Workout of the Day
20 x 400m w. final 400m in 50.1
Performed in five sets of 4 x 400m
Set # 1 — 62.6 / 61.4 / 60.1 / 57.6
Set # 2 — 60.8 / 60.7 / 58.6 / 58.9
Set # 3 — 59.4 / 58.7 / 58.0 / 57.1
Set # 4 — 57.9 / 57.2 / 57.4 / 56.6
Set # 5 — 57.0 / 56.5 / 55.6 / 50.1
Recovery: 3 minutes between sets. 60" between reps in Set #1, #2. 90" between reps in Set #3. 1:45 between reps in Set #4. 2' between reps in Set #5
Alan Webb — May 22nd, 2007
Context & Details
This might be one of the most famous workouts in American middle distance running history this century. It was a precursor to a career zenith no one saw coming or has seen yet.
I didn't see it, design it, nor can fathom performing it as it was done. The only connection I have to it is listening to Alan relive it recently on a Sunday afternoon as we dug through old training logs to find his record of work from that legendary 2007 season.
I share today, the first day of 2018, to inspire. To get you fired up for track season. For the year to come, work to be done, and races to be run. I hope it does the trick.
Alan's American Record in the 1 Mile is my pick for the greatest US distance record on the books to date. Here is the race video. Solinsky's sub-27 10,000m AR run is runner-up, but it rests on a lower summit, the peak of the mountain is 3:46.91. There is no parallel.
I think Alan is owed a debt of gratitude. Today we are in the midst of a renaissance in US distance running. Americans are regularly winning medals at global championships, finishing first in World Major Marathons, and high school boys are running sub-4 minute miles with such regularity that the feat is now becoming blasé. The discipline is flourishing. And I argue that you have Alan Webb to thank for it.
In the early 2000s, he was the lone ranger pushing the envelope when no one else was. He had no map, he and his coach Scott Razco constructed it from scratch. Those days were dark times for US distance running, but Alan answered the call and stepped up. He welcomed all comers, setting the tone and charging full steam to the front of races at gasping speeds. He put himself out there with a big target on his back, saying, "Catch me if you can." Alan redefined what it meant to be an American distance runner. He put the US back on the map, giving his generation and those following, hope that, yeah, us Yankees could run with the best in the world and win.
So today I'd like to thank Alan for his work. Sure he didn't win any global medals, but those are passed out at regular intervals. Someone has to win the Olympics every 4 years or World Championships every 2 years. But to do something remarkable, like running the mile in a time that no one in the entire 21st century has bettered is rare. In fact, it is rarer than rare, it is without equal.
In Japanese, there is a term, kamiwaza, which has no parallel in the English language. It can be roughly translated to "divine work, miracle, god-like, superhuman feat." This workout was an act of kamiwaza, as was Alan's 3:46.91, and of course, so was his career.
Thank you Alan, my friend.