Home > Training

Get into peak endurance shape with this ladder workout

Ladder workouts are perfect for cold weather

trail runner in snow

If you can’t get to an indoor track this winter to work on your speed, interval training can be a great tool when training outdoors in cool conditions. Interval training can be tailored to any individual and their goals and needs, plus it’s easy to track. Research has shown that it’s the most effective way to run and will help get you to your goals faster. 

As good as it is for us, interval sessions like 10-12 x 400m, or five reps of five minutes, can get pretty monotonous, and it’s beneficial to mix it up and try workouts like ‘ladders,’ to keep things fun.

Winter runner
Photo: Unsplash/Jenny Hill

The concept of a ladder workout is that the intervals get longer or shorter, as if you’re climbing up or down a ladder (or pyramid). It is a workout that can be done on the track or the road, and can be done at one pace, or getting gradually faster or slower.


1 min, 2 min, 3 min, 4 min, 4mins, 3 min, 2 min, 1 min (90 seconds jog rest between)

This workout is curated for 5K and 10K runners looking to improve their endurance. The first four reps of the workout should be done at your 10K pace, and the last four reps should be done about five seconds per kilometre faster.

Allow yourself to ease into the workout by staying relaxed and sticking to paces during the first three reps. The first couple of reps should feel easy, but you don’t want to go out too fast and not be able to finish the workout. 

If you want to make the workout more difficult, add a five-minute rep between the two four-minute reps.

Your average pace over the eight reps of the ladder should give you an idea of your 10K potential and help build your aerobic endurance. 

Check out the latest buyer's guide:

Top 10 shoes our testers are loving in June

We tested tons of great shoes this year, but only the very best make the list