HPB event where a participant collapsed and died once again highlights the risk in exercise. To be honest I have ran till the point where I’m almost blacking out, but that is what we do as athletes and we continue to push it till the very edge every day. Sometimes we get it right, other times we don’t. Understand that it is a personal choice that you have to make and I am not responsible for it. I’ve made mine a long time ago and decided that if my time is up, so be it. Don’t feel bad or sorry for me if anything happens as I can hand on heart say that I’ve given it everything and have no regrets about it. So if you made your choice too, then read on and welcome my brother (or sister); I gladly stand beside you in the front lines for the quest for physical excellence.

Comments

  1. I doubt this would help most people actually. Not your fault, most people who struggle to pass just aren’t interested in enduring pain in the name of progress, haha.

    Other than that, great job!

    • Yong Sheng says:

      haha, this wasn’t meant for most people as I put it at the start. Meant for those who dare to achieve excellence in everything they do. No pain no gain. =)

      Thanks bro!

  2. lzz I would respectfully disagree with you. I am a perfect case of someone who would benefit from such an article.

    For years i’ve struggled with my 2.4. When I was still serving in the army, the regular active lifestyle kept me in shape to pass my ippt, sometimes a silver. But no matter how hard I try, I could never get gold, save for once when I was in OCS.

    Now that I’m just starting to enter the workforce, the past 4 years of my uni life has done nothing to help the situation. Yes I do run regularly, and for long distances, but passing my ippt was always a challenge.

    Now I realize I’ve been running it wrong. Hopefully this year I can finally pass my ippt without having to feel like I’m going to pass out. After that, maybe I’ll try for a gold.

    Thanks Yong Sheng!

  3. Hung Yi, that means you are willing to endure the pain!

    Most people just give up ya know…sad. And condemn themselves to whatever level they are at.

    Glad you are not one of them! Which means I’m pretty sure you’re gonna see great improvement.

  4. Woah, Thank you very much for these useful information,

    I am very weak at sports especially running, thus when i had to take my 2.4 i was panicing, you save me, and helped me through it, thanks a lot bro.

    • Yong Sheng says:

      Hello Ryan,

      You’re welcome, I hope the information is helpful and that you got a decent 2.4 time! Do ease your way into training, ‘you got to learn how to run slow first before you can run fast’ as one of the Olympic coaches here says. All the best and you’ll be amazed what you can achieve with training!

      YS

  5. Cheong Hui says:

    I googled it and chanced upon your site yong sheng !

    I’m now an instructor training officers-to-be. I could put your training programme to use !!

    • Yong Sheng says:

      Yo Cheong! Haha, sure, do let me know if they improve their timings or not! Hope everything’s going great!

  6. hi, i am 31 years old this year and aiming for gold timing below 10min15s. current timing is 12min1s.

    i just did interval training of 10 sets X 20s full effort, followed by 40s rest in between.. is your program of 4X1min with 2min rest more effective in increasing VO2 max, since run full speed for longer timing?

    do email me or reply here, thanks!

    • Hello there!

      As mentioned in my post I hope you understand that these are opinions of my own and not responsible for any side effects of training. (forgive me for this disclaimer)

      Anyway to answer your question, I do not think that 10 x 20s full effort with 40s rest will increase your VO2 max simply because the time that you spend in the maximal heart rate zone is way too little (even if you are able to reach 95% of your MHR straight away, you will be looking at 3min 20s). From experience, even for 6x2min intervals, I’m only able to spend about 6min out of the 12min run in 95% MHR because it takes time for your heart to reach that zone.

      There is a place and time for 10 x 20s full effort, but that would to me seem like more for anaerobic training. If you want to increase VO2 max (which as I mentioned in the post that should be your first piority if you want to run a good 2.4km), I would believe that the 6x1min runs and 6x2min runs that I’ve mentioned in the post will be more suitable.

      Also I’ve updated this post a little to reflect my recent thoughts on training, just a small change from week 4 onwards.

      Thank you for dropping by and I wish you all the best for your training!

      • Hi, thxs for yr advice and reply. I have run a few interval trainings of 10sets X 20s sprints, followed by 40s rest. My timing has improved from 12min1s to 11min35s to 10m48s. However on the 4th ippt try, timing became 11min9s.

        My current method only allows me to sustain gold timing of 1min42s per round for 1st 3 rounds. 4th,5th and 6th round, my timing per round is between 1min50s-1min59s.

        I will adopt yr method of 6X2mins and update my progress here soon. just short of 34s to gold timing 10min14s.

        also like ask you do i continue my weight lifting training or stop for a few weeks to focus on running and also reduce a few kg to make myself lighter to run?

        my height is 1.77m, weight 69kg now, used to be 75kg. But after running for 2 months, weight reduce 6kg. I have not been to the gym and carry weights these 2 months.

      • hi, i tried running 10 sets of 40s sprints, as i can’t run 1min full sprint for the moment. I get breathless.

        Also, i realize i have a lot of phlegm and makes me slow down to spit out. I don’t smoke.

        Should use nose or mouth or both nose and mouth to breathe in and out?

      • Yong Sheng says:

        Hi ace,

        With regards to the phlegm problem I would advise you to seek advice from a qualified physician. Personally I use my mouth to breathe when I run, both in and out. I’ve known people that use their nose or both their nose and mouth so I do believe this is more of a personal preference rather than a technical point.

        With regards to your training, I would not advise you to stop your weight training. I’m not sure exactly what program you are on but as long as it is on alternate days of your run it should not have any significant detrimental effect.

        Looking at your description of lap splits, I still believe that high intensity interval training would benefit you more than 10 sets of 40s. You’re dropping pace in the later half of the run and it’s clear that your body is unable to deal with the full duration of running at your desired pace. I would advise that you try the 1min runs but scale back to maybe 70-80% so that you can complete the entire session. Feeling breathless is normal as it is designed to push your body to its limits. However, do be sensible and balance your training with sufficient recovery. All the best!

  7. hi,I’m 16 this year and been looking for ways to improve both my speed and stamina for 2.4km(current best time 13m 0s sadly :/). I’m also preparing for my school’s cross country and sports day which will be in April and May respectively. I reaaally hope that this program will help me win a medal 😀

    • Yong Sheng says:

      Hi there, I wish you all the best in your sporting pursuits! Do take note that the program is a generic one and you would have to taper the distances I’ve mentioned according to your current fitness levels. It’s a balance between pushing hard enough but not pushing too hard that you end up over-training. All the best!

