Workout of the Day

T-Roy Brown (2nd from left) runs powerfully with his Portland State Vikings teammates circa 2014 XC season at the famed Duniway Park track in downtown Portland, Ore.

T-Roy Brown (2nd from left) runs powerfully with his Portland State Vikings teammates circa 2014 XC season at the famed Duniway Park track in downtown Portland, Ore.

800m / 3 x 400m / 300m / 200m / 150m / 100m

Splits: 1:59.98 / 56.08, 56.96, 57.47 / 43.50 / 26.24 / 18.86 / 12.64

Recovery: 400m walk/jog in 3' - 4' after each rep

T-Roy Brown — Feb. 20th, 2015

Context & Details 

From 2012 to 2015 I was the distance coach at Portland State University in downtown Portland. My first year on the job the roster of distance runners was incomplete and in bad shape. I recruited anyone I could. I just needed blood. 

T-Roy Brown I found at a local rice bowl cafe. He was working the cash register and looked fit enough, so he had a spot on the roster starting fall 2013. However, up until that point he'd never run a step of competitive track in this life. He was a lacrosse player who'd done a few triathlons, that was it. After his first season of cross country, he set the PSU school record in the indoor 3K. It was his first track race. He ran 8:21 and won.

This workout was about 8 days before the conference meet, halfway through his second year as a competitive collegiate runner. His running age was still very young at this point and his learning curve steep. That year the Big Sky Indoor Conference meet was in Flagstaff at NAU and 7,000 ft. Racing there is a rude awakening for runners coming from sea-level Portland. T-Roy was bullish. He didn't think altitude would impact him at all. He was invincible — at least he thought. 

He thrived off honest "red line" workouts. He knew how to push himself really hard and enjoyed it. I think it was a triathlete thing. But he responded well to these efforts. So I had him spike up and get to work with this challenging session. 

The workout was designed to force T-Roy into severe oxygen debt in the final 30% of each rep. He was racing the 1 Mile at NAU and I knew the last 500m would be especially unforgiving. The session instructions were to go out "very fast" for the first half of each rep and "hang on and fight" the final half. I wanted him to experience the harsh metabolic truths he would face indoors in Flagstaff. 

This is an abrasive session. It's hard. I do not recommend it for regular use. I found it best employed 12 - 8 days before a championship meet with rounds or adverse conditions. It can be tweaked as needed to create better exposure to the demands of the upcoming racing circumstances which the athlete will face. 

You'll note the 3 x 400m repeats got slower. In fact, his last 100m on each rep slowed exponentially and resulted in him running 15 - 16.5 seconds for the final 100m after flying through 300m in 40 - 41. I wanted to afford him an education he wouldn't forget but could (hopefully) apply.

How did it go at the conference meet? T-Roy got his butt spanked red, placing 14th. His lungs were unable to find a single oxygen molecule when he needed it most at race end. The saving grace ended up being that Outdoor season. He was set up well for a good spring and soon ran a personal best of 3:51 for 1500m weeks later at the University of Oregon.


Any questions? I'm happy to answer. You can send me a Direct Message on Twitter or email me at Thx // jm




Jonathan Marcus