Cruise intervals in running are a type of workout that involves running at a medium-hard effort with short recovery intervals between. The goal of cruise intervals is to improve lactate threshold, running rhythm, and endurance. The general rule of thumb is that cruise intervals should total no more than 8 percent of your total weekly mileage. For example, if you run 20 miles per week, you should do about 1 1/2 miles of cruise intervals, while if you run 50 miles, you should do about 4 miles.

A typical cruise interval session should include a warmup, the cruise intervals, and a warmdown. The short rest between intervals is essential to the workout, and it should last only 30 to 60 seconds. Cruise intervals are suitable for runners of all levels, and they can be particularly effective for runners in the 15- to 30-miles-per-week range.


  1. Intensity and Duration: You run these intervals at about 80-85% of your maximum heart rate, close to your lactate threshold pace. Each interval might last 5, 10, or 15 minutes. The rest periods are shorter than the running intervals and typically last one to two minutes.
  2. Example Workout: In a 45-minute session, you might do five intervals of 5 minutes each at lactate threshold pace, with 2 minutes of jogging as recovery between each interval.
  3. Benefits for Distance Runners: Cruise intervals are especially helpful for those training for long-distance races. They build the endurance needed to keep a consistent pace over time.
  4. Useful for Sprinters Too: Sprinters can also benefit from cruise intervals, as they help build cardiovascular stamina and muscular endurance.
  5. Incorporating into Training: It's recommended to do cruise intervals about once a week as part of your training. They can be combined with other workouts, like tempo runs or hill repeats, for a well-rounded training plan.
  6. Caution for Beginners: This workout is intense, so it's not suitable for beginners or those who don't run regularly. Always start with a proper warm-up and end with a cool-down and stretching. When done correctly, cruise intervals can significantly improve your endurance, speed, and race performance.


The purpose of cruise intervals in running is to improve lactate threshold, running rhythm, and endurance. Cruise intervals are short-rest intervals performed at threshold pace, which is around 85-95% of the individual's maximum heart rate. The general rule of thumb is that cruise intervals should total no more than 8 percent of your total weekly mileage. Here are some key benefits of cruise intervals:

  1. Increased Lactate Threshold: Cruise intervals aim to increase the point at which the body becomes overwhelmed by lactic acid, allowing runners to run faster for longer.
  2. Improved Running Rhythm: Cruise intervals help runners maintain a consistent rhythm and pace during the intervals, which can be beneficial for endurance and overall running performance.
  3. Enhanced Endurance: By performing cruise intervals at or near the lactate threshold, runners can improve their ability to sustain a challenging pace for longer periods, which is crucial for marathon running and other endurance events.
  4. Mental Preparation: Cruise intervals can help runners mentally prepare for the challenges of racing at threshold pace, as they provide a controlled environment to practice pacing and maintaining a comfortable level of effort.

Overall, cruise intervals are an effective training tool for improving lactate threshold, running rhythm, and endurance in runners of all levels. They should be incorporated into a training plan with care, as they can be mentally and physically draining.