Workout of the Day
3 x 3,000m cutdown
Splits: 9:59.8 / 9:43.3 / 9:15.2
Recovery: 800m jog between reps in 6'
Alex Cisneros — April 15th, 2015
Context & Details
Alex was a true freshman at Portland State at the time of this session. A year before he had been the national leader for several weeks in the HS boys 3,000m after he ran 8:30 early in the outdoor season. I would say he was the first, and only, national class "stud" that I recruited to the Park Blocks during my time there. I was able to coach him for one year before I departed PSU, but in that short time, I could tell he was a special talent. Alex is now a redshirt junior and has cemented himself as one of the best male distance runners PSU has ever seen. It has been an outstanding pleasure to follow his success from afar as he continues to run into the Portland State record books.
The plan for this workout was 3 x 3K cutdown of 10:00, 9:45, and 9:30. This was his first higher volume (9K of work) session back after a little injury had sidelined him for a few weeks. My intent was to exercise caution, as Alex was two weeks out from running his second race that spring after he had run his first track 10,000m race six weeks earlier. Alex's inaugural year in college was a seesaw of consistent training followed by a little nagging injury that would force him to pause his training for 3 - 8 days. Not ideal. But we made it work.
He executed the session as planned on the first two reps, completing them running smooth and controlled. On the final mile of the last rep, he decided he felt great and hammered it. I didn't object. He needed to exercise that instinct as well as run out some frustration from the roller-coaster season he was having. He ended up running 9:15, fifteen seconds faster than planned and all of it in the final mile.
I asked why he chose to ratchet up his pace the last mile of the final rep. "I felt good and just wanted to grind."
Alex is a 5K/10K man, and that instinct to grind is inherent with such a breed. When the impulse presents itself, I encourage those types to oblige. The more they can reinforce the capacity to grind during the difficult moments in a race or workout, the better they get at the skill. I believe confidence in this ability is an important element for this kind of athlete to race effectively. And a better familiarity with it will make a difference come race day. As the now shattered PSU distance running record book can tesify, since this session Alex has improved this skill, along with his fitness, significantly.