Workout of the Day
5 x 1 Mile Strength Cutdowns
Splits: 4:46 / 4:39/ 4:31 / 4:22 / 4:13
Recovery: 400m jog between reps
Alan Webb — March 2008
Context & Details
When I was in graduate school I got a masters class in coaching. No, not in the classroom, but from Scott Raczko. He would roll up to a workout, organized, methodical, everything planned out to a "T" with individualized sessions for each athlete, yet somehow integrating one's body of work seamlessly with another's. It was an amazing work of design and architecture. Today how I intermix 20 college athletes in workouts is all thanks to Raczko.
This particular workout was one that I ran with Alan Webb. We were at the South Lakes HS track and Alan had 5 x 1mile. When I first joined Raczko's training group, the warm-up itself was a workout. It took at least an hour to do and I always remember how deliberate Alan was at everything he did.
We'd start with a pre-warm-up, which consisted of an 800m jog and then a bunch of dynamic flexibility work. This was followed with 3 miles of relaxed running and a series of drills, strides, and sometimes accelerations. After all of that, we would then begin the workout proper.
In this particular session, mile repeats were planned, cutting the pace down gradually as we went. With Razcko and Alan, almost every workout was a cutdown. Alan liked cutdown sessions. It made him feel good and gave him confidence. The whole process ingrained the idea of finishing hard and fast into your brain.
I hung with Alan as long as could in workouts. Usually breaking before the sessions got spicy. But in this workout, I lucked out and had a long break while Alan ran a middle rep solo.
It was March, so we were nowhere near sharp yet, and the focus had been on building aerobic strength. The first three one-mile reps went off without a hitch, but on the final one, Alan pulled away on the third lap. I began to falter. Razcko was encouraging me to hold things together, focus, and close well, so I did everything I could to muster out a 64-second final lap and salvage my “fast” finish to run 4:22. Alan, of course, blew me away. He was as much an assistant professor to Razcko's tenured professor role.
Afterwards, Alan came up to me and said, "I'm impressed, you pushed me today. I was hurting. I didn't want you nip me at the end. I knew I had to drill that last lap to not give you any hope. You're getting fitter each week Steve."
Getting schooled by Alan Webb isn't so bad. You learn a lot more with a hands-on education, which despite the regular dosage of certain discomfort and suffering, I wouldn’t have had any other way.