Workout of the Day
4 Mile Tempo + 2 x 2 Mile
- 4 Mile — 5:35 + 5:35 + 5:30 + 5:20 = 22:00
- 2 Mile — 5:26 + 5:26 = 10:52
- 2 Mile — 5:25 + 5:15 = 10:40
Recovery: 3’ jogging after each rep
Natosha Rogers — April 13th, 2017
Context & Details
In early April 2017, Natosha was coming off a solid performance at the Healthy Kidney 10K. She was eventually on her way for a track season that included a 20 second 5K PR (15:08) and a 10K PR (31:54), which resulted in a 5th place finish at the USATF Outdoor Championships. But before any of that transpired, she won the USATF Half Marathon Championships in late April. Her first national title.
The start to 2017 was an interesting one for Natosha. After an incredibly poor indoor track race, we decide to scrap her indoor season and transition to the Spring competitive season with a return to what she enjoys most — racing on the roads. She would oscillate between road and track races that Spring to great effect.
Sitting 2.5 weeks before the Half Marathon champs, the timing was right to hit one big specific workout. A final test. Thirteen-point-one miles was new territory for Natosha. I was confident in her foot speed, even though she’d be focusing on mostly 10K specific work by that point. And her aerobic endurance was in good shape. But I wasn't too sure about her mental make up. Like I said, early 2017 had been up and down for her. We needed a spot check.
Thus, this workout was designed first and foremost to address the mental side. I wanted her to spend a sustained period of time at a fast pace and see her reaction. I hoped she'd rock it and walk away with her confidence sky high. And thankfully, she did.
Why did I opt to prescribe 4 mile tempo + 2 x 2mile repeats, instead of 8 miles straight?
It allowed her to combine a longer sustained segment with two shorter, but more abrasive efforts in quick succession. This is hard. And she needed to experience dealing with the discomfort that comes from doing hard work. In the 4 mile tempo she’d have to spend over 20 minutes running at strong continuous rhythm and stay engaged. After a short a break, she'd then have to game up and crank the second half of the session faster than the first while dealing with mounting levels of fatigue.
Her instructions were to start at roughly 5:35 effort (which was slightly slower than goal 1/2 marathon pace), hang out there for a while, then drop down to 5:25s for the 2 Mile reps and on the last 1 mile of the work, run "fast." I left it open-ended on purpose. With almost all threshold work I assign, I encourage athletes to run their last mile the fastest — it is what matters most.
Natosha went on to win the USATF Half Marathon Championships in dramatic fashion. She was behind in the final stages, but roared back running her fastest mile at the end. I knew she could do it. And I'd like to think after this workout she knew too.