Track Sessions – General Guidance

Who the track sessions are for

The Tuesday and Thursday track sessions, at Paddington, Parliament Hill and Battersea, are by no means elitist, but they are not suitable for new runners. You should have built up a good base of stamina and endurance before you start introducing speedwork into your programme. If you are in doubt or have any queries on this or other coaching point, please do contact any of the Level 2 or 3 coaches on the Serpentine Coaching Team or email them.

Runners new to track or those returning from injury are advised to limit their session to between half and two-thirds of the total session until you have regularly attended track for 2–3 months. If you are in doubt about how much you should do, please speak to a Level 2 or 3 coach for advice preferably before the session commences. Similarly, if you are new to track and/or are in doubt about track etiquette, please speak to any of the coaches before the session.

Before you start

Sessions start with warm ups at 7.00pm. Please ensure that you have jogged 4 laps of the track prior to the warm-up session. Bring training kit suitable for the anticipated weather temperatures (don't forget that the temperature drops as the evening draws on) and water to drink.

If you are new to track speed work, please speak to one of the coaches before commencing the session or email them in advance.

After you finish

After completing each session, we recommend that you warm down (ideally getting your HR down to <120bpm) by jogging four laps of the track followed by stretches to all of the main muscle groups. Each stretch should last an absolute minimum of 20 seconds.

Previous coaches have provided details of athletes’ times for each distance and pace. With the growth of the club and the popularity of these sessions we regret, for a number of reasons, this is no longer practical. Pacing charts are available and runners are recommended to calculate their paces for the forthcoming session. Sessions are reproduced in the personal evaluation chart and there is a column for you to record your paces too. We very much encourage you to keep this record which we feel will help you to monitor your progress and can be used in conjunction with your own race diary.

How the training sessions are described

We use the IAAF Standard Representation of Training Sessions

Sessions are described as follows:

Sets x repetitions x interval (intensity / pace) [recovery between reps, then recovery between sets]


10 x 2 x 400 (5K) [1’ & 2’]
10 sets x 2 repetitions x 400 metres interval at YOUR 5K pace. One minute recovery between reps and two minute recovery between sets. Normally, the intensity / pace would be in time [‘mins and “seconds]. We usually use pace i.e. YOUR current, race pace.

RECOVERY: Slow jog during recovery please.

PACE: This should be based on current or very recent times.

Serpentine Coaching Team

Contact the coaching team.

Current list of our running coaches.