What are Cruise Intervals for running?

Running tips: Cruise Intervals

Cruise intervals are a run training method made popular by famous American Running coach Jack Daniels.  Daniels has incorporated Cruise intervals into the training of top level runners for over 20 years.


Cruise intervals are a type of threshold training, otherwise known as lactate threshold training.


Lactate Threshold Run Training

When you’re running at a speed that’s comfortable, you can run for


an extended period of time because at this pace your body is able to clear the lactate as quickly as it’s produced.  If you pick up the pace, your muscles begin dumping more and more lactate into your blood.

Your threshold is the point at which your body is producing lactate as faster than your body can disperse it.

Simply put, this is the point where you change from running comfortably hard to uncomfortable.  When you reach your lactate threshold your muscles burn, you feel utterly exhausted and will soon stop.


If we can improve your ability to clear blood lactate, you’ll improve your lactate threshold.  This means being able to run comfortably at a faster pace for longer.


Two types of lactate training that we recommend (and do in our running classes) include:
·         Tempo runs
·         Cruise intervals


Tempo runs are steady, controlled runs at a comfortably hard pace usually of 20 – 30 mins duration.  It should feel like a medium to hard pace that is sustainable for 20-30 mins.  It is not a sprint! The purpose of this run is to stay just at your lactate threshold, and not push to a point where you cannot clear blood lactate as fast as it is produced.

Cruise Intervals are a way of splitting up a tempo run with breaks that allow you to run at this threshold level for longer.  The cruise intervals should be run at the same pace as your tempo run – comfortably hard and sustainable.

During cruise intervals your blood lactate levels remain quite constant, the same as in a steady tempo run.  The short rests enable you to keep going for a bit longer, and reduce the stress on your body.



Typical cruise interval session
Long sustained intervals at threshold pace
Divided by short rests

Generally cruise intervals are 3 – 15 minutes in length with 1 minute of rest for every 5 minutes of workload.

For example – 
1km cruise interval     60-90 secs rest
Repeat 4 sets

Jack Daniels recommends 3 – 4 sets of cruise intervals after a warm up, always finishing with a cool down and stretching.



If you’d like to participate in running training that includes cruise intervals, fartlek, hill training, and more, aimed at all levels, enquire about our Running Program.


Feel fitter than ever and see the results in your finish time