    • Wow, it’s been almost a year since I stumbled upon this website. I’m 17 now and my timing has improved from 13m to 8m57s thanks to the training (it wasn’t easy lol) 😀

      • Yong Sheng says:

        Wan, wow. What more can I say? I got a sneaky suspicion that you’re gonna end up awesome with your life 😉

  8. Hi yongsheng, last week i did 2 interval trainings. on jan 25 did 10 sets of 40s sprints. on jan 28, went stadium and completed 6 rounds of full sprints with 3-4min rest in between.

    my interval timings were: rd1: 1min 51s, rd2: 1min16s, rd3: 1min25s, rd4: 1min29s, rd5: 1min44s, rd6-1min39s. total timing: 9min24s

    i was able to complete every round without feeling so shag like the 40s sprints, maybe because in stadium more spacious compared to the narrow long park trail i use for 40s sprints.

    on feb 2, went for ippt test, 2.4km timing improved to 10min17s, improvement of 52s from last timing 11min9s.

    i asked pti for my timing for every round and results as follows:
    rd1: 1min30s, rd2: 1min37s, rd3:1min42s, rd4:1min48s, rd5: 1min56s, rd6: 1min44s

    i noted every round i was getting slower, only last round i try to chiong during last 200m( realized should chiong the full last round). end of round 5 my timing was 8min33s. and i thought maybe got chance get gold, which is 10min14s and below for caty1. but end up short of 3s.

    also the phlegm problem occured during rd 5- which is my slowest round. if not for the phlegm, i believe getting 10min is within reach.

    I will not give up on achieving gold and also challenging my 9min44s personal best in nsf. I will adopt yr method of 6X2min with 1min45s recovery and see how it goes.

    Will update here on my next ippt test on feb 16.

    oh, i went to a watch shop and measured my resting heart best is 75, seems higher than most athletes

  9. i also noted during interval training of 6 rds sprints followed by 3-4min, total timing is 9min24s, which is 53s lower than my recent 10min17s. maybe due to constant running of 6 rounds, hence average speed is slower during 2.4km test.

    i research online and there is an article about when running corners, lean body left when turning left, just like riding bicycle. what is yr view on this?

    also, is climbing stairs good to build speed? or just endurance

    • Yong Sheng says:

      Hello Ace,

      Good to hear of your progress, I’m very sure that you will be able to achieve your target time soon.

      A few comments on the data you’ve listed such as your lap times. It seems clear that you’re lacking the ability to hold a constant pace through majority of the laps. This coupled with a high resting heart rate seems to indicate to me that your VO2 max needs a little work.

      Unfortunately VO2 max training needs 8-12 weeks before any substantial gain can be seen, thus for your next IPPT, there wouldn’t be much you can do about it.

      I will recommend however that you do some paced 800m runs. Try to go for 4×800 holding a constant 1m35s per lap with 1m30s rest inbetween each 800m. You need to reduce the rest time inbetween the intervals if you want to see the lap pace translate into your actual 2.4km running pace.

      Also yes leaning in for bends will help a little. For us we always lean in when running the bend, especially for the 400m. This is because the faster you run, the bigger the angle of lean. Do experiment around and find a lean angle that is comfortable for you, it wouldn’t be a massive lean due to the pace.

      Other than that, all the best and I wish you the very best in your quest to achieve your goal. =)

  10. Thanks for yr useful insights and analysis of my running. I decided to train for another 2-3 months to increase my vo2max, to reach 7min 2.4km run. Means every 400m average is 70s.

    How can I train to achieve this? reduce rest time between intervals? run 6X3 mins sprints with rest 1.5min? Can an athlete do speed training all yr round? Or take breaks in between off seasons?

    I done some research and some say to run faster, either increase stride length or take smaller quicker steps. What is yr opinion on this?

    I am delighted to improve my timing and relish the speed that comes with it. I know my best is yet to be. I also decided to maintain 7min 2.4km till old age,haha. Will also compete in singapore for some short distance races.

    I am really inspired by yr blog, training methods and results.

  11. to the ace gentleman above who wants to run 2.4k in 7mins after 3mths training – are you shooting for the olympics 2012? world record for 3k is 7min24s…. care to share how you plan to do from 1min45s to 1min10s per 400m lap for 6 continuous laps, within 3mths?

  12. Hi yongsheng, just went interval training at stadium, did 4X 800M, tot 8 laps.

    timing: 3m17s, 3m11s, 3m22s,3m28s. total timing: 13m18s. still trying hard to hit 3min10s for 2 rounds or 1min35s per round or 12min40s for 3.2km run. tot short of 38s

    I think i will train for 9min(avg 1min30s per lap) 2.4km run, it is more realistic for my work and training schedule, also nearer to my current running speed of 1min35s-1min44s per lap.

    I also do lunges, squats and weight training for legs, which i feel will strengthen the leg core muscles, like quads, hamstrings and calves, and translate to stronger stride pushoff and shorter running time.

    I am analyzing running techniques now, saw yr post on running at centre of gravity, seems hard to comprehend.

    • Hi Ace!

      Good to hear your progress and that you are experimenting with training I’ve mentioned. I know it’s not a plesant experience but trust me you’ll be better for doing it. Apologies I haven’t had time to reply your previous comment, been busy settling back into things here in the UK.

      Anyway with regards to your earlier comment, I would suggest you try the sample training program I listed in this blog post to increase your VO2 max. Do try to run with a heart rate monitor if you can because that will help you loads when trying to hit your target workout heartrate zone. This will take anywhere from 8 to 12 weeks, so I would suggest this to be perhaps done after your next IPPT.

      As for your 4x800m times, looking at your times I think perhaps a good target pace would be to run 3min19s per 800m. The importance of this training is to learn how to run at a constant target pace every single rep. When doing 3min19s, make sure you are hitting between 1min39s to 1min40s. Once you can do this lower the timing per 800m rep by 1s (i.e. 3min18s) the next time.

      Also it is great that you are taking interesting into running technique, because that affects your running efficiency, your running speed and how long you can hold certain speeds. A very helpful concept that I use is the chi running technique. You can read the book about it or find some youtube videos online that briefly explains what it is about. I personally found that concept helping my long distance running by quite a bit.

      Do keep up your static exercises and core work. I would recommend some plyometric exercises (hops and bounds) in the future depending on what time you have for your training. Also this video I just found has some very useful excercises for your hips and glutes that are important to prevent injury as you up your training intensity http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MTJPb4-YOmc

      Lastly I do believe that running a sub-8 2.4km is very possible, in fact I saw one of my friends (a national swimmer actually) run a 7min30s 2.4km before. But there will be a lot of work you need to do before that and so a progressive and systemic training program is what you should be aiming for. Afterall, there’s no need to limit yourself, who knows, you might actually go to the olympics 😉

      Thank you very much for stopping by my blog and as always I wish you well, cheers!

  13. Dear Decatan,

    Is this a once a week training schedule?

    • Hello Perry,

      This is meant for someone who already has a training schedule in place to add to his weekly workout. Also it is quite a high intensity workout as it is meant for someone who is already well conditioned and trying to push under 9min for 2.4km timing.

      This program once a week is not enough on it’s own, you would probably need to add another 2 other running sessions in the week if you want to see proper performance gains. Hope this helps!

      Yong Sheng

  14. Hi, today i did a trial 2.4km run. timing: 1M25S, 1M38S,1M50S, 2M, 1M58S, 1M39S. total timing 10M30S. I made the mistake of dashing at a faster pace than usual in 1st round. This affects my running for 3rd,4th,5th round, where i run slower than my normal target pace of 1M40s. last round i try to speed up by swinging my arms.

