As a hardcore trail runner, I used to do mad workouts, like 60minutes tempo on technical terrain with D+/-600m of elevation gain and loss, finishing off with 10 x 400m on the track quite fast. The idea was good, but the draining effect, the residual fatigue and he possibility of injuries at the session and post workout too was highly elevated.

I read books on kindle, so I can highlight interesting facts and useful information. When I am over a book, I go through it again in the form of my notes. A couple of weeks ago at the beginning of January, just before I recreated my next workout schedule and the plans for a 5k runner, I finished the book of Brad Hudson and Matt Fitzgerald: Run faster from 5k to the Marathon. I found some interesting workouts, mixed it up a little with some other stuff in Daniel's running formula and in the MAF system. It turns out that it is monstrous in case of confidence boost, fitness gains and mental readiness. No wonders that these guys constantly train their athletes this way. I mean it is nothing revolutionarily new-new. The secret is not in the actual workout, but how it is put in-between other workouts and where it is in the preparation cycle for which athlete !

Workout of week

The mix of mile repeats and fast 200s. Mile repeats are endurance boosting ! Of course it is all relative to the level of speed, recovery and how they are done. However, checking only the distance, 1000s are more likely beneficial for speed endurance and over 2000m repeats, it starts smelling like a time trial or marathon training. The 1600m is for a reason called the Magic Mile. It is a weird in-between distance. Not too short to overdo speed, but just long enough to learn about pacing and tactics.

When mixed together with 200s, the 200s feel more like 400s. You cannot run them all out. You cannot run them slow either. There is a correct speed to them.

It is a double workout week and very correct pacing is obligatory. If not, the second workout of the week will go haywire and while the benefits will still be there, the goal paces might not be reached !

The 1600s are run at around half marathon pace or a tad bit slower for beginners, with 1minutes of recovery between them. The 200s are at high end pace, like you did 10 x 200 pure for speed. If your weekend long run was taxing, take two days easy and run Wednesday and Friday. If your weekend workout was moderate and you feel recovered, then Tuesday and Thursday. If your previous week in general was extremely demanding. Run the two sessions on Wednesday and Saturday. I also will not talk about warming up and cool down, mobility, strength and so. It all has to be in check !

Example for a 30year old 35min - 10k / 16:50 - 5k runner:

  • 4 x (200 @ 37 + 200 jog) + 2 x (1600 @ 3:40/km /w 1min) + 10 x 10sec hills
    • 1 or 2 days @: (45min MAF - 10) => (180 - your AGE - 10) => That is 45minutes ran @ the heart rate of 140 for a 30 year old athlete
  • 3 x (1600 @ 3:40/km /w 1min) + 6 x (200 @ 37 + 200jog)
    • 1 or 2 days @: (45min MAF - 10) => (180 - your AGE - 10) => That is 45minutes ran @ the heart rate of 140 for a 30 year old athlete

  • The following Sunday long run should be at a hard controlled pace if feeling great. If drained and tires, stick MAF simple : 180 - AGE heart rate based run. That is 145 to 150bpm heart rate for a 30 year old athlete. 

The first set is speed, then endurance and the second is endurance, then speed, but with the fatigue built from the previous one. The volume of the first workout is a bit less demanding, but the structure is still hard as killing the legs with speed and then picking up to endurance is difficult. Mentally too ! When arriving to the second action, we do 3 mile repeats what will be not that hard actually. You'll still be gasping for air as the recovery is only 1minute; also the fatigue will be there, but manageable. The 200s will feel easy and controlled, but the tiredness in the next couple of days will be present ! The one or two days sandwiched between the two workouts should be done at pace, but a recovery and proper running pace. I prescribed it on a special and constant heart rate. Keeping an eye on the heart rate monitor is crucial. For advanced runners -5 from MAF would be even more beneficial and probably elites would do some of it at MAF itself. MAF is 180 - AGE heart rate. I briefly described the Maffetone method HERE ! Click !

If your post double set recovery will be done properly, your fitness will be on a new level next week.

This was just one example of mixing different methodologies together. Incorporating pick ups in a long run can be another. Maybe starting out a tempo run with a very fast 600 and finishing it with an extremely fast 200, can be also a difficult task. A 200/400 mix followed by mile repeats will bring another fitness element to the picture.

For the athlete I coach for a 5k race, this workout is in the middle of the 8 week training cycle. For me it is at the 3rd week of an 11week cycle for a 10km trail running race. As he is in the middle of his schedule and coming from a speedy background, he felt the fatigue, but completed it with relative ease.
Last year I finished an ultra running season topping it with a September 220km race. I completed this training week, kept up my head with proper posture and with no failure in my structure. I found it quite hard and challenging though. The first workout was mentally more draining for me as after the 200s when you get into the mile repeats, you just want to go home.

Every athlete is different and coaching is individual. Be aware of this before simply copying workouts to your planning !