Workout of the Day

 Anna Connor, a High Performance West middle distance ace, is pictured setting the tone in the High Performance Women's 800m at the 2017  Portland Track Stumptown Twilight . 

Anna Connor, a High Performance West middle distance ace, is pictured setting the tone in the High Performance Women's 800m at the 2017 Portland Track Stumptown Twilight

3,000m @ 97% PB + 3 x 800m cutdown + 4 x 300m @ 1M + 2K tempo


  • 3,000m — 9:53.69
  • 800m reps — 2:35 / 2:29 / 2:16
  • 300m reps — 55.6552.07 / 52.76 / 49.53
  • 2K Tempo   7:15


  • 9:00 jogging after 3,000m rep
  • 200m jog rec. in 90" after 800m reps
  • 100m jog rec. in 60" after 300m reps


Anna Connor — November 4th, 2015


Context & Details

Anna is a firecracker. She's a strong, able, and powerful competitor. I've coached her for almost half a decade. In college, she was a run-of-the-mill division III athlete, then spent several years traveling the world after she graduated. During her mid twenties she moved to Portland and asked me to coach her.

She has taught me so much. I am thankful for our sustained and flourishing relationship. When Anna decides to hang up the spikes it will be a sad day for me. She was a true diamond in the rough, which took years to polish and embodies the essence of what HPW is all about. 

Anna owns personal bests of 9:35 for 3,000m, 4:14 for 1500m and 2:06 for 800m, all set in the Spring of 2015. 

The fall of that year she was on a tear. Cross country is not her strong suit. In fact, anything over 2,000m of racing is a stretch. But she made herself into an aerobic monster that autumn.  She won the Oregon State University Beaver Classic. And placed 3rd at the moderately competitive USATF Oregon State XC Championships behind my wife, Kristen Rohde, (a multi-time USATF track & field national championship qualifier) and Carrie Dimoff, a PDX local running legend and now 2:30 marathoner. For Anna, a true miler, being in the race over the grass with such national class pedigree was a big deal. 

Anna performed this session 3 days before said USATF Oregon State XC Championships. I guess you could say she was "training through" the state meet. But I hate that terminology. She was in her final heavy preparation cycle with her target race a month down the road. So the work had to be done and immediate performance sacrifices were made. High Performance West was in its infancy at that point and I thought we had a fairly competitive cross country team (the HPW Women won the Oregon state meet that year) and Anna was a key scorer for us. I had hoped we could vie for the 2015 USATF Club Cross Country team championship in San Fransisco, but we placed 2nd to a very well coached Boston Athletic Association team. 

The concept behind this session was to integrate a variety of physical elements Anna had been working on that fall. It is what I call a Connecting Session. Thus why you see a spectrum of speeds from 5K to 1 Mile with a heavy emphasis on 3,000m pace. She started with a 3K at 97% of her best (which is really 3 seconds per 400m slower than her PR per lap pace).* After the 3K effort were cutdown 800m reps progressing from current 5K to 3K to 1Mile speed. And culminating with 300m reps with short recoveries at goal 1 Mile speeds.

*Quick note: When composing running workouts, the percentages I use to compute the desired speeds of a sessions are time based. Ninety seven percent looks tough, but in reality it is not. When I converse with the athlete I often translate workouts into a softer interpretation of perceived efforts on the day, rather than a hard calculus of numbers. So the conversation that day with Anna regarding the intent of the session would have sounded like, "Anna, the design is to run this 3K at a steady 80% - 85% perceived effort which I think is about 81 - 79 range per lap for you today. The final 400m you can open up and finish at 90% perceived effort if you want, but never give less than 80% effort at anytime."

You'll note a 2K tempo at the end. I often employ this design with female athletes. For a variety of reasons, physiological as well as personal evidence based, I've found women distance runners (1500m runner and up) seem to respond very well to a moderate but consistent stimulus of aerobic work throughout the year. So often a 2K tempo will conclude a more stout session which touches on anything from, or mixture of, 5K to 1 Mile race speeds. 

Anna scored a touchdown that day. She did this work 100% solo, without teammates or pacers. And I'm happy to report she was HPW's 5th scorer, finishing 41st at Club XCs that year (her highest individual ever at the meet!) in the face of several unplanned adversities during the final 10 days leading into the race. 


Any questions? I'm happy to answer. You can send me a Direct Message on Twitter or email me at jmarcus.hpw@gmail.com

Thx //  jm

Jonathan Marcus