    Timing analysis: only 1st,2nd and 6th round hit gold timing of less than 1m42s.

    self reflection: too eager and overconfident i can maintain 1m25s for 6 rounds. can’t maintain for 6 rounds, end up speed decreases.

    I realize constant pace is more important than speeding up in 1st round, to get desired target timing. What do you think?

    I had done 2 interval trainings at stadium, running 4X800m. But it seems today my speed got slower by 13s(my previous timing was 10m17s, 2 weeks ago ippt).

    Is there an optimum period where speed can be maintained for maximum? e.g. after interval training, if don’t train for 1-2 weeks, will speed decrease automatically?

    Also, do you have any race strategy? e.g. run faster for 1st 3 rounds, and slower during last 3 rds. or run slow for 1st 3 rounds, then run faster for last 3 rounds? or even pace is better?

    If alternate run fast and slow, feeling it is like interval training, but without rest time.

    And i research online running on forefoot is faster than running on heels or midsole, what is your opinion on this?

    True, there is some pain in hamstrings and quadriceps after each training session. But i believe there will be results soon.

    • Hello Ace,

      It seems clear to me that you recent attempt at 2.4km was hampered by your misjudgement of the pace you are able to maintain. Your previous 4x800m interval timings was nowhere near 1m25s per 400m so I’m quite surprised that you made the decision to go out at that pace.

      Though I must say I do not think that there is any drop in physical conditioning, it’s just that you really got to learn how to run at a sustained even pace, for the intervals training reps and for the 2.4km itself.

      I think it’s ok to go out slightly quicker on lap 1 to take advantage of your freshness and adrenaline, but this should only be 3-4 seconds quicker, then you need to settle into a nice running rhythm from lap 2-5 before giving it everything on lap 6.

      As you only had 2 interval training session, I think it is important for you to realise there is no magical quick fix. Running fast takes years of training.

      I would recommend you try the first lap in 1min38-40s and then hit 1m41s for the next 5 laps. That will give a slight allowance for a dip in pace at the later stages.

      Aerobic fitness tends to drop quite quickly thus I do not recommend that you rest more than a week. Research has shown that detraining occurs after 2 weeks of non-training.

      As for running form, I’m a midsole runner. Forefoot will tire your calves out very quickly, heel strike causes too much braking forces on your body. But as mentioned if you’re interested in running form do look up Chi Running. They have a very good book that I find extremely helpful.

      All the best with your training!

  15. YS, could you put the line “running fast takes years of training” in bold caps pls. FAST, as in under 7min for 2.4k requires that a) one is gifted runner b) training is uninterrupted due to injuries, which is very unlikely due to the extreme extent one needs to push himself for such a long duration that injuries are >99.99999999% bound to happen and c) Continuous singleminded drive to achieve goal despite not being gifted and/or sustaining injuries.

    Should the Undaunted Average Joe fulfill any 2 of the 3 conditions above, then he can become a Super Joe (yes still a Joe not a Chick Magnet White Horse sorry to dash anyones dream). There are people (not from Singapore) who can do 5k under 13min, faster than some NSmen doing their 2.4. Unfortunately that does not sound nearly as exciting as someone who could buy a dozen Gucci handbags with pocket spare change, or some rich bowling punk who hit and run with the cheapest model of porsche and now has his own wikipedia entry. So, Dream, or Dollar?

    Seriously though, prominent forefoot strikes i,e dorsiflex planting are mainly for qualified coach trained sprinters to qualified coach trained 400m who use every gram of muscle in their bodies to generate the force to push forward and as such the strain on the foot bone structure is very great. Anything above that distance should stick to midfoot for obvious reasons. Kindly add points on training safety YS, lest people train blindly as they dont have the pro supervision that you did in Lborough.

    • Yong Sheng says:

      Hi C,

      Fair point about training safety. When I wrote this article the target audience I had in mind was for well trained individuals looking to push their 2.4km timings, not for someone who’s trying to pass it. I guess my initial disclaimer did not state that clearly enough.

      Anyway you do sound pretty experienced in this field, may I ask out of curiosity if you are a fitness instructor or an athlete maybe? Forgive me if I’m mistaken but somehow from the tone of your reply you do sound a little bitter about something, may I ask what it is as well?

      Other than that, thanks for the comment, cheers!

      YS

  16. hi yongsheng, i did another trial 2.4km run today.

    timing: 1M41S, 1M45S,1M51S, 1M49s, 1M46S, 1M32S. total timing 10M24S

    I adopted the even pace strategy. In 1st round, i took it easy and do not rush at all.

    rd 2-5, i tried to maintain a good pace.

    rd6- i chiong all the way.

    my target was round 1: 1M42s, rd2-5: 1M41S each, rd 6: 1M39S.

    but i noted not easy to maintain equal speed of 1M41S for every round between round 2-5.

    how to gauge and judge pace? is it by feel? i did not wear stopwatch as it will slow me down further. I asked a friend to time every round timing.

    my round 2-5 could be faster to 1M41S each.

    i did not perform any interval training since last week trial 2.4km run. The purpose of today’s trial run was to see how i could cope with even pace strategy-which should be good for beginner runners.

    I noted round 1-3 was easy to complete. round 4-5 slightly more difficult as i need to maintain pace, not enough endurance. The phlegm problem did not arise much, maybe because i stopped taking milk powder 2 days before run. some say phlegm due to taking dairy products.

    I think I will train twice a week in stadium. doing 4X800m and hit 3M19S per lap as your valuable guidance instructions.

    I think i can still improve on my timing- the mind limits what we can do. I believe i can do it!

    And i stick to heel striking- so i don’t have to change my running style and readapt.

    I done some research and there are views on race strategy. some say even pace easy, some say chiong for 4 min and maintain a slightly lower pace to get personal best. but others say negative splits- 1st half of race run slower, 2nd half of race run faster. i analyzed today’s timing and 1st 3 rounds is slower, i.e. 5M17S, last 3 rounds faster i.e. 5M7S. this was not on purpose. maybe could be due to chiong in last round, so timing is
    faster overall in last 3 rounds.

    I need to work towards 1M35s per lap, to achieve 9M30S. currently still a lot of training to do!

    it takes guts to be a fast runner- to train and endure the pain.

    • Yong Sheng says:

      Hello Ace,

      You do seem to be running a lot of trial 2.4km runs within a rather short space of time. I will not advise as such because your timing’s not going to improve much without a sufficient enough time period of training.

      I run with a wrist watch on my left hand that is on a continuous repetitive countdown timer and a stop watch on my right. If I’m doing 1min20s per 400m intervals, I would time the countdown timer to beep every 20s so that I know that I’m running each 100m on pace. That is really useful to learn and get the feel of pace because eventually in the race you usually just go by feel and check at the stopwatch every lap.

      As for your training, 4x800m twice a week if that is your only training session is not enough. I would advise you do at least another long 20~30min easy run to maintain your cardio.

      And I would actually advise you against running using heel strikes, this is because you are bound to pick up an injury soon due to the amount of braking forces you experience in each stride. If you’re serious about becoming a fast runner and achieving your goals, you will need to learn how to run efficiently and injury free.

