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1/25 Workout Results ... An Igloi-style long run for middle-distance runners

Published by
Coach Matt   Jan 26th 2010, 7:42pm

Been a while since I’ve written… Got out of rhythm over break and I’m a little behind in the ‘extra’ stuff I was doing.


One of the bigger ‘problems’ I’ve been having has been getting the type of aerobic response I’ve wanted out of my mid-distance athletes. They have been brought up largely in a sprint-based world, where they viewed a 4-mile run as a long run. In fact, anytime I would ask them to do a run in the morning (i.e. an easy 20min), they would ask, “So you want me to do my long run in the morning?” Another couple of examples are the recent interval workouts that I was hoping to use as tempo run replacements, because I knew asking them to do a 20min tempo was not nearly getting the paces I wanted (they may have been getting near the HR necessary, but the neuromuscular rhythm/contraction rate was significantly slower than it should have been… therefore the movement patters were less than ideal as well). Even those workouts (6x1000m w/1min break and 12x400m lane 8 tempo style) were met with resistance as “really long” workouts.


A side-problem I have been having is many of the mid-distance athletes feeling like they were not getting enough speed in their work week. Granted at this point in the season with my athletes at Portland State I was probably introducing more “track” work, but they were also coming in with MUCH better aerobic bases. So I’ve been attempting to spend more time building the aerobic systems here. While I am definitely getting improvement across the board (sprinters and mid-distance runners), it is obvious that a few people are definitely not responding as well as they could be, from both a physiological and a psychological standpoint.


We also have a limited training week, as we are often traveling from Thursday until very late on Saturday or Sunday. That leaves me with Monday-Wednesday as the quality training days. So I’ve been trying to find a way to solve the problems of 1) getting a long run, 2) getting quality aerobic work, and 3) getting speed work… all while not overloading them. I was going to leave the “speed work” and “speed endurance/power work” for the mid-distance athletes for the meets during the indoor season and really try to focus on the aerobic build-up for these 800m runners, as I felt they were so deficient we would make our biggest gains there. We were still doing strides on basically a daily basis, so it’s not as if I was totally neglecting leg turnover until the meet.


A lot of potatoes… now here’s the meat…


After speaking with Chris Puppione he explained some of the stuff that Igloi had done with his runners. I had not researched his methods well enough to understand exactly what “five days in a row of interval workouts” meant. So I appreciate the help/understanding of the work he did. After speaking with him, it became apparent that it was very similar to some of the “aerobic running” I have been doing with my sprinters this year (1111/1121/etc. work). That’s when it all started clicking for me. So, again, I appreciate Chris helping me make that connection, and bringing my coaching to a little higher level.


Yesterday for our “long run” my mid-distance athletes did the following:


2 lap easy warmup, 5-10min of active drills/stretching



1 lap easy



1 lap easy



2 lap easy cooldown, Big 10 (10 pushups, 10 situps, 9 pu, 9 su, 8 pu… etc.)


In Igloi style, he would essentially assign three paces to his athletes efforts: easy, good, hard (or similar terminology). Essentially it is up to the athlete to determine how fast each effort is for the day. Since it was the first time we were doing that, I tried to give them an “idea” … like easy would be 80-90 pace, good would be 70-80 pace, and hard might be 60 pace. I told them that for the 100’s they would have a 20sec rest, and that for all the other distances they would have a 50m walk rest. For the 8x reps on the track, the pattern I wanted for this first time doing this workout was “easy-easy-good-easy-easy-good-easy-easy”…


As I watched them run the workout, it seemed pretty clear that they were running a pretty steady effort throughout for all of the reps. I’d liken it to being a “good” effort the entire time. I timed a few of Will’s efforts to get a feel for what they were running, though I was definitely not that interested in their paces specifically. Especially in such a long workout “mentally” (this workout ultimately had 54 reps!), I didn’t want to add too much other stress on them. The paces Will ran were approximately:


100’s … 15-17sec (all on grass)

200’s … 30-32sec

300’s … 50-55sec

150’s … 22-23sec … last two in 20-21


For the 150’s, since it was the end of the workout, I told them follow the same pattern as before, but then the last two could be as they felt.


In total, the workout took about an hour and 13min (not counting the warmup, cooldown, and big 10). I think there was probably 5-8min of wasted time throughout the workout because of explanation and it being the first time we did it. Efficiency should increase dramatically the next time we do it. I did one HR check in the middle (about a minute after an easy lap jog w/Tavares) and his HR was above 120 still. So I would assume that for the entire 75min we had a HR above 120, with a  majority of it much higher. And their rest, as mentioned before, was only 20sec on the 100’s, and 50m walk on the rest. That 50m walk took about 35-45sec.


I initially wanted to also do another set of 10x100m and 8x250m in this workout, but as we were getting into it, it was apparent that it was going to take a little longer than I had mapped out. So I dropped it this time, and as we become more accustomed to this work, and more efficient at it, that will be added in. And hopefully the change of paces will be more apparent as well, because I don’t want them to get neuromuscularly locked into paces too much.


After adding up all the distance covered at various paces, this is what I came up with:


60-65sec: 5800m

70-75sec: 2400m


Counting the WU/CD and easy jogs between, they covered a total of 9600m (6miles) of only running. And I wouldn’t be surprised if that is farther than they covered during their 40min “long runs.” So, not only did we spend a longer time at a presumably similar HR (nearly double the time), but we also did it at a much higher quality of leg turnover. And Will has reported to me this morning that his legs are perfectly fine. Yesterday immediately after the workout (when most athletes are about ready to kill the coach after hard workouts), Tavares said he liked that workout way better than even 12x400m at 70-75 pace with 60sec rest. That just seems weird to me, since they did 70% more distance and nearly all faster than that pace, and with shorter rest.


One final note about the workout from an administration standpoint. I chose 8 as the number of reps for any of the distances we did on the track because for any distance of rep from 150 to 400m (150/200/250/300/350/400m), doing 8 of them will have you finishing at the same point you started. Just begin with the 50m walk portion. With a larger group, this could become useful information. But in true Igloi style, everything would be individualized and more customized, and things such as starting/finishing in the same spot are secondary.


Today is scheduled the 6x650m hill run we do (550m flat around a grass field, then 100m hard up a steady incline). I hope to be videotaping this today, and get that up on the web so you can see the workout. The quarter-milers do this as a 200m flat then 100m up the hill. Rest of the week for Will is as follows:



600 <1:30

Right into 4 laps straights/turns

5-8min rest

400m <56

Right into 4 laps straights/turns

5-10min rest

4x200m <26 with 200m walk



30min strides in AM

Travel to UW in PM



Easy run + 150-200’s to loosen up



800m race at UW invite

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