Workout of the Day

Kristen Rohde competes at the 2014 USATF Outdoor Championships in the Women's 10,000m. Photo:  Michael Scott

Kristen Rohde competes at the 2014 USATF Outdoor Championships in the Women's 10,000m. Photo: Michael Scott

5 x 1 Mile + 4 x 200m + 1.5M @ Tempo


1 Mile — 5:25 / 5:28 5:19 / 5:17 / 5:14
200m —  34.3 / 34.9 34.1 / 33.5 
1.5M —  8:53

Recovery: 400m jog after 1 Mile reps, 200m jog after 200m reps 30" rest between 200m reps

Kristen Rohde — Nov 11th, 2015


Context & Details

I've been coaching my wife since spring 2010. Our athlete-coach relationship started after we began dating and stills continue to this day. If there is one person who gets credit for the largest influence over the coach I am today, it is Kristen. She works full time in the health care industry. Yet she trains at a national class level. She fits her workouts in when she can: early mornings, lunch breaks, after work and on the weekends. She is an inspiration. When people say you can't work and compete at a high level, I point to her. She has done so year in and year out with style and grace. 

Kristen's passion is cross country. She loves the grass, hill, and mud. This was her first workout after winning the USATF Oregon State XC championships. It is one of the more competitive USATF association championships in America and she dispatched a capable field over a tough course with relative ease that year. Her fitness showed promise. 

This session was only meant to be 1 Mile reps at 5:35 - 30 pace, but as Kristen would soon prove, she was in career fitness and waltzed through this workout. A month after this effort she would place 9th at Club XC Championships and earn an opportunity to represent Team USA at the Great XC Challenge in Scotland. For a modest collegiate runner who never made the national meet, this was a career defining achievement. And how she ran this day was a clear indicator of her form. 

Kristen has never been a rip-it-up and run all out in practice type of runner. She is prudent, methodical, level headed, and even keeled. For her to cutdown from 5:26 to 5:14 is rare, usually she is a "nail-the-pace-and-that-is-it" type runner. But today was different. After rep 1 she said she felt good and 5:25 wasn't too challenging. I encouraged her to run a little faster on the next rep. She did. It still wasn't a big strain. And step by step, rep by rep, she sped up. But it wasn't taxing. When she finished the 5:14 she was surprised at how manageable it was. I told her, "You must be fit. You've never been able to do this before with such ease." 

The 200m reps were simply designed to encourage a little turn over when tired, but since she wasn't too fatigued, she skipped through them. Her stride was crisp and powerful on each rep. Finally, she finished with 1.5 Miles at a relaxed tempo pace. For me, tempo pace is a loosely defined pace somewhere between 1/2 Marathon and Marathon effort, it is meant to be a manageable aerobic effort, often employed more as a sustained aerobic flush to benefit the athlete than a taxing element. 

The day ended up being just over 7 miles of quality work. Kristen was relatively unfazed by the effort. That was the key tell of her fitness. Four days earlier she had won a tough 6K XC race, and then she handled this hearty session without much fanfare. When athletes can perform stout blocks of work without much strain, for me, it is a clear signal they are on the cusp of doing something special, as Kristen was that fall.


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

Jonathan Marcus