      I would advise you to join a runners club or an athletic club to get some proper coaching on your running technique. You must be prepared to give up short term performance if you want solid long term gains.

      Remember, things usually get worst before it gets better. Switching to mid-foot strikes would cause your calves to tire out much more quickly initially as the calves used to the load, but in the long run it is a much more natural running style.

      All the best with you training and your life!

  17. Ran 4X800M just now at bedok stadium. timing: 2m59s, 3m30s, 3m23s, 3m18s. total 13m10s. improved 8s from last training session.

    I noted after fast start in 1st 2 rounds, the next 2 rounds suffer a 30s drop in timing. Must take note and be more constant in pace.

    Carried my wallet and handphone when i ran, so timing could be a few seconds better? haha

    If only we humans can maintain top speed for 2.4km, then more people could be sub-9.

    True, i would continue train 2 times a week 4X800M, and 1 long run per week. Then do a trail 2.4km run once every 2 weeks or once a month to see the improvement in timing. Maybe i am over zealous to see results.

    I like to ask you method in speed training: the 4X800M VS sprint full speed for 1 lap, rest and repeat for another 5 laps(means run full speed for 6 laps with about 3min rest in between).

    Which produces more gain in speed? I think 4X800M will produce endurance and some speed gains, while the full sprint per lap with rest will produce more speed gains, but not much endurance?

    I was thinking to do one 4X800M, one full sprint per lap for 6 laps, and one easy running per week. so tot 3 training sessions on alternate days. What do you think?

    Some articles on running techniques:
    http://www.netplaces.com/running/the-mechanics-of-running/style-and-mechanics.htm

    • Hi Ace,

      You really got to run these sessions according to plan or it will be almost pointless in you doing them. Wear a watch that have a stop watch function, take a look every 200m to know that you’re on pace. There really isn’t a point in going the first rep too fast and then lose massive amounts of pace for the next 3.

      One thing I’ve learnt training here is that it is not enough just to put in the hours and the miles thinking that just because you turned up you’ll get better at doing it, you won’t if you don’t do it correctly.

      Speed is defined in a variety of ways. Training for 2.4km is not a sprint exercise. You need to achieve a relatively high speed and maintain it for the distance to achieve your fastest possible time. If you’re serious about it you’ll be looking at training like a middle distance runner.

      For example earlier at the track where I was at, the middle distance group was running 400m intervals with 1 min rest at a pace of 60-65s. They went on for 16 laps.

      This is speed endurance, but to get anywhere to that level, you need to learn how to run slow before you can run fast. Your full sprint per lap for 6 laps, unless it is of equal pace and rest throughout each rep, it will not be specific to the needs of running 2.4km.

      Also, I would recommend you give yourself 8 weeks before doing another test run, I’m sorry to tell you what you already know, but like everything else in life there’s no short cut to competency.

      Don’t be put off by the work though, you have the courage to start, you just have to be smart and be willing to put in the work to see it through.

      Happy training!

      • My body is experiencing a new level of pain. This week i had run 2 sets of 4X800M and 1 set of 5X663M(went park and run), with 1 rest day in between. Tried some plyometrics like jumping over blocks sideways and front-backwards X10.

        Also did 30 chinups yesterday(non-running day) very slowly to feel the intense muscle contractions.I wanted to have a more powerful hand swing at last 100m, so i trained my arms more intense,

        Also, tried standing broad jump and realized average went down 20cm, maybe leg muscles not yet recovered.

        Today my arms are sore, blisters on my hand

        I am getting slowly to get use to running on midsole and leaning forward when running, and incorporate some of the chi running concepts to real running.

        I also bring my handphone and use the timer to check my time every 400m mark. For the 5X663M, timings at 400m mark were: 1m30s, 1m35s, 1m37s,1m37s, 1m36s. And timings for each 663m mark were: 2m37s,2m36s,2m45s,2m47s,2m48s. After the 5X663m, i tried to sprint 1 round 400m and timing was a modest 1m30s.

        My breathing is getting better, with little phlegm.

        A lady talked about breathing fast to run fast, to get oxygen to body fast to produce energy:
        http://www.mfuz.com/10-secrets-on-how-to-run-faster/

        She also talked about running like a cat clawing the ground, brush the ground back as fast as you can, meaning less contact time of foot with ground and running faster.

        Also another guy talked about doing squats and lunges in addition to sprinting to get faster. Hmm..

        What do you think about breathing faster than normal comfortable breathing throughout 2.4km run? And clawing the ground?

  18. Hey YS,

    No not FI or athlete, and certainly not bitter! It was just a tongue in cheek view of what really matters haha. I have never joined any sports related ECA / CCA in school or competed in any form of sports at any level, so I declare I am not experienced or knowledgeable. I did study one physiology module and we play…ahem *experimented* with the VO2 max meter in the lab. Actually someone else went on the machine and I only used my eye power to watch him do, together with the female labmates. That is about as athletic as I would get.

    Looking through the replies, I wanted to point out that there may be more non fast people reading this post looking for a (easy?) way out of rapidly improving running time, than the already fast but want to be faster group that you wrote this for originally. The fast group most probably sustained and dealt with injuries before, it is the non fast group that was not injured as they never trained much! So I thought better ask you to write something about injury as after all this is your blog and you are the decathlete training at pro level, not me 🙂

    • Hello C,

      Ah that’s good to hear, because I really hate the cynics out there.

      Anyway with regards to your earlier comment about dream or dollar, I do not believe that they have to be separate, but at the same time unfortunately our society does seem to pit one against the other.

      I think everyone got to decide what they themselves seek in this life, and perhaps being a super chick white horse is a tempting desire, but if that’s what you’re seeking then sports is definitely not the best channel for it.

      I’m sure you’re more experienced and knowledgeable in this field than you would care to admit, but thanks for dropping by and I wish you all the best in your pursuits in life! 😉

      • YS,

        I would not be so quick to write off sports as a possible avenue, some girls really like guys who take their game seriously as they equate that to also being serious in a relationship, nevermind about money. Who knows, you might meet your someone where you are at now? Or you might write an autobiography about your experience in UK that turns out to be a bestseller? Never say never.

        Pls excuse me as I lighten up the discussion on getting faster running time as it has become too grim and serious for everyone haha.

        There is only 1 plain and simple rule: any task, when done correctly and frequently enough, one cannot help but be exceedingly proficient at it. Be it tossing a roti prata or parallel parking, it is always the same rule.

        So relax, do the training seriously enough and correctly, enjoy the process of increasing proficiency! Soon, one can look back and laugh at how easy it really is but how hard it was thought to be back then.

      • Yong Sheng says:

        haha, Justin Bieber ftw!

        Thanks for the comment mate, appreciate it =)

        Hope you’re on a good journey yourself, cheers!

  19. today ran 5X663m after 2 days rest. timing: 2m28s,2m29s,2m34s(shoelace came off at last 200m but i continued running), 2m30s,2m37s.

    I estimate my 2.4km timing should be around 10min now, based on average timing for 5X663M and convert to 2.4km. But this may not be accurate as 2.4km requires a constant fast pace and for my 663m timing, at last 100m, i sprint all the way.

