Tip: Train to be capable over five distances if you run the 1,600m -

Published by - Nike High School Track and Field
Mar 22nd 2012, 8:28pm | 1927 views
coach jay

Train to be capable over five distances if you run the 1,600m.


One of most influential coaches in the history of track and field, Frank Horwill, passed away early this year. Founder of the British Milers Club, Horwill is the coach who created the Five Pace Training Theory (or multitier training). The premise is very simple: if your primary event is the 1,600m, then you’ll also train at 3,200m pace, 5,000m pace, 10,000m pace, and half-marathon pace. His prescription on pace was simple: if a runner does 1600m in 4:16 then they have a race pace of 64 seconds per 400m. Add four seconds to that and you have 68 seconds for 3,200m pace. Add four seconds and you have 5,000m pace, or 72 seconds per 400m. Finally, 76 and 80 seconds for 10,000m and half-marathon pace respectively. It’s elegant and effective.

But another way to think of five paces is this way. Most high school 1,600m runners understand that they should be competitive in both the 800m and 3,200m if they are to be considered a Miler, yet most of these athletes don’t embrace the importance of 400m speed; they don’t run weekly on a 4x400m relay at the end of the meet and may have never run an open 400m race. Conversely, some athletes forget that one of the keys to success in the spring is to keep building their aerobic engine with workouts like 5–6 x 1,000m at 5,000m pace with 60–90 seconds recovery. With this in mind, I believe it’s important for high school 1,600m runners to work on 400m pace, 800m pace, 1,600m pace, 3,200m pace, and 5,000m pace throughout the spring. Obviously it takes the guidance of a capable coach to work all five of these paces (seven paces if you count Horwill’s 10k and half-marathon paces) into the training plan, especially when the athlete is expected to race more than once a week. But Frank Horwill’s training has been proven time and time again for 1,600m runners. Combine that with the need for speed if one is to be a competitive 1,600m runner, and you have a continuum of neuromuscular work that coaches and athletes must attend to throughout the year.


*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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1 comment(s)
Run Free
Very nice that you're recognising the legacy of Frank Horwill's training Jay - please keep that up. But the essence of Frank's initial Five Pace Training was that for what ever distance you are training to race for, you should train at two paces above and two paces below. So, for your HS 1600m athlete they should train at 400m, 800m and 3,200m (3,000m ), 5,000m paces - as well as their 1600m pace. Hope this assists and clarifies.....
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