Q and A: Winter Workouts -

Published by - Nike High School Track and Field
Feb 1st 2012, 12:34am | 1518 views
coach jay

Dear Coach Jay,

I'm a sophomore in high school and I was wondering what good ideas for winter workouts are. Usually, my team would do mostly distance runs in the winter. This year, I was thinking of adding a tempo, fartlek, or interval workout a few times a week. Do you have any suggestions for other workouts to do in the winter to help prepare for track season?


Hi Ryan,

Thanks for the question. It's great you're already looking toward the winter months to set a good foundation of fitness for outdoor track.

On one hand, getting in the miles via distance runs is a great way to train. You'll improve your aerobic fitness and that will no doubt lead to faster times in the track season. However, you're not going to run to your potential in the outdoor season if you just do distance runs in the winter. Why? Because speed takes time to develop, (and maintain,) and if you're not doing focused strides - at 800m pace and faster - then you're not going to reach your potential come spring. Now, you have to be careful with this. Iif the roads are icy and snow-packed you can't go out and do 5 x 150m at 800m pace. But the flip side is you've got to find a way to get some race pace strides in twice a week at a minimum (and three or four times a week is even better).

One thing to keep in mind is what Bill Bowerman called "date pace" vs. "goal pace." For example, if today you could run 800m in 2:04, then that's 31.0 seconds per 200m and that's your date pace. If you hope to run 1:56 by the end of the season, then that's 29.0 seconds per 200m; that's your goal pace. You and your coach should sit down and come up with a progression of strides, starting in November/December and ending with your state meet that takes you from your date pace to your race pace.

Finally, I really liked that you identified fartlek runs and threshold runs as key workouts because those workouts, along with a weekly long run, is all you need in the winter…plus the date pace strides.

Best of luck Ryan!


*Coach Jay's advice is provided as general training information. Use at your own risk. Always consult with your own heath care provider for questions relating to your specific training and nutrition.

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