    So means i had sprinted 5 sets of 100m for the 5 sets of 663m. While in 2.4km, only last 100m i will sprint.

    Today’s training is hampered by my sore lats as i have not recovered fully from chinup and weight training.

    But i learnt to lean slightly forward and reduce foot contact time with ground- meaning once i plant my foot on the ground, i lift it up asap. This helps me run slightly faster.

    I also had a feel of the pace i should be running. I check my handphone stopwatch every 400m and timing about 1m30s per 400m round.

    • Yong Sheng says:

      Hi Ace,

      Well firstly well done on keeping up with your training, you do seem to be pretty determined on improving. Do remember to balance out the amount of work with the amount of rest because it’s useless to train hard and not allow your body to make the adaptations from those hard sessions.

      It seems to me you are quite occupied with this idea of sprinting and running fast. May I suggest maybe if you want to experience the joys (or pains haha) of really running fast, perhaps consider running 400m or 800m competitively? Try signing up for one of those SAA open meets that happen quite regularly, I’m sure it will be good fun.

      Training for 2.4km on the other hand, is not sprint training. The running methods you’ve mentioned in the previous comment is perhaps targeted at a short sprint audience. You perhaps should look for more middle distance running articles if you’re specifically training for 2.4km.

      Lastly it is important to have transferability in the exercises you do if you want it to specifically improve parts of your running. If you want to improve your arm swing action, there’s not much use doing pull ups. It’ll be much better off if you hold 1kg weights in each hand and whilst standing still, pump them up and down as if you are running as fast as you can for 30s. Rest 30s and repeat 3-4 times. That would be a much more specific exercise that would help develop fatigue resistance for your arms.

      Happy training!

  20. ok, cool. I like to ask if i should do interval trainings if my legs are a bit sore, or endure a few more days till legs completely ok before proceeding training?

    Not sure if training effect is lesser if i train with sore legs compared with fresh legs.

    Also, i came up with my own interval training plan to make training more fun and refreshing. 2X1326M, 2X663M, 2X400M. total 4778M.

    Just did one just now, timing for 2X1326M were a modest 5m19s for 1st set of 1326m and 5m47s for 2nd set of 1326m. Convert to running 1200m at same pace, 1st set timing= 4m48s(avg pace per 400m round=1m36s), 2nd set timing= 5m14s(avg pace per 400m round=1m45s). add up the 2 timings, 2.4km timing=10m2s.

    Still need to learn how to run a more consistent pace for 2nd set 1326m. Maybe this is the first time i increase interval distances to 1326m, so tougher to run a fast time. Better improvement next time,

    Timing for 2x663m: 2m36s, 2m37s.

    Timing for 2x400m: 1m27s, 1m23s.

    As usual, the 1st 1326m was easy to complete. After resting 15min, i did 2nd interval. Realized pace drop by 28s per 1326m, means drop 8.45s per 400m.

    After training 2x1326m, the 2x663m and 2x400m were easy to complete.

    To go to stadium, i need go pioneer mrt and is further than the tohguan park, where i stay nearby. At park, there is no clear cut 400m track where i can run continuously, there is only 1 marking at 663m, which means 1 round around the park. So to save transport time, i started training at my neighbourhood park.

    I loginto saa and check, most of these competitive athletics are 17-18 years old, and they can run less than a minute 400m, meaning 15s per 100m. For me, i can only do 1m15s per 400m at my fastest speed. Not sure how they train, If i can hit 1m10s, i be real happy already.

    Maybe it may seem to you i am concerned about timing, it is due to the fast pace demands for gold timing, so i need to be constantly aware of my pace and timing, and whether I have improved. Otherwise hard to meet the gold timing.

    This week is 2nd week upgraded training to 3 times a week, with alternate days rest.

    Last time i used to be complacent doing intervals once a week, i realize it is not enough to produce training effect for me.

    I see saa and checked out national champion mok ying ren’s blog. He runs 70s per 400m lap for 5000m race in japan, tokai university. He broke singapore’s national record for 5000m at 14mins. That is amazing, as that is real fast. Of course, he has been training for many years competitvely, so it is no wonder.

    checkout: mokyingren.com

    I just want to run a 9m30s 2.4km timing for now and slowly improve to sub-9 over next 6 months. For those who read this blog and have better timing, congrats to you guys.

    I am just an average runner, not competitive, haha. But I will give my best in training and maintain a good 2.4km timing till i rod at 40 years old or earlier if MR. After that, it will be running for fitness.

    Oh, i tried the 1kg weights on both hands and running on spot. After 10s, i feel sore at my arms already. Need more gradual improvement.

  21. And I wish to encourage all runners who have the good opportunity to come into this blog, to seriously train for gold timing, no matter what CAT and age you are.

    You just know you are not at your best running form when you just hit silver timing for 2.4km run.

    So challenge yrself and gradually train to a better timing, using the methods yongsheng impart in this blog. Try it for yrself and see improvements- I for one has improved 3minutes since started training 3 months ago.

    Your best is yet to be.

  22. I am taking a one week break from running intervals. I think I have overtrained myself now. Training has to be gradual and improvements will come slowly- don’t rush and force it.

    • Yong Sheng says:

      Hi Ace,

      Thank you for your kind words in your previous comments. And yes being patient and have sufficient rest is absolutely essential if you want to continue running and improving for many years to come.

      I do find it is a pity that we don’t have more adults participating in the track and field circuit back in Singapore unlike here in the UK where I have competed in decathlons with people in their 50s even. I think many people forget the joys of physical expression and the beauty of movement because all they think about is relative performances. Hopefully in time to come this will change and people start to learn how to enjoy life a bit more back in Singapore. The race after all is just with yourself and not with anyone else.

      The link you’ve pasted is interesting, however as they did not specify how they actually come up with the numbers I will not take their calculations to be of any significance. If you want to know your VO2 max you can find place where they will hook you up to a machine that measures the content of the air you breathe out when you run till exhaustion. That then is an accurate measure of VO2 max. But for now I really think there isn’t a need for that cost or data to help you with your training.

      My general concern with the way you are training now is that there is way too long a rest period inbetween your interval reps. If you continue like this you will find that there is very little transferable gains to your actual 2.4km timing. You really got to work at about equal work and rest time. If you’re running 1 rep of interval at 5 min, then you rest can only be 5 min before your next rep. Slow down your reps if you cannot keep to it with a reduced rest period inbetween, it’s the only way that you’ll be running a constant pace for 6 laps around the track continuously.

      Other than that, rest well and enjoy the rest of your life!

  23. Ok, I will follow yr valuable instructions. Doing 4X800M next week at stadium, target 3M19S, holding a constant 1m39s per lap with 1m39s rest in between each 800m. work-rest ratio 1:1

    Too many training methods make me confused. Initially, I thought resting more is good as it allows me to perform better in getting a good timing for intervals, but it may not translate to better 2.4km timing.

    I will stick to yr method to train and update training progress soon.

    Meanwhile check this out:
    http://www.runningplanet.com/training/vo2max-speed-workouts-made-simple.html

  24. http://www.runningforfitness.org/calc/racepaces/split

    check out the link above- interesting calculation for positive split, negative split and even pace.

    Many champion runners run negative splits- running 1st half of race slower than 2nd half.

    What do you think? Running 1st 3 rounds of 2.4km run at a slightly slower pace than race pace, then speed up during last 3 rounds? the theory behind negative splits is by holding back during the first half of the run, the glycogen in your body that acts as fuel is reserved better for the latter part of the run.

  25. http://olympiantribelfast.proboards.com/index.cgi?action=display&board=training&thread=19&page=1

    check out actual negative splits in use at actual 2.4km run by others

    Their timing is quite impressive, from 8m34s to 10m45s. 11 persons raced 2.4km, 9 performed negative splits, only 2 performed positive splits.

    • Yong Sheng says:

      Hi Ace,

      Apologies for the late reply, well in all honesty, yes running a negative split is common towards higher performance levels, if you look at olympic class 5000m – 10000m races that can clear the last 400m in about 56s. However for the lap times you are running, I sincerly think that your priority should be worrying about race strategy and such.

      A large part of your improvement will come from improvements to your physical conditioning and running technique. Once you aquire that and have a sense of pacing, then you can do time trials and know how much to conserve and how much to attack.

      There’s no point in running negative splits on a time that’s too slow.

      Be paitient, build up your basic fitness and improve on your running technique, then worry about race pace.

      YS

  26. Hello! Great article! 😀 but my test is just next week! How?

  27. Hello! Great article! 😀 my test is just next week, and I hardly train… What to do?

    • Yong Sheng says:

      haha, hello there! Unfortunately I think you already know the answer to that question. There’s no substitute for hard work and no short cuts to success, just try your best and train for your next one =)

  28. Hello there, i failed my 2.4km by 1min, so i think i will use this training method and see how it goes, shall start from week 3 instead of week 1!

    • Yong Sheng says:

      Hi Raymond!

      Do note that this training program is meant for people pushing for fast times and not for general fitness. I do recommend you actually start by doing a few weeks of 20min runs at a moderate pace (160 heartbeats per min) before you go through from week 1 to 8 of this program. No short cuts to success in life, all the best and I hope you get the times you seek!

      YS

  29. Managed to get Gold (a nice 6 X 1.30min) after training 3 weeks with a regime slightly more intense compared to your advice! Hahah. Thank you so much for the great info!

    Could you share something on diet (carbo loading a few days before the test and blablabla) AND AND about special stretches to get the lactic acid out? My shins kinda get crampy after 5 X 1:15min / 400m runs, 3 times a week :/ Thanks dude! :))

    • Yong Sheng says:

      Congrats! Great to hear that you’ve gotten positive results! The training regime I’ve put up is just a sample, as long as you understand the concept you will be able to tailor one for you own specific needs. A quick way if you are looking to lower your timing now that you’ve mastered even pace running, is that you go out slightly quicked on the first 200m before you settle into your 1.30 pace. This will shave a couple of seconds off at the start n you won’t really feel it if you do it right, then finish strong on the last 300m.

      About the rest you’ve asked I would certainly try to put up some useful information, however time is tight due to the competition season coming so I can’t guarantee a time frame. A quick advice is to look up foam rollers that you can use to massage (i use the grid from http://www.tptherapy.com/ every night).

      Do check back once in a while to see if there’s any relevant updates! Cheers!

  30. youssef says:

    hi mate i hav been looking for good training method to do my 2.4 as i hav this dream about being police opfficer , and am welling tio go very hard and to be honest i almost did it b4 as i was just doing random runnin lik runs 4 days a week just the 2.4 n push my self every time untill i manged to run it in lik 10.30 mins wich is not bad time but after that i had baby n she took all my time n i just strted to go bak to my run n now waw i hardly can run llik 1.5 k wich is shame n i lik ur programe n am gna giv it atry from tomorow but to mak sure id dd understand the hall thing so i start with
    20 mins moderate run for lik a week
    then i start the 8 weeks method ( is that should be moderate or as hard as i go )
    n the next phase is this sprinting
    n what the difrence between the first stage of the 8 week n the next phase ( how hard should i go )
    n i do it evcery next day so am i gna be able to run lik 5 k or 2.4 k any time during the week or just the running session u mentioned

    thw way i used to run i used to go 400 meter in lik 18 speed in the trademell n then 400 oin lik 11 speed n that is for lik 3 k no rest in between
    n i do that lik 3 times a week n then i finish my week with long run or 5 k

    n do u think if i left some weights while am running is that gonna increse my wights n help me to go faster whn i run wzout the weights in my actuall run or that just gna be more load in my knees

    am really welling to go very hard i want to do my 2.4 in lik 9 mins if i can
    n if u hav any tips to jumping higher would help me as well thanks

    i need to pass 2.4 k runs in less than 10.15 n jump 50 cm in top of my highet that from standing position while my hands streching up m 34 push ups wich very easy n grip strinth easy too ,

    thx mate

    • Yong Sheng says:

      Hi there!

      Firstly all the best in your pursuit of becoming a police officer! Fitness will definitely be a big component of that occupation and it’s good that you’ve decided to take active control of it.

      The program I’ve set out in this post is actually too intense for someone who is coming back to fitness training, it is written with someone how’s already well conditioned but aiming to lower their times.

      As such, a week of 20min moderate running will not allow you to get maximal benefits from this program.

      I would suggest you give yourself at least a month of general fitness conditioning before going on the 8 week program that I’ve mentioned. In this 4 weeks you should aim to have 3 running sessions (20-30min) moderate to high intensity, do conditioning in the gym, circuit work and strengthen up your core.

      Aim to balance out your sessions so that you have rest days and easy days for your body to recover in order to benefit from the training, a good guide is to have an easy day following a hard day and a full rest day each week.

      What you actually do in the gym with weights can benefit or not benefit you depending on what you are actually doing, thus I would recommend that you find a fitness instructor and let him know very specifically what your fitness goals are and what your weaknesses are so that he can design a program to help you achieve your goal.

      When you start the 8 week program, you are meant to go as hard as you can to finish the all the reps with an equal pace as best you can. It will be difficult to judge at first, but give it a few tries and you will get the hang of it.

      To help your jumps, look into doing plyometric exercises, but do them only after a few weeks of general conditioning as well.

      I hope this helps, all the best in achieving your dreams!

  31. Hi yong sheng, i first visited this site around 2 months ago (PR was 10:17), never really trained running back then. so these 2 months i have actually tried training consistently, running at least once every 3 days.

    ill be taking a test soon and hoping to get predictions of how fast i could run, so i can better and more evenly pace myself during the test. it has been one month since my last (three) time trials of 9:31 9:30 9:38, so i have no idea where i stand now.

    most recently, i have run (some relevant workouts)
    8 x 580m in 2:21, 2:14, 2:12, 2:15, 2:15, 2:15, 2:15, 2:11 with 1:1 work:rest between each set
    4 x 800m in 3:00, 2:59, 3:02, 3:04 with 1:1 work:rest between each set
    9 x 400m in 1:30, 1:29, 1:27, 1:27, 1:27, 1:28, 1:29, 1:29, 1:24 with 1:00 rest between each set

    in addition to a prediction for my timing, could you advise me how to further improve? i highly suspect a lack of aerobic fitness as my 800m times are a lot slower than my 400m, so i have been doing long runs. i did continuous running for 50:00 few days back, and 55:00 yesterday. they felt really torturous compared to interval sessions, and trust me i have really been trying to run slow, like ard 2:30/400m pace. but the constant pounding even on the track is leaving my feet and thighs sore anywhere above the 30:00 mark.

    so i would appreciate, a gauge of what i can hope to run, how i should pace, and how else i should train. oh, the test is in 9 days time.

  32. Hi yong sheng, been training since 2 months ago for my 2.4km (PR back then 10:17), visited your site, learnt a few things, did my own training. i need help regarding predicting my time, so i can pace myself evenly and accurately for my test which is in 9 days.

    some workouts i did:
    8 x 580m in 2:21, 2:14 2:12, 2:15, 2:15, 2:15, 2:15, 2:11 with 1:1 work rest ratio
    4 x 800m in 3:00, 2:59, 3:02, 3:04 with 1:1 work rest ratio
    9 x 400m in 1:30, 1:29, 1:27, 1:27, 1:27, 1:28, 1:29, 1:29, 1:24 with 1min rest between each

    is it possible to predict my upcoming test time, just approximately? i did three time trials in the span of one week, but that was already one month ago, they were 9:31 9:30 9:38, when the timing got worse i decided i should just continue training instead of time trialling all the time since i couldnt see any improvements from just time trialling.

    so yep i need to know how fast i can run and therefore should run (on race day), what my splits should be, and what i can do to further improve my performance in 9 days time. i suspect my lack of aerobic fitness to be key, which shows why my 800m times are so much slower than my 400m, i feel very burnt doing 800m intervals honestly. so ive been doing long slow runs, so far did only two, 50mins and 55 mins. i will increase the time soon but i must say these runs are more torturous than intervals, i do run a slow and easy pace of 10:00/mile but i still feel the constant pounding after around 30mins taking its toll on my feet ankles and thighs. i run on a stadium track btw.

    advise and prediction needed, thanks in advance!

    • Yong Sheng says:

      Hi there,

      It’s great that you’ve kept to a good training program, I’m sure you will be pleased since all 3 time trial you have done a month ago have shown significant improvement over your previous PR and also within the IPPT gold mark.

      As for predicting your upcoming time, I would suspect you would be running around the 9min30s mark again just like your trials. Reason why is because you seem to be hovering around the 1.30 mark per 400m in your intervals and not any quicker. In terms of running 6 laps straight you will only be able to have maybe a pace about 5s slower than the time you run in the intervals from experience, thus running a 1.35min pace for 6 laps will bring you round to 9.30.

      And with 9 days to go, there actually isn’t that much more to do, you’ve put in the hard work already so you should actually taper down a little and get well rested. I would recommend just 3 more easier sessions (such as 3 x 800m at 3min each rep, 1 x 1200 at 4min30s, 20min easy jog and stretch).

      As I mentioned a realistic pace for you to stick to would be to run 1min 35s per lap, and with the last lap to go give it an all out sprint to steal some time. I wouldn’t recommend you go out any quicker than 1min30s on your first lap because you seem not to be able to hold that pace, and once you tire I assure you running 1min35s would then be a big chore.

      I actually think you made a mistake with your training by switching to long slow runs. It will not increase your aerobic fitness as I explained in my article. Aerobic fitness is based on the maximum capacity which you heart can pump blood and for how long it can sustain at that level of activity. To increase aerobic fitness you need to do something like 15-20min runs at 90% max heart rate. Also you could reduce the rest time inbetween the intervals to achieve similar effect. Running slowly for long periods only help your muscles adapt to the constant pounding. This may be something you should consider when you prepare for your next 2.4km test.

      Regardless, I think you’ve done a good job training for the test, so all the best and I believe you will do well, cheers!

  33. Hi, nice training tips. Trying to get under 10mins for a nice $400 bucks from the army. I run 6km 2 to 3 times a week but suck at 2.4km. I think my fastest timing at the moment is just under 11min. Shall try your training program and report back, if my schedule allows. Cheers.

  34. New to running says:

    Hello i am back from my test, official timing not out but it was around 9:10 from my watch, which i am rather pleased with, im hoping to break 9, and perhaps reach 8:45 by my next test which is four weeks time, is it realistic?

    what should my training schedule be like for the next four months? time is of no issue to me. oh and i didnt jump gold standard, got an overall silver instead.

    • Hi there! Congrats on getting a time you are pleased with. I think breaking 9 by dropping 10s in 4 weeks is realistic, but dropping 25s especially since you are already running a fast time in 4 weeks is not. I would recommend you do paced intervals for maybe 4x800m or 3×1200 at the race pace you wish to achieve. Meantime do look up plyometric training and incorporate some of those elements into your training to help your SBJ. All the best and keep training well!

  35. farid hahalol says:

    What’s your fastest timing for 2.4km?

  36. farid hahalol says:

    I’m gonna be 15 this December. Currently in sec 3. I had managed to improve my 2.4 timing from 11+(sec 1) to 9:02 (current). Is it possible to reach 8 mins flat? When i ran my last 2.4 km run this week, my timing was 9:02. I believe that i put in ALOT of effort in it. I’m not sure if i could improve. Is it possible?

    • Hi there! As I mentioned in the post, my fastest official 2.4km is only 10min flat. I’ve not had a 2.4km test since and I train for decathlon now rather than that. 9.02min is a quick time for someone who’s 15. Though I will not be able to tell you where exactly improvements can be made as I’ve not met you and seen you train, the usual areas people target to get quicker is to improve their running efficiency (running technique), their aerobic and anaerobic capacity (their fitness) and race strategy (lap pacing). I would think at 15 there would be much running efficiency to gain by improving your technique, you can look up literature out there about efficient running and look at how world class runners run. Aerobic and anaerobic capacity improves via training and age, thus as your body develops you will run faster if you continue training. Lastly the quickest way to steal a few seconds off your pb is by improving your race strategy. You can check your per lap splits and see if you are running an even paced or odd paced race, how consistent you were per lap and whether you were able to kick for the last 400m.

      I hope these information helps, I’m also sure there will be a PE teacher or a running coach who will be able to help you out. Running under 8min is definitely possible, I had a friend back in the army who used to be a national swimmer run 7min30s.

      All the best, cheers!

  37. Hi there! im in need of advice for 2.4, i recieved letter of enlistment last week.
    Said i need to enter in Dec 13 for PTP of extra 8 weeks. ( Feel like its a bit of last minute notice, scared not enough time to train 2.4 ) 😦
    They stated that i need to pass my napha before December 1st so that i dont have to go for PTP.

    So, Is there a way to get the 12:20 minutes for silver in just 4 weeks?
    My previous timing was about 13mins. And that was months ago.

    Does running at highest speed that i can for 400m with 2minute break For 6 Rounds, Every alternate days good enough?
    Do you think i can make it in 4 weeks? or Less?
    Is there a better/ faster way to get the timing i need?

    Thank you!
    Hope to hear from you asap. =)

    • Yong Sheng says:

      Hey buddy, apologies for the late reply!

      Been really busy at work and hence neglected my blog. Anyway I hope you have been training in the last week. Pushing down from 13min to 12min shouldn’t be too big a challenge, all you got to make sure of is to go out and run! Run hard too!

      I would advise you go for 4 runs a week and rest at least 2 days before the test.

      For each run, there cannot be any holding back, it’s not going to be a sophisticated training program. Set a stop watch and time yourself to run 15mins. Run HARD. Start faster than you would like and hang on for 15 mins. No excuses, don’t stop. If you can do this, even after 2 weeks I’m pretty confident that you can get your 12min timing when it comes to the test, but you got to be willing to push it hard for every session from now till then.

      All the best!

      • Hi! Its okay man. =)

        Yes I’ve been training, but on running and swimming.
        My legs took quite long to recover from HIIT, so i swim as i cant run much.

        Btw i just took a test yesterday at Toa Payoh.
        All stations went well except my 2.4 😦
        Needed 12.20 to pass but, when at my 5th round, it was already 11.30+
        As soon as my second lap, i felt like giving up lol. By lap 5, my speed was slow jogging and literally felt like dying. I did not stop or walk during the 2.4 though. And my gasping for air was kinda loud i guess. (Help please) x_x

        Do i need to train on stamina or speed? Is there a way to train both?
        My legs are kinda sore, can i do swimming on certain days instead? (Does swimming even help on stamina for 2.4?) if so, how should i do it?
        And for the running, i just have to focus on running 15mins non stop? Or is it better to use the HIIT method?
        A friend said i should run 3km few times a week, which is better?

        Thanks!!

      • Yong Sheng says:

        Hey mate,

        Well, it’s pretty obvious that the primary thing you are lacking is stamina. Speed is important, but without stamina you got no chance of holding the pace for 6 laps. You really need to focus on being able to clear each 400m in 2mins or less to get your desired time.

        In all honesty, there is no magic short cut to fitness. But now we’ll have to focus on doing the best you can with the time you have left.

        You can do swimming to help with your stamina, but for the purpose of the time left, I would advise you ignore it for the time being and just go and run.

        Train on alternate days if your legs are sore, one day on, one day off to let your legs recover. Running 15min non-stop and running 3km a week is pretty similar, the point is that for both these exercises you need to run them at pace. No point running them with a 3min per 400m pace. You need to push to 2min per lap and hang on as long as you can. Maybe the first time you’ll only be able to hold that pace for 2 laps, then just finish the rest of the session as fast as you can trying to not drop pace. Then the next session aim to hold that pace for 3 laps and so on.

        HIIT method will not be suitable for you with such short amount of time left.

        As I said, there is no short cuts, but I do think it is salvageable. It’s all up to you and how much pain you’re willing to take!

  38. I wanted you to know how much this post meant to me.

    I’ve always been decently strong, but was always a rather terrible runner. My fastest 2.4k’s were somewhere in the 17-minute range. I’m twenty-two freakin’ years old.

    I’ve been doing HIIT for almost eight months now. This afternoon, I ran five sets of 500m’s in 1.5 minutes, with two minute rests. Being at this level has made a world of difference in my 2.4k’s and my 5k’s.

    Solid post. You helped this man get a lot tougher.

  39. These are really good tips to train for my 2.4km.. 🙂 im having my PTI course this coming monday .. currently im running at 10.52s .. will train hard and share my outcome..

  40. Hi there, I want to ask if how often a person is recommended to do interval training per week?I currently interval training twice and one long run over the wkend. I trial run my 2.4km and can clock only 10.10s. If I want to achieve gold in three wks time, is it possible?

    • Yong Sheng says:

      Hi Nicholas,

      Is it possible? Definitely. But it would largely depend on how close to maximal exertion you are at when you ran the 10.10s for the trial. To shave off 25s, would be cutting roughly 5s per lap (giving a 5s buffer). Thus I would recommend you to drop the long run session for the next 3 weeks, just do the 3 interval session (or 3+1 long run if your schedule permits), but make sure you are running quicker than your target pace 1m27s per lap. And do 800m intervals.

      It’s not going to be easy, but I would think that it’s your best shot. Just make sure during race day itself, don’t go out too quick on your first lap and then keep to your target pace. Every time you feel like slowing down, kick in a little bit to pick up your leg speed (it will feel like you’re trying to go quicker but in reality it’s just preventing you from slowing down too much). All the best for the test!

  41. Marcus Ong says:

    Hi yong sheng, after clearing ippt, how can I maintain my 2.4km timing? As in do I still follow your training programme?Thanks.

  42. Hi Yong,

    I am currently running around 12min for the 2.4k, and my first goal is to get down to 11mins, then progress down to 10mins (if I can). A couple of questions: With the 50% effort active recovery do you mean 50% max HR, or 50% of my perceived running pace? Also, I am only 5 foot 4 inches – in your experience is there any difference in cadence, HR etc… that you have seen with shorter people? Is it harder to run faster for longer if one is of shorter stature?

    Thanks

    Joey

    • Yong Sheng says:

      Hi Joey!

      Gosh apologies for the uber late reply! Haven’t been checking/updating this blog for quite a while now.

      50% effort for your active rest phase will correspond to your perceived effort, a very rough guide. The main aim of that phase is to maintain your HR at elevated levels so that during the next bout of 2 min run you can hit your target HR range quickly to get maximum benefits from the session.

      With regards to running technique of postures, there isn’t that much difference I believe as your body naturally works out what is suitable for your body type. I’ve seen people with all sorts of body physics run fast, hence there will really be minimal difference at the pace you are talking about.

      Hope it helps, apologies for the super late reply, hope you made progress towards your goals in the meantime!

      Yong

  43. Hi, im running a 9.16 pb for 2.4 now.. at which week of training should I begin your training regime with?? Your article is great

    • Yong Sheng says:

      Hi Dylan!

      Well it would really depend on the state of fitness and the training cycle you currently are in. If you’re starting off a new season after an off season break, I would say long runs for 2-4 weeks before embarking on the training I mentioned should be about right. All the best for your training!

      YS

  44. Glendon Thaiw says:

    Hello there! I am a polytechnic graduate who is about to enlist to the army in 4 months time! I’ve failed my first ever 2.4km last December @ 14:50. Since then, I have been training relentlessly just by during hard 2.4kms everyday and have seen my timing dropped significantly. As of now, I can do a 9:40 pretty comfortably.

    Thank you for much for the advise on intervals training and I hope I will be able to knock off a minute with your training regime.

    Best Wishes!

    • Yong Sheng says:

      Hi Glendon! Thanks for your kind words! Do take some easy days into your training program because I noticed a lot of guys who over train and do not allow for their bodies to recover for the full adaptation benefits. Do add some intervals into your program and I’m sure you’ll be knocking out some badass times in the future. Cheers and all the best in the army! – YS

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